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.'