Friday, December 14, 2012

Google Zeitgeist 2012

Tis the season for annual wrap ups and best of lists.  In my (extremely biased) opinion nobody does it better than Google with their annual Zeitgeist video and dedicated site.

The website allows you explore what was popular in 2012 through various searches, images as well as providing breakouts by country and categories such as TV shows, films, athletes, etc.  It's amazing to me how quickly I forget what was big news during the year, so it was a revelation to spend some time playing around on the site and exploring the year that was 2012.  Head on over to Google Zeitgeist 2012 to explore.

As in past years there is also a moving video and emotionally evocative video that recaps the year as Google sees it.  Check it out below.


William Gibson wrote in one of his books that 'cyberspace is everting.'  Simply put the digital world is spilling out into real-world experiences.  We've really just scratched the surface of the marriage/interplay of the digital and physical worlds that's enabled by ubiquitous connectivity and mobile devices.  The augmented reality and mobile location based technology that's cutting edge today will most certainly seem quaint in just a few years.  The recently launched global alternate reality game, Ingress, gives a sneak peek of what (I believe) will become more pervasive and incredibly common in the not too distant future.

So what is Ingress?  It is a new location-based augmented reality game from Google-owned Niantic Labs.  The premise is that the world around you is not what it seems.  The game puts you and your smartphone (Android only at the moment) in the middle of a global battle between two sides that plays out in real life all around you, regardless of where you live.

As AllThingsD explains: 'Users can generate virtual energy needed to play the game by picking up units of “XM,” which are collected by traveling walking paths, like a real-world version of Pac-Man. Then they spend the energy going on missions around the world to “portals,” which are virtually associated with public art, libraries and other widely accessible places.

“The concept is something like World of Warcraft, where everyone in the world is playing the same game,” Hanke said. Players are on one of two teams: “The Enlightened,” who embrace the power, or “The Resistance,” who fight the power. Anyone can play from anywhere in the world, though in more densely played areas there will be more local competition for resources.
Outdoor physical activity is a big component of this, though driving between locations isn’t banned. “You’re like a rat in a maze on the phone,” Hanke said. Then, back at your computer, you can review the larger area and gameplay.'

It's really a magical experience and even more so when you consider that there's no discreet start and stop to the game.  It could go on for several years as a sort of constant background activity that we engage with when out in the physical world or as part of our daily routine such as commuting.  If you look at the popularity of MMORPG and extrapolate that out into the real world, you can see the massive potential behind such games (and I wonder if there will be a the equivalent click-sweat shops and selling of characters for real-world MMORPGs like currently exists for games such as World Of Warcraft).  Anyhow, the video below gives you an additional sense of what it's all about.  If you're interested you can head over to the Ingress site to get an invite to join in the game

hat tip:  Matthieu De Fayet for reminding me to write this up

More Great Stuff From Google - Jam With Chrome & Google Search App

Besides the recent launch of Google Maps for iOS, there's been a ton of great stuff coming from Google lately so I thought I'd shout out a few things you may or may not have seen.

Jam With Chrome
If you haven't seen Jam with Chrome, you really must check it out.  The latest Chrome Experiment is absolutely mind blowing from a technical perspective as well as demonstrating what's possible these days with just a web browser.  Jam With Chrome allows you to invite friends into a live ‘Jam’ session to play any of 19 instruments to collaboratively create music from within the Chrome browser from anywhere in the world on pretty much any device, all in real-time.  It's hard to describe how cool this is without experiencing it yourself so head on over to Jam With Chrome and/or check out the video below.
Ads For The Google Search App
How promote the knowledge graph & voice search integration in the Google Search App in a way that communicates the power of those features without coming across as too techy?  Venables Bell & Partners nailed it in these spots.  Check them out below.

SodaStream Responds To Their Ad Being Banned In The UK

This ad from Sodastream, home carbonation system that lets you make your own soda, was banned in the UK because it 'denigrated the bottled drinks market.'  Ridiculous.  In response, SodaStream launched a protest TV ad showing a black screen and inviting the users to watch the original/banned ad on YouTube.  The banned 'Sodastream Effect' ad has gone on to garner a ton of views and attention in the press.

Sodastream have also decided to run the 'Set The Bubbles free' ad during the Superbowl.  This just shows that YouTube can give a voice to the disenfranchised, whether they be brands or individuals.  Another interesting tidbit is that the agency responsible for the ad is Common, which is headed by Alex Bogusky who left cp+b two years ago to become a consumer advocate and has previously gone after the soda manufacturers through campaigns such as the real bears.

See below for the censored version of the ad that Sodastream ran on TV as well as the banned ad that lives on YouTube.  It's a great piece of creative and generally just a great way to turn lemons into lemonade (to use a tired ass cliche).

The replacement spot that ran on TV

The Banned Ad

TomTom - (Almost) Makes A Viral

TomTom, the maker of various GPS navigation devices, positions itself as the navigation option that 'Gives You More.'  They're running a competition/game that gives you the chance at winning 'More' prizes during the holiday season.  Nothing particularly new there.  What is new is their approach to promoting the TomTom Gives You More game.

To promote our new competition at, we really, really tried to make a great video. But because we spent our entire advertising budget on thousands of great prizes and presents for you, this "viral" might not be as impressive as we would have liked. Sorry.

In short, TomTom has admitted that they're creatively bankrupt and instead made an (almost) viral based off previous viral hits.  This is not unlike the Jennifer Aniston Smart Water 'Viral' from a year or so back, but I love the tongue in cheek nature of this video.  For instance, the end of the video states 'We know this 'viral' video probably isn't as impressive as you are used to, but we spent the entire advertising budget on prizes.'

See if you can spot all the various viral video references below.

hat tip: Buzzilla

Diesel - Pre-Internet Campaign

Diesel is launching a 20th anniversary edition of their YUK shoe and supporting it with their 'Pre Internet Experience.'  Developed by SMFB, the relaunch of the 1993 shoe encourages users to go back to those pre-internet days by challenging you to go offline and not post on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for three days.  Those who can abstain from social networks for 72 hours have the chance to win a pair of the boots.  Ironically the campaign uses a dedicated website and Facebook to encourage participation in the contest, asking questions like 'When did sharing become annoying, and liking just a pointless online gesture?' and 'Why do you know what your friend's lunch looks like, and how is this making the world a better place?'

The campaign differentiates the YUK shoe by billing it as the pre-internet shoe, 'no tracking, no timing, no wall posting, no bullshit.'  Clearly a dig at sensor enabled shoes from Adidas & Nike while encouraging users to 'Take a little break from your life online.'

Diesel have also created a series of videos that make fun of the current state of footwear affairs by chronicling a fictional GPS artist and Parkour athletes.   See below.

I predict we'll see a lot more activity aimed (ironically) at encouraging users to disconnect.  I expect to see more and more brands looking to enable or co-opt the movement to disconnect for periods of time as a way of coping with information overload and constant connectivity.   Basically brands looking to enable a 'digital sabbath' once a week or the like.

Other Things I Like (But Don't Have The Time To Write Up): ESPN Born Into It & Slap Jamie Oliver

ESPN - Born Into It
In advance of last weekend's Manchester Derby, ESPN released 'Born Into It.'  The commercial, created by W+K, shows the passion and loyalty that two fans feel for their respective Manchester teams through a nice split screen video experience.  I particularly love the companion video which educates Yanks such as myself who may not be familiar with the Brit/Mancurian slang used through the spot.  So good.   Check it out below.

Slap Jamie Oliver
Christmas has come early (at least it has for me!  This interactive video promoting the upcoming launch of Jamie Oliver's new food channel allows you to slap him as well as interact with his kitchen by throwing food at him all via clever usage of YouTube annotations.  Have a play around below.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Two Nice Uses Of UGC From Brands - AT&T and EE

EE is the name the recently launched 4G brand from the owner of Orange and T-Mobile.  They & their agency, Poke, have leveraged the huge UK viral hit Fenton (JESUS CHRIST IN RICHMOND PARK) as part of their comms around the speed of their 4G network.  They've taken the original video and 'Remastered it' in epic form.  Users can switch between the original video and the “Fenton 4GEE Remaster” on the EE YouTube channel.  The premise is that everything on YouTube looks amazing on the EE 4G network.  The video will also be featured in the EE retail stores and feature heavily across all of the 4GEE digital activity.  Whether the remastered version actually demonstrates the speed of their network is up to you to decide, but it's a clever way to leverage the success of the UK phenomenon that was Fenton.

AT&T (another telecom company in the US) is also using UGC to promote their 4G network.  In this case, AT&T (and their agency, BBDO NY) took a piece of user generated content that had been making the rounds on YouTube called 'Hello' and used it as the premise for their latest TV commercial.    In the original video was from a high school football scrimmage and showed a player doing a flip over a defender.  As the video description says:

'Hello" demonstrates an amazing moment being shared across the country on the nation's largest 4G network, AT&T. It starts as an amazing football play seen by a few people. But once posted, it becomes a moment the entire country can enjoy, and something that builds to an introduction our hero will never forget.'
Personally I find this a much more believable use of UGC in a branded context as it naturally reflects the way that people view, share and discover new content while also positioning AT&T in the middle as the facilitator/service provider through their 4G network.

Sony - DSLR Clueless

'All the gear and no idea' is the rallying cry for this campaign from Sony for their NEX range of cameras.  Over the past couple years the sales of pocket cameras basically dropped off a cliff due to the rise of smartphones.  The corresponding decrease in price of DSLR cameras has meant all sort of people buying super high quality cameras, even if they have no need and no idea how to use it.  That's why I love this campaign, which was developed by Havas Sydney.  It's based off simple truth that most people with DSLR cameras have absolutely no idea what the hell they're doing.  They've produced eight different spots, each centered around a different type of DSLR idiot.  It's a great way to promote their range of NEX cameras that have the same sensor size and take the same quality pictures as the DSLR.  A nice touch at the end is the call to action for viewers: 'Remind you of someone? Share it with them.'

Check out the spots below or head over to the Sony DLSR - Gear, No Idea YouTube channel.
Additional Articles: Inspiration Room |

Radi-Aid - Africa For Norway

The holiday season is upon us...besides being bombarded with consumer messages and saccharine holiday songs, it's also one of the most active times of year for charity organizations soliciting aid and donations.  A little over a week ago the Norwegian Students and Academics International Assistance Fund (SAIH) released an amazing campaign, entitled Radi-Aid.  The faux charity video is a spoof on the typical Band-Aid/We Are The World type call for action videos that are often full of patronizing language and imagery.  The premise is simple...if viewers knew nothing of Norway and saw the Radi-Aid video, what would they think of Norway?  Now apply that logic towards Africa and the aid campaigns that exploit the perception and imagery of a continent full of nothing but poverty, AIDS and crime.

SAIH is trying to reframe the typical fundraising campaign and striving to 'promote a more nuanced image on countries in the global south than is usually portrayed in the media and by some charitable organisations and fundraising initiatives. While there are negative issues that need to be reported and a lot of organisations are doing very important work, we are frustrated at the constant repetition of the same negative images. Since the narrative tends to be the same as it was when development assistance first started some 50 years ago, it might give the impression that none of these efforts have produced any results and thus lead to apathy.'  Check out the video below.
The Guardian has a great article on the campaign and you can read more on the Radi-Aid: Africa For Norway site.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Juicy Couture - California Dreaming

We talk often talk about the various content triggers that get people to watch, view, share, participate, etc.  This Juicy Couture video, directed by Terry Richardson and featuring supermodel Candace Swanepoel hits a number of content triggers.  That alone would be enough to guarantee substantial views.  What makes this particularly interesting is how they've used annotations throughout to make every single frame of the video shoppable.  Click the annotations at any point and users are taken directly off to the purchase page for that particular item.  Really simple and clean, no crazy microsite or custom experience, just good content and an easy way to buy.

Two Nice Stunt Videos - Sony Xperia & Red Stripe

I keep thinking that stunt campaigns are somehow going to die off, but the public appetite for them shows no sign of slowing down.  What's more impressive is that agencies keep coming up with new and innovative ways to communicate a clear product message through stunt videos.  The latest hot stunt was developed by CP+B Stockholm to promote the new waterproof Sony Xperia phone.  During screenings of the new James Bond film, Skyfall, several  of the waterproof phones were hidden inside free soda cups given to random viewers.  It's a nice way to demonstrate the main USP of the phone in a way that fits nicely into the overall theme and feel of the Bond film.  Check it out below...I do question how the hell the people managed to get a drink without noticing that there was a phone embedded in their massive Coke.

Another delightful stunt comes from Kessels Kramer for beer brand, Red Stripe.  For one day only, a corner store became a giant musical instrument, playing 'A Message To You, Rudy.'  Products on the shelves and items left scattered around the store part of an ad-hoc orchestra, triggered when a customer chose a Red Stripe from the shelves.  Just a really nice way to reward customers who choose your product with a delightful and unexpected experience.  Check out the video below and it's also worth checking out the behind the scenes video as the 'making of...' is fascinating.

Movember - David's Big Problem

A bunch of us around the office raised a nice chunk of change for Movember (BTW - it's not too late to donate to the Google UK team or me directly).  I was shocked to look at the leaderboards and see that Canada is crushing the rest of the world in terms of money raised. I suppose it should be no surprise that the best creative (IMHO) supporting November comes from the Canadian arm of creative agency, TAXI.  Check it out good.
via Leon Bayliss

Old Spice - Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks To Save The World

It's the latest campaign from Old Spice.  Why even bother explaining it when we both know that you're going to watch it and play around with it regardless of what I say.

Seriously though, it's amazing what successful advertising can do and the halo effect it can for future campaigns.  The folks at W+K continue to do great work for Old Spice, but they could literally do anything at this point and the Internets would be abuzz about it.  So head over to Old Spice Saves The World (shame it's not happening on YouTube this year).

Quick overview:  Former NBA Great Dikembe Mutumbo has 4 1/2 Weeks To Save The World.  Each week will feature a different game or challenge for Old Spice fans to help Mutumbo keep the Mayan prophecy of the world ending on December 21, 2012.  The entire event is also showing a livestream with a countdown of a machine carving a Mayan gliff.

Let the randomness and hilarity begin!

The Beat - Instagram Meets Google Street View

The Beat is an experiment from the social media information lab at Rutgers University.  It blends together geotagged Instagram posts with Google Streetview imagery from that location.  The aim is to give users insight into the life of an area by exploring topics in a new way.  It's preloaded with a #Christmas Instagram hashtag so try putting in your own hashtag either geography such as #London or more interestingly exploring other topics via hashtag such as #Movember

It's a really cool way to give context to Instagram photos by seeing what's around them using Google Streetview.  It'd be interesting to see this also integrated into the This Is Now Instagram project that showed a few weeks ago.

Check it out below or have a play around yourself at The Beat
via PSFK

Friday, October 19, 2012

Water Is Life - #FirstWorldProblems

Water Is Life is an non-profit group that works to provide clean water to people in need around the world.  Many people are unaware of the fact that millions of people around the world lack access to clean water.  Faced with the challenge of how to promote this organization and the issue in general , DDB New York developed the #FirstWorldProblems campaign.  The central campaign video highlights the gap between the haves and the have-nots.  Regular Haitians, many of whom are still affected by the 2010 earthquake, are shown reading from tweets with the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems.  For those of you not familiar with the hashtag, it usually contains tweets with trivial problems such as 'I hate it when my phone charger won’t reach my bed.'

In other videos, Haitian are shown responding directly to specific tweets.  Each video also features a call to action to donate now and visit to find out more about the issue.

DDB New York Executive Creative Director Matt Eastwood said he hoped that the campaign would actually eliminate the #FirstWorldProblems hashtag  '#FirstWorldProblems allows its user to self-mock the petty concerns of those in so-called “first world” countries, yet seem strikingly insensitive when compared to real issues across the world.'

The campaign has received some criticism, but I think it's a fantastic example of a) hijacking a hashtag for good and b) taking the idea of personalized responses videos and using them for good (or perhaps shame?)  For me personally, I found it packed a significant emotional punch and made me reconsider the paltry things in life that I occasionally bitch about when many people in the world are unable to meet even their most basic needs.

Additional Articles: Huffington Post

Innovative Music Launches: Ellie Goulding - Digital Signing & Yolanda Be Cool - Recall

It's been amazing to watch the evolution of Google+ Hangout and Hangout Apps over the past year.  Brands, agencies and individuals are constantly coming up with innovative ways to use what's arguably the killer feature of Google+.  Now autograph signing sessions are entering the digital age thanks to Google+ Hangouts.  The idea, which came from the Creative Lab here in London, allowed Ellie Goulding to hold the world's first digital album signing as part of a promotion for her second album.     Using a Wacom tablet, Photoshop and a custom Google+ Hangout app Ellie Goulding talked face-to-face some of her fans from across the world, signed and dedicated an album cover for each them.  Each personalized and signed album cover was them shared with them as a picture on Google+.  I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a common staple of album launches.  It's a fantastic way to bring the real-world experience into the digital space.  Check out the teaser video below and you can also watch a video of the whole Hangout here.

On a separate music related note, the band responsible for the hit song 'We No Speak Americano,' Yolanda Be Cool, has undertaken an interesting campaign/stunt for the launch of their second record.  They're issuing a recall of their hit song and calling on DJs, radio stations and people all across the world to destroy all copies of the song.  This goes beyond just words as they've also removed the song from iTunes (at least in Australia) and removed download links from their website & Facebook.  Instead they're offering fans, etc. a free replacement track from their new album.  It's a pretty damn funny idea considering how overplayed the song has been.  It's a nice stunt to leverage past success into what I'm sure they'll hope will be success for their upcoming album.

Check out the fake press conference below, which is quite funny.

Bodyform Responds - The Truth

Many of you have probably already seen this as it's been rapidly making the rounds on the interwebs.  To truly appreciate the response video below from maxipad brand, Bodyform, you need a bit of background.  Two weeks ago a guy named Richard Neill posted a rant on the Bodyform Facebook wall.  As mashable reported, his rant went viral and gathered more than 40,000 likes in 24-hours.  Have a read at the rant below.

Usually that'd be the end of the it...a brief blurb in the never ending story of the Internet.  But wait...there's more!  Bodyform (and their agencies Carat & Rubber Republic) created a brilliant video addressed to Richard Neill.  They created a fictional CEO, Caroline Williams, who calmly and hilariously responds while apologizing for the lies that Bodyform (and other femcare brands) have perpetuated on the male population through years of advertising.  Check it out below.  It's quite possibly the best response video I've ever seen.  Again, it's great to see brands/agencies being agile and quickly responding as a way of tapping into even the briefest moments of zeitgeist.

Electrolux - Now You're Cooking

The way that people cook at home has been undergoing a revolution over the past few years.  For many people, the recipe book has been replaced by their laptop, phone or tablet.  A host of great cooking apps and content have been created to meet this shift in user behavior.  There are a ton of brands that have gotten into the act, creating recipes, apps, etc. but this latest creation from House Of Radon for Electrolux has me going 'why the hell didn't I think of that!?'

The recipe videos are beautifully shot, but it's one small tweak that makes them standout.  Each of the videos has a 'cooking mode.'  When enabled, cooking mode pauses the video at each of the steps rather than just playing all the way through.  It's a small change and doesn't seem like much, but it perfectly fits with how people cook at home allowing the technology to adapt to the user rather than asking the user to adapt to the technology (eg. constantly rewinding or pausing the video manually).

Unfortunately, the video player they are using is bespoke and I can't seem to embed it here, but see the video capture below.  I also see no reason why this couldn't be done using annotations on YouTube in the future.
Check it out here at the Electrolux - Now You're Cooking tumblr or go directly to one of the video recipes.

via Creativity

BONUS: HIV/AIDS Council Finland

Here's another great PSA, though perhaps not as heavy as the Water Is Life campaign.

Developed by McCann Worldwide for the HIV/AIDS Council of Finland, these TV spots extend on the existing idea from a print campaign back in February.  The payoff is genius. Check it out below:

Other Things I Like (But Don't Have Time To Write Up)

Ragu - Long Day Of Childhood
Barton F. Graf 9000 have been creating a serious of hilarious commercials for Ragu around the idea of a 'Long Day of Childhood' which shows some of the difficult situations children go through (check out this one where a kid walks in on his parents.)  Now they've enlisted the kids made infamous by Charlie Bit My Finger video who lament the poor parenting that led to the video.  Check it out below:

Coke Zero - Unlock The 007 In you
People who bought a Coke Zero in a train station (where?) were challenged to unlock their inner 007 to win tickets for the new James Bond movie Skyfall.

SNCF - Lyon To Brussels
How do you promote a new train route?  In this case SNCF created a magic box allowed passer-bys to 'take a quick look at Brussels' via a magic box connected via Webcam to Brussels where a celebratory band (among other things) awaited viewers.

Jordan CP3.VI: Cut Through LA
Just wow.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mercedes Benz - #YOUDRIVE

Mercedes, AMV BBDO, & Stink have developed an innovative idea to help launch the new Mercedes Benz A-class.  On Saturday, October 6th viewers are invited to take part in #YOUDRIVE a campaign that's being billed as a social media first (at least in the UK).

Using Twitter, viewers will drive the action of a 3-part story that will be shown during the commercial breaks in the X Factor.  The spots center around a musician and a professional driver who are chased by 'the man' on the way to a secret gig.  In practice users are invited to choose what the characters should do next by voting on Twitter with the hashtag #YOUDRIVE.  Think of it as choose-your-own-adventure on a massive scale and brought into the television experience.  But wait...there's more!  The spots will also direct viewers to the lovely Mercedes Benz YOUDRIVE YouTube channel where they can view the ads as well as create their own story.  The final ad will also show the voting percentage /breakdown for each choice. 

This is quite an effort.  Obviously each of the possible decision paths had to be shot and readied for the voting outcome, but it actually pays of the much bandied about term of social TV viewing.  David George, marketing director of Mercedes-Benz UK, said the new A-Class vehicle represents a "new, younger, more dynamic' & that it's 'a modern Mercedes-Benz that encourages people to do what we know they enjoy – to get involved.'

What I find fascinating about this idea (and 'social TV' in general), is that the creative can't be separated from the media.  In other words, this idea, this execution only works if the media placement is spot on.  In order for this to be a success it needs to run against a TV program that is considering destination viewing, where liveness is important, and where the audience is passionate enough about the show that you can pretty much guarantee that they'll be around for the second spot and ultimately the following week for the third spot.  It's interesting to see how new creative ideas and formats (see the Coke Polar Bears during the Superbowl) emerge around premium programming where the 'liveness' guarantees a large and captive audience.

So check out the trailer below & if you're in the UK you can use this campaign as a good excuse for why you're actually watching X-Factor
Additional Articles: Brand Channel | Campaign

Felbelfin - Amazing Mind Reader Reveals His 'Gift'

I try not to show 'viral' videos too much on this blog.  From a brand perspective they're pretty much a mythical creature and cloud otherwise rational thought around online video.  Simply put, if viral is your strategy, then you don't have one.  That said, there's been one agency that seems to have cracked the code of producing amazing stunt campaigns that also tie back nicely to a single brand proposition and generate a huge response online.  That agency is  Brussels-based Duval Guillaume Modem.  These are the people response for the Carlsberg stunt with bikers in the cinema, as well as the TNT - Push For Drama stunt.

Their latest video is for Felbelfin, a Belgian financial umbrella organization.  As part of their 'Safe Internet Banking' campaign, they employed a 'psychic' with powerful abilities to see into people's lives.  Volunteers were told they were going to take part in a news show then brought into a white tent. Inside sat the psychic, Dave (btw - Dave seems like a rather normal name for a psychic, no?).  These folks tell Dave their names, he does some laying of hands and then starts telling them things that no stranger should know.  The injuries they have, their romantic situation, medical history, bank balance, etc.

Then Dave reveals his trick. A curtain drops & there's a room full of masked researchers on computers looking up the personal details of each person and feeding it to Dave through a hidden earpiece.

The message appears 'Your entire life is online.  And it might be used against you.  Be vigilant.'

Great piece of work for what would normally be a dry and boring message.  Again, hat tip to the guys at Duval Guillaume Modem.

2012 Election Season - 7 Eleven, Jetblue & Blippar

The 2012 presidential election is heating up in the States.  It's been interesting to see how brands are tapping into the interest around the US election.  Most are doing it poorly (I'll ignore those), but some are doing great work.  Three in particular stick out.

JetBlue - Live Free or Fly
I've heard people threaten to leave the US if their candidate doesn't win.  Apparently JetBlue has also heard this claim from both sides of the political spectrum.  They (and their agency, Mullen) have developed JetBlue Election Protection which will give a thousand sore losers the chance to get out of the country (at least temporarily) if their candidate loses.  Users are invited to go to and choose their political party (Democrat or Republican) as well as one of more than a dozen overseas destinations that JetBlue is offering up.  If your candidate loses, JetBlue may send you there.  The site gives you a sense of the current political leanings of the audience showing the polling so far among participants.  JetBlue is also doing their part, reminding people that the best part of Election Protection is to do their civic duty and vote.

7-Eleven - 7-Election
Convenience store giant 7-Eleven is back for the fourth edition of 7-election.  Customers can choose from partisan coffee cups (Romney cups are red, Obama cups are blue).  7-Eleven is then tallying sales for each to predict the outcome of the election.  This is the fourth election that 7-Eleven has done this and in each case it's successfully predicted the winner as well as coming within 1% of the actual outcome.  Unscientific? Yes.  Amazing?  Most definitely.

Check out the slate video about the initiative below and head over to the 7-Election site to see the current results.

Blippar - Blipp A $5 Bill To Donate To Obama
OK, this isn't technically a brand execution, but it's fascinating.  Blippar technology is probably the predominant app used by brands to execute mobile augmented reality experiences.  Blippar is taking a stance and coming out in support of Obama.  They've decided to throw their support and their technology behind Obama in an innovative way.  Fire up the Blippar app, point it at a 5 dollar bill and you can donate $5 directly to Obama's campaign.  The AR experience also has additional features such as the ability to create a picture of you high-fiving Obama, find your nearest campaign office to volunteer your time, listen to Obama speeches, etc.  I wonder if pointing Blippar at a $100 bill fires up a Romney experience?  Anyhow, check it out in action below:

The Friskies

Everyone knows cat videos are huge.  Hell, there are even agencies dedicated purely to catvertising ;-)  So it's not surprise that Friskies has tapped into this infinite well of content and appetite for cat videos by creating...The Friskies!  Billed as the Oscars for Cat Videos, the Friskies is offering a $15,000 Grand Prize for the best new cat video of 2012.  Here's the teaser video:
The only question is why it's taken this long for a brand to do this.  It's extremely fertile ground and a natural fit for Petcare brands.  Actually, I'm also confused as to why the contest isn't being run on YouTube, which again would seem like the natural home for this contest rather than a microsite.

Additional Articles: Fast Company

Dolce & Gabana - Video Comes To Print

Several thousand copies of the October issue of the UK Marie Claire includes a video ad in print.  The double page spread for Dolce & Gabana fragrances feature a 45-second video ad (including sound) which plays when the reader opens the page.  The technology was developed by Americhip and gives advertisers the opportunity to bring their print ads to life.  It's previously been used in Russian Vogue, but this is a UK first.  So is this the start of a wider trend or just a gimmick?  I haven't experienced it for myself, so I haven't a clue, but I'm intrigued by the idea.  See the video capture below that someone else was kind enough to upload to YouTube

On a more low-fi note, I just came across this Cannes winner from Brazil.  Developed by JWT for Coca-Cola FM, it turns a magazine into an iPhone speaker.  At first read I thought it must be similar tech to above, but in fact it was a genius low-fi execution.  A few strategic cuts in the ad and instructions on how to roll up the magazine turned it into an amplified.  Check it out below.

via PSFK

This Is Now

This has nothing to do with advertising, but I thoroughly enjoy it.  This is now is 'a highly addictive real-time visualization tool displaying all the photos as they happen within a city on Instagram.'  
This Is Now scrapes images from Instagram with the hastag #thisisnow and shows you a lovely representation of what’s going on right now in various cities around the world.  Play with it yourself at or check out the video capture below.

via: Urgent Genius & developed by @marciopuga, @mauriciomassaia and @PerThoresson

Other Things I Like (But Don't Have Time To Write Up)

Budweiser - Bud Clock
Great use of QR codes to turn Happy Hour into an interactive drinking game and extend Happy Hour through buying more Bud.

via: Banner Blog

Kit Kat - We Will Find You
Kit Kat has created a modern day version of Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket with a dash of dystopian Phillip K. Dick novel.  They've hidden GPS transmitters in four packs of Kit Kats on sale in the UK.  Opening the pack activates the GPS and Kit-Kat promises 'We Will Find You' within 24 hours and give the lucky recipient £10,000.  Very cool from a tech perspective, but the messaging is kind of creepy.

Gatwick Express - Tracks
To elevate the experience of the 30-minute train journey from Victoria to Gatwick airport (and of course boost online sales), VCCP has commissioned various artists to create a custom half-hour soundtrack that's synced to what riders see on the journey.  Customers who buy their Gatwick Express tickets online can download the tracks directly from the Gatwick Express website.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Norton - Top Result

Norton, the provider of internet security tools has launched a great new initiative, Top Result.  Developed by Naked Communications in Stockholm the campaign allows users control the first impression they make when people search for them online.  The idea builds off the insight that first impressions no longer happen in person and that often people do some digital sleuthing before meeting someone in person.  Top Result allows people to protect their reputation by securing their own search results and hopefully ensure that their result shows up first when a search is done for their name.  Unlike reputation management sites which attempt to influence the actual organic search results when searching for your name, Norton results simply buys AdWords for each user & foots the bill for those paid search ads.  You simply go to the Norton Top Search website and enter their name and then basically create a standard Google AdWords Ad.  You can then choose a link such as your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page and then see a preview of how the search result will appear.  In order to make sure that nobody is hijacking another person's identity, you're required to verify your identity via Facebook.

It really is a brilliant idea and one that solves a legitimate concern from users about the lack of control of their online identity.  As Contagious points out: 'Norton's Top Results campaign is a perfect example of a trend Contagious coined - Marketing as Service Design - with the brand aligning its core values of security, trust and protection with a simple but effective digital tool. The brand has matched an unmet need with its core brand values, and is executing that in a way that uses the existing technology in a smart way. Using Google's ad spaces is a cheap, elegant solution that taps existing media and infrastructure and puts them to great use rather than trying to build its own website.'

Additional Articles: Contagious | Mashable

La Casa Eco & Sodimac - Skip This Behavior

As skippable pre-roll advertising becomes more and more prevalent, it's fascinating to see the emergence of clever ways to leverage the format.  In particular I've seen more and more advertisers creating skippable pre-roll advertising that somehow incorporates the 'Skip This Ad' button that appears on YouTube TrueView ads.  The latest and perhaps most clever execution comes from La Casa Eco & Sodimac in Chile.  Developed by Mayo Digital, the pre-roll aims to raise awareness about bad ecological habits and do it in just a few seconds.  For example, as the pre-roll starts an infographic type image is shown with the message:

'With that lightbulb that stayed on all day, you could've washed three full loads of laundry.

If you want to change this habit, the first change begins at home.'

A visual call out in the form of a pointer encourages users to click the 'Skip This Behavior' button.  Once a viewer clicked on the button they were redirected to a site packed with various ecological tips.  The result was that over 80,000 Chileans chose to 'skip a behavior' over the course of one week.  Very nicely done.  Check out the case study below.

Intel & Toshiba - The Beauty Inside

Last year Intel & Toshiba brought us 'The Inside Experience,' a social film project that was billed as the first of it's kind.  While I wasn't personally a huge fan of The Inside Experience as it played out, respect to all involved for pushing the boundaries and blurring the lines between web series, short film and social media campaign.  It's an interesting and rapidly developing area, so I'm glad to see that Intel & Toshiba are back to present 'The Beauty Inside.'  Created and developed by  Pereira & O’Dell, B-Reel and director Drake Doremus, 'The Beauty Inside' is a film about Alex (Topher Grace), a guy who wakes up looking like a different person each day.  Interesting storyline, but what's innovative is how the film uses that premise as a way to include and facilitate audience participation.  As the folks over at B-Reel describe 'it is Hollywood’s first film that gives the audience a chance to play the lead role. Alex can be a young, beautiful redheaded women one day while an overweight man late into his 40s tomorrow. He chronicles his ever-changing appearance as webcam diaries on his Toshiba Ultrabook. While fun and intriguing at first, Alex quickly realizes his limitations as he falls for Leah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).' 

Split into six episodes, 'The Beauty Inside' is a 30-minute social film that allows users to audition to play the role of Alex.  Users can choose from a list of script outlines that are based on the upcoming episodes and audition throughout the campaign by uploading a webcam video or photo of themselves.  It's a nice way to foster audience participation in a way that fits seamlessly into the story rather than a clunky social media bolt on.  Of course there is a social mechanic as getting friends to view, like and share your audition film increases your chances of being included in the film.  Check out the trailer below as well as the first episode.  The film (as much has been posted so far) can be seen at The Beauty Inside YouTube channel.

Grolsch - Big, Bold Journt

I recently came across this campaign on the fantastic Digital Buzz Blog.  It's a campaign by Grolsch (developed by BMB agency) that promised to be a true multi-screen experience.  There seem to be more and more campaigns that are truly multi-screen experiences where the TV spot just becomes the teaser for the rest of the campaign.  The real substance and essence of the experience lies in digital.  This campaign promises just that, viewers of the TV commercial are introduced to the character Journt, a policeman that demonstrates that character speaks louder than words.  Users who go to the Grolsch UK site are invited to share a beer with Journt.  Text him your name and if Journt recognizes the name he'll reward you by buying you a beer.  Literally you'll get a text back with a  a coupon for a 4-pack of Grolsch and a store finder that shows the nearest shop to claim your Grolsch.  It's a great idea and great way to tie together the awareness from TV with SMS, online video and mobile activity to ultimately drive foot fall in store.

Unfortunately the TV commercial doesn't include an obvious call to action or information about what viewers can expect (eg. free beer!) at the Grolsch UK website.  Unless you're one of those people who go to the URL at the end of every commercial, it's unlikely that a great number of people were pushed to spend further time with the brand by viewing the TV commercial.  Too bad really as it's a very nice idea.  Check out the case study below.

Gotye - Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra

Gotye's song 'Somebody That I Used To Know' seemingly took over the world and the Internet awhile back.  Besides being played everywhere that had a set of speakers, it also resulted in an innumerable amount of interpretations and cover videos (just search on YouTube for 'Somebody that I used to know.').  In a very meta moment, Gotye has created their own mashup of all the fan-made cover versions to produce 'Sombodies: A YouTube Orchestra.'  As Gotye says: 'Reluctant as I am to add to the mountain of interpretations of Somebody That I Used To Know seemingly taking over their own area of the internet, I couldn't resist the massive remixability that such a large, varied yet connected bundle of source material offered.


It's almost like a snake eating it's own internet meme that's turned inward to devour itself.  Bizarre.  This was directly inspired by the one of the founding fathers of the video mashup, Kutiman and his iconic 'Thru-You' project.  Somebodies is a beautifully done piece of video and a nice way to highlights the breadth of creativity from both Gotye and the various fans who took the time to create their own versions of the song.  Check it out below (and apologies for resurfacing a song that's likely been stuck in your head and heard thousands of times already in the past year).

Public Enemy - Paralympics Harder Than You Think

Right, I swear this will be the last Olympic post.  You may remember a few weeks back I posted an amazing (as in one of the best commercials I've ever seen) Paralympic commercial fromn UK broadcaster, Channel 4. You can see that post here.  The spot, Meet The Superhumans, used Public Enemy's 'Harder Than You Think' as the musical backdrop to the rousing and emotional spot.  The song has also been used as the theme throughout Channel 4's coverage of the games.  The commercial has received amazing press and has launched the Public Enemy song onto the UK charts despite being released five years ago.  Impressed by the games and the coverage, Public Enemy decided to cut a Paralympic version of the video and full song.  As Chuck D said 'These athletes are about self-empowerment and determination. Doing what they do is harder than you think.'  Check it out below.

via David Anderson

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hostess - Reach For The Gold

Let's be honest, there's a ridiculous amount of cliche and hyperbole that surrounds most of the Olympic advertising and sponsorship.  Is that financial services or fast food company really going to help you, the consumer, 'go for the gold'?  With that in mind it's refreshing to see Hostess embracing plain old mediocrity in their latest Olympic campaign.

The series of spots, created by Bernstein-Rein show every day athletes reaching for the gold...and failing.  Instead Hostess is implying that it's time they reached for the golden deliciousness of a Twinkie.  As Hostess says 'You don't need to be a world class athlete to win this kind of gold.'  I love it.  Fits the brand, fits the event and resonates more than many of the campaigns from official sponsors.

Coincidentally it's almost comical counterbalance (the yin to the yang) of the recent Nike - Find Your Greatness series of spots, including the Jogger video that's had the Internet abuzz.

Check out the spots below.

This last guy is kind of a badass though

AT&T - Rethink Possible (24h Turnaround Commercials)

This blog has featured many campaigns that use the idea of real-time response of the sort pioneered by Old Spice, but recently picked up and expanded by the brands such as Kraft and o2.  In a fascinating twist, AT&T and their agency, BBDO NY, have created a series of real-time-ish TV spots as part of their 'Rethink Possible' campaign.  The TV commercials integrate actual Olympic results into a series of spots turning them around in less just 24 hours.  See the first spot below, which features swimmer Ryan Lochte.

Fast Company has a fascinating article on how BBDO NY went about doing this.  I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but in short:

Three sports were selected as the campaign’s focus--swimming, gymnastics, and track and field. BBDO then created six versions of the commercial in advance, two for each sport alternately featuring a male or female athlete, with hundreds of different endings to account for a predicted range of winning times. AT&T worked with longtime broadcasting partner NBC to arrange for access to the footage within unusually quick turnaround times so that they could create a campaign that would stand out from the hailstorm of sponsored messages. Once one of the athletes pegged as likely to win is competing, a team from BBDO sits in London and waits. If the athlete performs well, it’s go time. A winning result means that footage has to be selected, sent to London-based post house Absolute for integration, the pre-canned shot with the winning time has to be selected and edited together. It’s then sent to NBC and the USOC for approvals and on air within 24 hours of the win. It’s a cycle AT&T is able to repeat up to five times for five winning athletes.

Very cool and plays perfectly into the idea of 'Rethink Possible.'  As the BBDO ECD Greg Kahn explains:

We had the idea of someone who gets inspired to keep practicing after seeing a record being broken. But in playing around with that idea, we thought it would be really cool if the way that the story is told is also a kind of how did they do that.  The blue sky idea was wouldn’t it be awesome if the record he sees being broken was the one you just saw on TV?” 

Sol Republic - The World's First Headphones For Cats

I usually like to avoid any posts that perpetrate the idea that YouTube is just about cats or dogs on skateboards, but August 8th was World Cat Day, so I may as well celebrate that momentous occasion.

First up is a nice feature from AdWeek that showcases 9 awesome cat commercials that drive the Internet wild.

The second is a hilarious spot/campaign from headphone manufacturer Sol Republic and their agency, RoosterNY.  They paired up with Deadmau5 partner, Professor Meowington, to produce the world's first pair of headphones designed for cats.  They only made 10 pairs of these catphones, with each pair retailing for $1000.  All proceeds from the headphones will go to the ASPCA (an animal protection society).  To support this initiative, RoosterNY created this hilarious infomercial style video, check it out below.

Cats, Deadmau5, hilariy...that's pretty much a trifecta in terms of capturing the attention of the meme-loving Internet audience and will hopefully be effective in raising overall awareness of the Sol Republic brand. Not to mention the fact that they're also raising money for a good cause at the same time.

via PSFK

Volkswagen - Street Quest

I don't know if it's just an American thing, but I have vivid (and often painful) memories of long car trips playing punch buggy with my brother.  Note: for those of you who have never heard of Punch Buggy; it's a children's game where whoever spots a VW beetle first shouts 'punch buggy, no punch backs' and gets to punch the arm of the person next to them.  See wiki entry here.  Now Volkswagen South Africa & Ogilvy Cape Town have created a contest that brings Punch Buggy into the digital world (minus the pain)

The campaign features a nice integration of Google Street View & Facebook.  Over the course of a month, users are challenged to find and pin as many VWs as they can find on South African  roads in Google Street View.  Each week, the user who pins the most will be flown to Cape Town for a final showdown with the other winners.  They'll then go forth into the real world to spot the most VWs to win the grand prize.  See below for more details or have a play for yourself here.

Tesco - Virtual Grocery Store At Gatwick Airport

Many of you may remember the Tesco virtual grocery store in S. Korea that brought home a media grand prix at Cannes last year (case study here).  Commuters were able to purchase groceries from their smartphones by scanning QR codes in a virtual grocery aisle composed of subway billboards.  The project was very successful, helping Tesco become S. Korea's number one online grocery retailer and facilitating more than 50,000 transactions.

Now Tesco has brought the experiment to the UK, specifically to the departure lounge of Gatwick airport's North Terminal.  They'll be trialling this over the course of the next couple weeks.  According to Tesco, 'around 30,000 people depart from Gatwick's North Terminal each day and each has an average of 70 minutes of downtime while waiting for flights. They can now use this time to ensure they don't have to make a trip to the shops on their way home.'

This is just a great example of a brand making life easier for their customers and solving an actual problem.  The insight that people getting home from holiday often have empty fridges at the time when you least want to deal with pedestrian things like grocery shopping, is something we've all experienced.  Pair that with the natural downtime that takes place before a flight and you've just turned unproductive time into life made easier for your consumers.  See the video below for more information.

Comment Haiku

Here's a nice little experiment from the technologists at W+K Portland.  As they explain:

'Comment Haiku is a tech experiment by a small team at W+K Portland. Our aim was to see if it's possible to use code to convert YouTube comments (generally regarded as total illiterate drivel) into poetry. We feel like we got part of the way there. If you want to see under the hood and look at the code, it's in two projects on github: haiku and django-haiku. All of the code is under the BSD license and we'd love more people to play.'

Check out the video capture of the experiment below or head over to Comment Haiku to play around yourself.  Fun!

Think With Google - Agile Creativity

As part of the ongoing Think With Google series, my colleagues in the US have just run a really interesting Google+ Hangout with some of the leading creative minds from around the industry.  Google's Agile Creativity initiative explores the leading tech-inspired best practices that creative agencies are applying in their organizations and processes.  I highly recommend watching the Hangout if you have the time.  It's really interesting to see how the idea of agile development, typically associated with technical development, can be applied to the creative process.

Regardless of whether you're interested in watching the Google+ Hangout, you should explore the new Agile Creativity site, which was developed in close partnership with ad industry executives,  'Agile Creativity is a guide that agencies can use to be faster and more collaborative in their creative processes.'

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Fever - Adidas, Old Spice, P&G & Channel 4

The Olympic ceremonies open tonight, so I thought I'd share my favorite Olympic work that I've seen in the lead up to the games.

In terms of Olympic stunts, I think this one takes the cake.  Adidas invited fans to show their support in a #takethestage photobooth that had been setup in Westfield Stratford shopping mall.  What they didn't know is that David Beckham was just around the corner.  Check out their reactions when he joins them in the booth.

In terms of pure humor, I love the most recent Old Spice spot, 'I Will Live Forever.'  Notice how they nimbly dance around the fact that they're not actually official sponsors of the Olympics.

And of course there's just plain emotionally evocative as you can see in the latest spot from P&G 'Kids.'

But ultimately, the best piece of advertising I've seen for the Olympics, doesn't come from an official sponsor, in fact it's not even for the Olympics.  It's from Channel 4 to promote their upcoming Paralympic Game coverage as well as the shows/features that they'll be airing.  I literally get chills down my spine watching it.  For some reason they've turned off embedding, but you can see it here.

OXY - Man Sized Problems

Warning, this might be is the most disgusting ad you'll ever see.  Oxy face wash and their agency, Naked Communications, wanted to reach the 13-18 year old male audience and convey just how bad pimples can get if left untreated.  To reach their audience in an authentic way, they compiled a number of Youtube clips and assembled them together to demonstrate just how a pimple can turn into a 'Man Sized Problem' and therefore why they should be using Oxy face wash.  As Adam Ferrier of Naked Communications says:

"The idea came from the simple insight that guys like watching videos of guys squeezing big pimples. It speaks to our target much more authentically than the glossy, cheesy work of Oxy’s big spending competitors. We believe this work will result in mass trial of the brand, and change consumer behaviour towards Oxy."

As someone who spends an ungodly amount of time on YouTube, I found that insight surprising (perhaps even questionable), but then again I'm not exactly the target audience.

via Buzzfeed & Randy Matheson

Pepsi Max - From Youtube To A 30-second Spot

This is a bit old and I meant to post it a month or so ago, but it's still relevant as we see more and more brands working from the inside out.  That is, starting with a digital execution and then translating that to traditional media or into a 30-second spot.  This example comes from Pepsi Max.  In the video, we see Uncle Drew going to attend a pickup basketball game with his nephew.  When one of the other players goes down with an injury, Uncle Drew steps in.  After a slow start Uncle Drew starts dominating and talking trash while the  other players try to figure out how the hell this old guy has such ridiculous game. At the end of the video we see NBA rookie of the year, Kylie Irving, being transformed by Hollywood makeup artists into an old man, 'Uncle Drew.'  The stunt actually relates nicely back to the brand as Pepsi Max is 'the zero calorie cola in disguise.'

The five-minute video is fantastic.  It's compelling enough that 80% of the viewers were still watching at the 4 minute mark.  Pepsi could've considered the 10 million views the video over the course of a month success in it's own right.  This was never intended to be a 30-second spot or to have a presence on TV, but as a Pepsi spokesman says "Once we started looking at the metrics, it became clear that we couldn’t miss the opportunity to bring Uncle Drew to the sport’s biggest stage."  Pepsi decided to run a cut-down version, basically just a teaser for the full video, during the first three games of the NBA finals.  That in turn drove further viewership of the YouTube video, creating a nice virtuous cycle.

Additional Articles: MediaPost | AdAge

Coca-Cola Security Cameras

Damn you Coca-Cola and your continuous ability to evoke emotion through video.  Coca-Cola Latin America, Young & Rubicam and Landia created this delightful 90-second spot to remind people that acts of kindness and bravery are taking constantly taking place.  The video shows off the warm fuzzy side of security camera /CCTV footage.  'People tend to associate security cameras with negative events, but we wanted to disprove that assumption by demonstrating the abundance of happy events and actions they capture,' said Creative Director Martin Mercado.

via Yoram Cisinski

McDonald's Gets Transparency Right (after getting it wrong)

Here's a nice effort by McDonald's Canada to be transparent and respond to questions/concerns from customers.  This comes a few months after the Twitter #McDStories fiasco.  The #McDStories was promoted tweet centered around the idea that 'when you make something with pride, people can taste it' and invited Twitter users to submit their stories.  No doubt they expected stories of love, laughter and general culinary delight.  Within minutes it'd been highjacked by such lovely recollections as 'Watching a classmate projectile vomit his food all over the restaurant during a 6th grade trip.' (@jfsmith23).  Needless to say McDonald's pulled the plug on the campaign very quickly.

Now McDonald's Canada (and their agency Tribal DDB Toronto) has taken the lessons learned and launched the McDonald's Canada 'Your Questions website and Youtube channel.  The premise is simple:  'Ever wanted to ask us about the food in our Canadian restaurants?  Now's your chance! We'll answer any questions about our food - even  the tough ones - then post a personal reply from McDonald's Canada.'  

In an extreme act of transparency, they're committed to answering each and every question.  Certain handpicked questions such are being answered with an in-depth behind the scenes video.  A great behind the scenes video answering the question 'Why does your food look different in the advertising than in the store?' has racked up million of views and is an incredibly interesting look at what goes on during a food photo shoot.  Check it out below or head on over to the McDonald's Canada Youtube channel to see more video response videos.

Again, this is a really nice effort to actually engage in meaningful dialogue with customers in a completely transparent manner.  This is increasingly important in light of the recent customer satisfaction index that ranked McDonald's last in satisfaction amongst fast food chains (though those results may just be for the US).  Then again McDonald's was just named the most effective global brand for the second year running at the Effie awards.

via Leon Bayliss

Refuge - Don't Cover It Up

Does something happening twice make it a trend?  Well I'm calling it one.  If you recall, a couple months back I posted about VW & DDB enlisting Youtube Star, Nikkie of Nikkie Tutorials, to create a PSA highlighting the dangers of applying makeup and driving.  That video recently took a gold for viral advertising Cannes.

Now YouTube star Lauren Luke and BBH have teamed up to create a video on behalf of domestic violence charity, Refuge.  The video offers tips on how to cover up bruises, with Lauren Luke indicating that her bruises are the result of domestic violence ('if you got some bruises from a jealous type of partner, etc.).  The video abruptly ends with the sound of someone entering the house and closes with '65% of women who suffer domestic violence keep it hidden.  Don't cover it up.'  This is part of the wider Don't Cover It Up anti-violence campaign from Refuge.  More information can be found here.

It's a great way to reach Lauren Luke's nearly 500,000 regular subscribers and to highlight the silence that too often accompanies domestic abuse. The video feels particularly authentic as Lauren Luke has talked about her past experience with domestic abuse.  Contagious Magazine has a more in-depth write up with additional background and insight.

Cannes 2012 Roundup & Trends

Regardless of what you think of the annual advertising boondoggle festival that is the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity, the fact is that it remains the most prominent showcase of advertising excellence.  This year saw Mobile and Branded Content get their own categories.  I highly encourage everyone to spend at least an hour going through the Cannes Lions site and reviewing the case studies for the winners in each category.  Without going into too much detail, the macro trend from this year's Cannes seemed to be awarding work that provided utility or gave something back to the user/customer.  As James Hilton aptly said during one of the Lightning Talks at the Google Sandbox 'the best advertising isn't advertising at all.'  Rather than try to recap the festival, I'll rely on the efforts of people more talented than myself.  See below for some nice round ups/highlights from the winners this year.

This comes courtesy of Bridget Jung, Chief Creative Officer - Digitas

I'd also recommend this nice roundup from AdWeek of all the Grand Prix winners for 2012.

Adverblog has a nice article on the overall Macro trends among the winners that's quite nice.

Last but not least, Contagious Magazine has a nice breakdown which includes snippets/quotes from about the work in each category.

But again, it's really worth spending some time on the Cannes Lion site and checking out the various winners across categories and the corresponding case study videos.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nike Football - My Time Is Now

Apologies that this blog has been radio silent for the past month due to a ridiculous amount of traveling around for work (and pleasure).  By now, most of you have have probably already seen this campaign, but if you haven't please set aside the next 30 minutes to play around with the Nike Football Youtube experience.  It's without a doubt one of my favorite all-time Youtube executions.  Kudos to W+K London & Stink Digital for an amazing piece of work. First a bit of background from the W+K London blog (they can certainly explain it better than I can):

Our innovative new Nike 'My Time Is Now' campaign celebrates this next wave of footballers, whether it's the participants in The Chance, Nike's worldwide hunt for football talent (with previous winners featured in the spot), or elite athletes looking to make an impact on the world stage. 

But more than simply reflecting the defining qualities of hunger and impatience, this new global campaign provokes and rewards these behaviours in the participating audience too.

To achieve this, the campaign flips the traditional AV model: rather than creating a film for TV and running it online, we created a film for the internet, a version of which runs on TV. Launched online first, with the TV edit following up in Saturday's Champions League Final, the film is driven by a variety of different types of content, interactions and experiences, as well as seamless extensions to the overall narrative flow of the campaign.

It all kicks off with another epic 3-minute, star laden spot below.  That's followed by a call to action to 'Follow The Tunnels' which are areas of content/interactive experiences throughout the film similar to easter eggs.  These include Ronaldo's training program, a Sonic video game, Football IQ test, etc.

I love the fact that Nike continues to put digital first and foremost and are committed to creating truly immersive experiences.  Far too many of these ambitious campaigns start with TV and treat digital as an adjunct or bolt on at the end.

Additional Articles: W+K London | Contagious

VW - The Original Click

Really clever use of Youtube advertising formats in this campaign for official Volkswagen auto parts (developed by AlmapBBDO).  The idea is simple, people shouldn't accept imitations auto parts.  Similarly, they discovered that on Youtube many of the most-popular videos have poor quality knock offs/imitation videos, some of which have millions of views.  So VW bought in-stream ads against these imitation videos with the message 'Don’t accept Imitations. Prefer Original Parts.'  Clicking on the ads redirected users from the imitation video to the original version.  Check out the brief case study/explanation video below.  According to this AdFreak article the campaign generated '125,000 views and 500 clicks for every $100 spent.'

via Sibylle Tretera

Additional Articles: Adverblog | Digital Buzz Blog

Paper Crows - Build

Here's another clever use of Youtube videos from the musicians, Paper Crows for their new album 'build.'  The site shows four separate YouTube videos which are then synchronized into one coherent visual track using the Youtube API.  Each of the videos is actually a different music track, so users can change the audio track by rolling over one of the videos.  Simple, but very clever.  Check it out here, or see the screen capture below.
via Bobby Nolla

Getty Images - From Love To Bingo

Another great piece of work from AlmapBBDO for Getty Images.  The challenge was to show that Getty Images has such an extensive archive that any story can be told through their photo collection.  The creative team spent more than 6 months culling through 5000 photographs to create this minute long film which contains 873 photos from the Getty Images archive and tells a wonderful story throughout.  Just beautiful.

Doubleclick Rich Media - Media Bridging Desktop & Mobile

As you may have noticed from previous posts, I'm a bit obsessed with the media bridging opportunities where mobile is the glue that connects all other forms of media.  There's still a long way to go until it's seamless and elegant, but there's been some really nice progress, especially over the past six months.

One of my favorite examples (logrolling alert) was developed by my talented colleagues at Doubleclick (Scott Harmes - creative, Roberto Stocco - dev) in conjunction with Toaster Ltd.  The tech is called 'Channel Connect' and basically creates a communications channel between a desktop advertisement (such as a Youtube masthead) and an HTML5 mobile site.  It's not just limited to one user, so you can actually create an ad experience with multiple users competing/collaborating on the experience at the same time.  I think it has a ton of potential and look forward to seeing how agencies push these executions going forward.

Have a play with the demo here or for more details read below (full post on Doubleclick Rich Media Gallery blog):

Dubbed ‘Channel Connect’, this new Rich Media feature enables you to create more ways for users to connect with your brand.

What is it?
Channel Connect is a new DoubleClick package of Flash components and JavaScript libraries used to establish a communication channel between a desktop advertisement and an HTML5 mobile site.  The opened channel can be used to send any kind of information in either direction between a user’s mobile device and their desktop.

How can I use it?
Channel Connect turns a smartphone or tablet into a new input device, allowing users to interact with brand content more tactilely than a simple mouse.  Any Rich Media ad can be enhanced by switching mouse-interactions to gestures: turn a user’s mobile into a game controller or graphics tablet for maximum active engagement.

On a separate note you'll notice that it uses a QR code to initiate the mobile part of the experience.  That's definitely where most of the media bridging stuff falls down, so it's interesting to see Layar's announcement a few days ago that they're creating an easy way for publishers to turn standard print content into a simple augmented reality experience.  Really interesting stuff...

Tide Responds To Fake Onion Article

This is great.  The satirical newspaper The Onion (which everyone should read religiously if you don't already) recently ran a spoof column from a fictional Tide digital director entitled 'Hey, Everybody! This Cool New Tide Detergent Video Is Blowing Up All Over The Internet!'  In the column, the fictional Tide guy writes:

Hey, everybody, have you seen this awesome new web video from Tide detergent?'s got these cute, funny talking animals, a cool indie-rock song, and it's just so hilariously random. And it's got this amazing cameo by Bret Michaels, which is so funny because Bret Michaels is hilarious and from the '80s.
  But hey, I don't want to ruin it for you. Just take a minute to check it out for yourself at the Tide website or, or check out Tide's totally awesome YouTube channel, which is like a treasure trove of cool, popular videos that everyone loves. And honestly, do yourself a favor and just go to Tide's website and hang there for a while. It's a totally awesome place to go and play online games and meet other cool fans of Tide products.
...The other cool thing is, after watching this awesome vid, I honestly just want to go out and buy a lot of Tide. Obviously, I've always bought Tide anyway because it's the best detergent around, but this awesome new clip just makes me want to buy it more. But hey, I guess it should come as no surprise that a brand that makes such a quality detergent would also make a quality video. I mean, it's Tide.   They're the best. They always come up with great stuff like this. It's a hip, modern company that is totally in tune with today's Internet culture, so it makes sense they'd have such a cool online presence.

Read the whole fictional column here.  As always the Onion is spot on, but the best part is that Tide has responded to the fake column by creating a real video that mirrors all of the elements described in the column.  Very meta.

We constantly hear about brands being responsive and listening to their audience (or the Internets in general in this case).  It's great to see a brand doing more than just paying lip service to the idea.  Check out the response video from Tide below.  My favorite line is 'making viral videos with reputable brand partners...':
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