The Search: Finding the Next Bay Area Tech Innovator

By: Spritz  |  April 27, 2015  | 

Hollywood and New York have stolen the spotlight from us for far too long. It’s now our time to shine. Madame Tussauds San Francisco brings back the spotlight to the Bay Area through launching a quest to find the next Tech Innovator to join current icons Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs in the World Influencers room of Madame Tussauds San Francisco this fall.

After an outpour of public interest and hundreds of nominations through the open nominations, April 14th – April 23rd, Madame Tussauds has narrowed the contenders to the 10 individuals who received the most nominations.

The top ten contenders for the coveted figure space: Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX, Frank Oppenheimer of Exploratorium, Jane Metcalfe  of Wired Magazine, Steve Wozniak of Apple, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, George Lucas of Lucasfilm, Lawrence “Larry” Page of Google, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, and Edwin Catmull of Pixar.

The poll will close May 19th, and the winner will be announced May 26, 2015.

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Google’s Mobile Friendly Update

By: Spritz  |  April 24, 2015  | 

On Wednesday, Google rolled out a significant change in the way mobile search results are displayed. The update, announced earlier this year on Google’s blog, means that the search engine will now prioritize and boost mobile-friendly sites in mobile search rankings. It’s an essential change due to the amount of people who now use smartphones to conduct searches. According to Smart Insights, 80% of Internet users own and use smartphones to search the Internet.

The update favors mobile-friendly sites to improve overall search user experience. “Now searchers can more easily find high quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling,” the company wrote in its blog. It only affects search rankings for individual pages on mobile devices, but this change applies to searches in all languages and in all countries where Google operates.

The change will most directly affect small business owners who may not be aware that there could be significant decreases in mobile traffic from Google Search. However, websites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices won’t be at a disadvantage completely. Google will still use a variety of signals, such as specific keywords, to rank search results. This means that a page that is not mobile-friendly will still rank high if it contains high quality content and is relevant to the search query. Additionally, once a website become mobile-friendly, Google will automatically re-process the pages.

To determine if your website is mobile-friendly, Google has set up a Mobile-Friendly Test to examine individual pages and a Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools to check the status of your entire site.

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Welcoming. Entertaining. Inspiring. Three Years and Counting! #SIFF15

By: Spritz  |  April 6, 2015  | 

The 18th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) kicked off spring from Mar. 25-29, 2015.  Featuring more than 100 selected films from 25 countries, SIFF brought five days of fun, food, and unforgettable world cinema to the heart of wine country.

As SIFF’s proud marketing and creative agency for three consecutive years, Spritz has not only witnessed the the tremendous growth of the festival throughout the years, but also increased our own involvement in supporting and spearheading the event. This year, we invited and hosted more sponsors, partners, media, key influencers and special guests than ever before!

The Opening Night films featured Alan Rickman’s directorial debut film A Little Chaos (starring Rickman himself and Kate Winslet), which was preceded by the Academy Award winning short “Feast,” as well as American independent feature The Week, which was preceded by the Susan Atherton sponsored short, “Artoo in Love.” Although neither Rickman nor Winslet were able to attend SIFF this year, Spritz facilitated a partnership with Madame Tussaud’s San Francisco, who brought Kate Winslet’s detailed figure to the Opening Night Reception. A hit at the festival, the lifelike wax version of Kate stood at the entrance of the Backlot Tent VIP Lounge, and was the star of many star-struck fans and their photoshoots.

Spritz was also proud to invite renowned media guests and fashionistas to the Celebrity Cruises sponsored film screenings of Dior and I. Guests who were lucky enough to gain access to the sold-out film screenings were able to experience a taste of Celebrity Cruises’ signature modern luxury lifestyle with complimentary glasses of Breathless sparkling wine.

We also were delighted to have many returning sponsors, and had the pleasure of introducing a number of new sponsors such as: Emirates Airlines, Where magazine, 7×7, KCBS, Alice Radio, SF Travel, USTA NorCal, and philanthropist Susan Atherton.

To top off the incredible five day event, the entire Spritz team had the pleasure of attending the screening of Dukhtar, a groundbreaking Pakistani movie directed by Afia Nathaniel, which was presented by none other than our own CEO and Co-founder, Raghu Shivaram. We couldn’t have been happier to discover that the film won the Best World Movie Award at the Sunday night Awards Ceremony!

As always, we are extremely honored and proud to support SIFF and we look forward to continue our partnership through the upcoming year-round events, in addition to the 19th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival!

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Spritz and Silicon Studio Plug into #GDC2015

By: Spritz  |  March 10, 2015  | 

Last week, Spritz was on site at Moscone Center for the 2015 Game Developers’ Conference #GDC2015, a much anticipated event for the local games community, assisting international client Silicon Studio. In comparison to other popular gaming events, such as PAX or E3, GDC is more strongly concentrated on the development and design aspect of games, offering extensive summits on game creation using rendering engines like Unreal Engine and Unity, issues of representation in the industry, as well as game-centric discussions on storytelling, coding and construction, as well as game-related artistry.

A reputable Tokyo-based middleware and development firm partnered with the likes of Pixar and ARM, Silicon Studio made a splash at the GDC Expo with its sleek, white booth, boasting large, 80” screens to feature and demo the newest features of its rendering engine Mizuchi, alongside flagship optical effects middleware YEBIS 3, and C# gaming engine Paradox. Spritz made arrangements for Silicon Studio events and outings, locating party venues, transportation, and local tours. Spritz also sourced brand ambassadors to help with promotional, on-site activities, and coordinated orders for premium branded products, such as mints and premium chocolates. With the ambassadors distributing uchiwa fans and chocolates for some sweet relief on the jam-packed expo floor, Silicon Studio drew in attendees for their demo and information sessions.

Mobile games surely proved their growing strength at GDC this year, with a significant mobile game app and advertising presence. Most of all, the expo floor seemed captured by virtual reality systems, with Oculus taking up a central spot spanning three booths, with Crescent Bay gear utilized at various other booths for more in-depth gaming experiences. Samsung VR was also available for demo, and Razr’s ambitious Hacker Dev open-source VR headset and software skeleton was available to try.

GDC also hosted GDC Play, both a playground and exhibition floor for emerging, indie game studios whose creations could be soon to launch, or still in development. Friday student ticket discounts flooded the Career Center, where software studios and development tools sought new employees. Additional indie game showcases and lounges, and an Atari showcase from the Video Game History Museum, added to the excitement.

For more information on Silicon Studio and their products, check out their English language website here, or read more about their middleware in the March issue of Develop magazine.

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College Tour Planner

By: Spritz  |  February 27, 2015  | 

College Tour Planner

Spring break is on the horizon, and with it comes the spring college tour! As seniors wait to hear back on their college acceptances, enterprising sophomores and juniors take the opportunity to go look at prospective colleges around the nation. But planning the logistics of a college tour can be difficult, which is where College Kickstart’s new College Tour Planner comes in.

Concentrating around eight popular destinations for college tours, Boston, New York City, Syracuse, Washington DC, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the trip planner will identify select schools within a 200 mile radius of your destination, sorting them by school size and campus settings.

By selecting the schools you want and adding them to your itinerary, you can access information on campus visit options, links to reservations and school visit calendars, as well as the times when school is not in session. Drag and drop your schools in the order you’d like to see them—the trip planner will automatically generate a route with estimated driving time via Google Maps, so you can add your own trip adjustments here and there.

With this tour planner, College Kickstart hopes to make students’ college tour experiences that much easier to plan and organize. Spritz is proud to be a part of College Kickstart’s growth as it continues to expand and support the needs of rising senior students. Read more about the College Tour Planner here or get started on your own trip!

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