September 21, 2015 Last Updated 6:04 pm

Branding agency sparks & honey launches new iPhone app of cultural trend content

Mobile app takes stories generated by other media websites, has the agency’s ‘newsroom’ rewrite and condense them, then places the stories within new cultural trend categories

The brand content agency sparks & honey has launched an iPhone app, called now, next (or N2), that “delivers the most interesting stories of the day (now) matched to the trends that are transforming culture (next).”

n2-iPhoneThe app is said to be the first of the agency’s Product Suite, a collection of offerings the company plans to roll-out, though the agency does not say what we can expect to see next.

n2 is a simple news app delivers a series of rewritten stories gathered by the agency’s “newsroom”, plus an archive which they call “The Elements of Culture.” There you find categories such as “Warm Tech” or “Mainstream Marijuana” that contain more rewritten stories. The agency describes this section this way:

This is the cultural trend driving the story, based in sparks & honey’s proprietary trend analysis framework. Our elements are weighed and measured every 90 days to test their accuracy, and are refreshed or replaced accordingly.

The category Warm Tech is defined as “design that adds emotion, humanity and feeling to previously sterile technology.” Right now the category contains two stories: Dudes Can #Puppify Their Tinder With New App that is rewritten from a story from Refinery29, and Robots in Nurseries, Learning Like Children that is rewritten from a story on Slate.

If you are looking for news on Greece’s election this weekend, this is not the news app for you, but then again this is supposed to be about branding and culture. I wish, though, that they would not use the term “newsroom” but I suppose agency’s see many newspaper and magazine newsrooms simply as places where stories get rewritten – after all, this story comes out of receiving a press release, right?

The app has big ambitions: upon opening the user is informed that they have 30 days to use the app for free, then they will eventually charge a subscription fee. This is not mentioned in the app description, and nowhere in the app does it say what the price will be – I guess you have to wait a month.

sparks & honey is a part of the DAS Group of Companies, which is itself a division of Omnicom Group.

Here is the agency’s own announcement for their new app:

NEW YORK, NY – September 15, 2015 –– sparks & honey, the New York-based agency that synchronizes brands with culture in the now, next and future, today announced the launch of the Product Suite, a collection of consumer and enterprise-facing offerings that will begin rolling out today. sparks & honey collects daily signals drawn from all parts of culture, identifying patterns that emerge. The Product Suite is a way for the agency to share its real-time findings with the world.

n2-storiesThe first offering from the Product Suite will be a new app called n², available today in the App Store, which presents a list of the most important cultural trends of the day with insights derived from sparks & honey’s cultural intelligence system. Additional products will range from subscription-based trend reports to interactive experiences targeting creators and small to medium businesses.

“The Product Suite is a way for us to contextualize the shifting cultural trends we see via our system and to share them with the world,” said sparks & honey’s Founder and CEO Terry Young. “Until now, our daily insights and primary research have only been shared with a select few. But now, the Product Suite takes the same pattern recognition and trends forecasting that we do every day and shares them with anyone who is part of the curious class.”

To lead the Product Suite team, Sean Mahoney has been appointed to the new role of Vice President, Editorial Director, reporting to Camilo La Cruz, EVP, Head of Content.

“Sean’s creative and publishing background coupled with his digital knowledge make him ideally suited not just to the agency, but to lead this group in particular,” said La Cruz.

Mahoney joins sparks & honey from Scratch (Viacom Media Networks) where he served as Director of Content Strategy. In that role, Mahoney was responsible for identifying and contextualizing cultural insights for internal and external partners, including Chevy, Major League Soccer, Pepsi, MTV International and the Clinton Foundation. Previously, Mahoney worked at Oxford University Press and Penguin where he held the roles of Acquiring Editor and Title Developer/Writer, respectively.

“I am thrilled to be part of this innovative team and initiative,” said Mahoney. “The Product Suite will translate cultural intelligence into editorial outputs and products to engage makers and creators. This translation will help them understand the underlying cultural shifts that affect the way they do business.”

Rounding out the Product Suite team are Senior Art Director Eric Lau and Senior Writers Anna Sofia Martin and Barbara Herman, all new hires. Lau will be responsible for the design direction of the Product Suite. Previously, he was Art Director and Designer at TBWA. Martin and Herman will create original stories for editorial products that fall under the Product Suite banner. Martin joins sparks & honey from Knock Twice, a Webby-award winning online magazine for digital marketers and advertisers. Herman, a former journalist, joins the team from the International Business Times where she was a Media & Culture Writer.

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