Tuesday, May 15, 2012

EasyWay Language Center

Here's a nice use of the speech recognition technology that's built into Chrome.  EasyWay Language Language center (and their Brazilian agency Loducca) created a simple browser based game/tool for students to practice their English pronunciation using Google's speech recognition technology.

Visitors to the site are presented with silly cartoons that ask the user to repeat a word.  If Google recognizes the word when you speak it, you move onto the next level.  If not, try again.  As it says on the site 'If Google can understand you, anyone can.'

Just a fantastic idea.  Check out the video below or experience it yourself here.

Additional Articles:  Adverblog | Fast Co. Create

Media Bridging Examples: Red Bull, ING, & NCDV

Lately it seems like there have been an increasing number campaigns bridging different forms of media, particularly in terms of connecting smartphones with out of home digital signage (remember this McDonald's example from Sweden).  Additionally we've been seeing increasing amount of executions that use audio (particularly Shazam) to bridge between TV and a smartphone experiences.  One of the nicest executions I've seen comes from Red Bull & NBC.   Fans watching NBC's snowboarding competition - Red Bull Supernational had the opportunity to use Shazam to get video from the snowboarders POV, thus creating a nice two screen experience during the broadcast.  Check it out below:

via Digital Examples

The second example comes from Germany agency Agenta as part of their activation as sponsors of the German Basketball Federation.  Using their smartphones, people could connect to the billboard and use their phone as a virtual basketball to play a free throw challenge.  At the same time a camera snapped pictures of them competing and uploaded/shared it amongst their Facebook friends.

Really nicely done, especially in terms of linking participation offline with a sharing mechanism online.  Check out the video below for more:

The third example was created by JWT London for the National Centre For Domestic Violence.  They installed a series of interactive billboards in London's Euston station.  The first billboard shows a man shouting at a woman with a call to action encouraging users to use their phone to 'Stop This Now and Drag Him Away.'  Users could scan a QR code or go to the website to drag him away via their phone which pulled the man further and further away from the woman and across the other connected billboards while displaying anti-violence messages.

It's a laudable effort, but I'd be curious to understand how well it actually worked it and how many people took the time to participate.  Was it clear what was happening on all the connected billboards or was interaction just limited to the one and then continued across after a user began taking part?  Anyhow, check it out below:

Additional Articles: PSFK | Creativity | Digital Buzz Blog | AdFreak | Mashable

Canadian Paralympic Committee - Running (Unstoppable)

Here's your inspirational ad/PSA of the week from BBDO Toronto for the Canadian Paralympic Committee.  Beautifully done, emotionally evocative and done in one continuos shot with no CGI or other trickery.

Watch it below and check out the making of video here.

Additional Articles: Laughing Squid

Three Nice Uses Of QR Codes - Emart, Guinness & Mercedes-Benz

QR codes have gotten a pretty bad rap and are generally shit on by the creative community (case in point, this genius Tumblr).  Until certain smartphone technologies mature, the fact of that matter is that it remains one of the best ways to quickly and (relatively) easily get mobile users to a site/app.  While there are definitely some absolutely abysmal executions out there, here are a couple of recent ones that work extremely well.

The first example comes Emart, the Walmart of Korea.  The Sunny Sale (created by Cheil Worldwide)  aimed to drive sales during lunch, which is a typically slow time for the retailer.  They created clever shadow QR codes which are only be readable/active in certain light, ie. between the hours of 12-1PM.  Users who scanned the sunny sale QR codes received special offers, coupons, etc.  It proved so popular they expanded it from 13 to 36 locations in Seoul.  Over the course of a month they sold over 12,000 coupons and increased store membership 58% month or month, but perhaps most impressive they increased sales by 25% during lunch hours.  Who says QR codes can't be effective!?

Additional Articles: Adverblog | AdFreak

The second example comes from BBDO New York for Guinness.  The QR code is printed on the glass and only works when Guinness (or another black/dark liquid) fills the glass, so don't try filling these glasses with lager, etc.  Once full scanning the QR code launches a site that easily/automatically tweets, checks in, posts a status update or sends an Instagram photo about where you are and the fact that you're enjoying a pint of guinness.  Very clever.
via Digital Examples

Prior to the official car launch, you'll often see speculation about the new model based off photos of the car 'spotted in the wild' on various aficionado sites.  Manufacturers combat this by wrapping the cars in plastic and generally camouflaging them so the new body/shape can't be deciphered before launch.  Jung Von Matt/Alster has cleverly tapped into this behavior by turning the camouflage of the prototypes into a form of media.  They've wrapped the new Mercedes Benz A-Class prototypes in QR codes.  The QR codes contain links to an app in which users hunt for trophies based off spotting the new A-class and give them a chance to win a trip to launch event.  Nice expansion of the idea of owned media and tapping into the existing behaviors of passionate car fans and paparazzi. 

Additional Articles: Digital Buzz Blog

McDonald's - Mein Burger

It's always nice to see examples of crowd-sourcing and co-creation done right.  To be fair, it's hard to do those types of campaign in a way that doesn't feel gimmicky and benefits both the user and the advertiser.  The 'Mein Burger' campaign comes from Razorfish Germany to celebrate the 40th anniversary of McDonald's in that country.  The competition invited users to create their own burger via the 'Burger configurator' with the winning creations chosen by public vote and eventually appearing on the McDonald's menu.  It's all about the execution in this case as Razorfish created a compelling experience for users to generate their own bespoke burger creation.  Perhaps more importantly, they also provided the tools to for users promote their burger creation and encourage their friends, as well as the general public, to vote for the eventual winners.  The winners not only had their Burger creation added to the menu, but also starred in their own McDoanld's TV commercial.  Check out the case study below.

Oh yeah, the eventual winner was the Preztelnator, a burger with ham, italian cheese, american cheese and pretzel-like bun.  Sounds...errr...interesting.

Additional Articles: Laughing Squid

Domestos - Meet Phil Pace

Here's a nice little short film (brought to you by Domestos) from Droga5 in Sydney that shows a bit about the life of amateur bodybuilder Phil Pace.  The Domestos tie-in doesn't come until the end of the film and is done (IMHO) in a brilliant and quirky way.  Much better way of illustrating the product benefits than your typical toilet cleaning commercial. Check it out below:

Additional Articles: AdFreak

BONUS: Simon Says Chrome Experiment

Remember the Simon Says toy game from the 80s?  As part of a Chrome Experiment Daniel Christopher has recreated an HTML5 browser based version of the game.

Take two minutes and have a play around with it here.

via Nathan Reuss

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

P&G - Thank You Mom

Wieden + Kennedy have kicked off the P&G 'Thank You, Mom' campaign with the beautifully shot and evocative film 'Best Job' which was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, Biutiful, 21 Grams + the Nike 'Write The Future' spot from 2010).  The film shows different Moms around the world nurturing their kids throughout the years as they move toward their moment of Olympic glory.  Check it out below.

The spot is just the first step in a much larger campaign from P&G leading into the Olympics and further extends the Thank You, Mom campaign that they ran for the 2010 Olympics.  In addition to the above spot, P&G is also encouraging the general public to say 'Thank You, Mom' and let her know you appreciate her.  You can submit your story through video, images or just a brief few words to let your Mom know you care.  So go check it out on the P&G Youtube channel and Facebook page.

Additional Articles: Adverblog | AgencySpy | W+K London blog

IKEA - The Smallest Store In The World

I've been seeing some really innovative rich media banner advertising lately.  I particularly like this execution for IKEA, the smallest store in the world.  In order to demonstrate how IKEA helps you make the most of any space, they've fit an entire IKEA store (all 2800) products into a web banner.  From this 300x250 MPU you can browse, click or buy anything that you could in a full-size IKEA store.  Check out the overview video below.

The ad was developed by Ogilvy Action Dubai.  Have a play around with the live version of the banner here: http://smalleststoreintheworld.com

Very clever and very charming.

Additional Articles: AdFreak | Adverblog

Streets Ice Cream - Share Happy

This is nice experiential campaign from Australia that effectively bridges the offline and online.  Streets Ice Cream (and their agency Soap Creative) launched the 'Share Happy' campaign (sounds a bit reminiscent of Coke - Open Happiness no?).  Installations were setup across Australian cities that invited any passer-bys to record Matrix style 360-degree rotating videos of themselves.  The videos were then uploaded to Streets Ice Cream Youtube channel and available on the Streets Ice Cream website.  Participants could go to the site and easily search for/find their video and easily share it out amongst friends, family, etc.

Great idea.  It's simple, but effective.  Participants are rewarded offline (ice cream samples) as well as online (a cool digital memento of an experience that they couldn't otherwise have).

Check out the 'Best Of...' video below.
Additional Articles: Simply Zesty | Digital Buzz Blog

Uniqlo Undercover

I love seeing innovative uses of the Google Maps interface (such as Levi's Roadwear covered here a few months ago).  Uniqlo has recently partnered with Japanese fashion brand Undercover and their 'UU' website launched a month or so back.  The site uses Google maps as the mechanism to browser the whole product collection.  As you can see from the walk through below, you can zoom in further and further to go from big (and random) pictures to product details on individual garments.  You can also turn on and off different maps layers that will organize the collection by area (mens, babies, etc.), show social comments about the collection or take you to a store locator layer.  Just a great use of a navigation interface that we're all familiar with as an innovative way to show off the entire collection.

Have a play around with it yourself art the Uniqlo Undercover site or see the video capture below.

Additional Articles: FastCo | TheFWA

Heineken - The Fever Keeper

Heineken and their various agencies have done an amazing job of activating their Champions league sponsorship and providing both utility & entertainment to football fans through initiatives such as Heineken Star Player.  The latest work (from Vidal Parternship) is aimed squarely at Champions league fans in the US.  Due to the time difference, most games occur when people are at work and therefore can't watch the games live.  As any sports fan who's tried to watch a Tivoed game knows, you essentially need to enforce a communications blackout from match time until you get home and can actually watch the recorded game.  There's just too many opportunities to see the results of the game accidentally while browsing the web.  Enter Heineken Fever Keeper, a Chrome browser extension that blanks out any revealing information about the match, regardless of what site you're on.

Genius...now if only there was something similar for smartphones.  Check out the video below for more detail and to see it in action.

Additional Articles: PSFK | Adverblog

Google Maps Cube

Back in January Google released this delightful video to promote Google Maps.  It features a wooden block 3D labyrinth of a cityscape that's suspended and rotated to show off a physical representation of navigating via Google maps.  At the time it promoted a beautiful HTML5 walk through of Google Maps, but it always struck me as surprising that there was no digital execution to match.  Fast forward a couple months and now we see the release of Google Maps Cube.  It's a fun WebGL based game/Chrome Experiment that allows users to experience different map based challenges.  The experience digitally replicates the metal ball in a wooden maze-type tilt games while promoting different features and functionality of Google Maps.

Have a play around:  http://www.playmapscube.com/

via Leon Bayliss

Fix At Four PSA

I really do think that some of the most clever work of the past couple months have been various public service announcements.  Here's another excellent set of PSAs encouraging pet owners to get their dogs or cats fixed at four months.