Thursday, October 17, 2013

Melbourne Remote Control Tourist

Have you ever wanted to really see a city before you visited?  That's the main idea behind the wonderful new Melbourne Remote Control Tourist campaign from Tourism Victoria.  As you may remember, a few months back I highlighted the San Pellegrino remote control robot that allowed internet users to control a robot in a small italian square for a few minutes at a time.  Now Tourism Victoria has taken the idea the the nth degree by enlisting a combination of technology and remote control tourists.  The campaign allowed internet users to control one of four people roaming around the city of Melbourne from October 9th to the 13th.  Outfitted with a combination of livestreaming cameras, GPS backpacks and handheld computers the tourists can be controlled by users on via Twitter & Facebook.  The remote control tourists can be told where to go, what to taste and what to experience.  It's a brilliant idea in allowing potential visitors to truly see and experience the city of Melbourne before they go.  In the first two days this modern evolution of the classic subservient chicken saw the remote-control tourists drink 21 cups of coffee, 71 high-fives, handshakes and hugs, 28 selfies, 2 karata lessons, one busking session while traveling a combined 50 kilometers.

The tourists were available throughout the day, with highlights from each day turned around in hours and uploaded to the website and YouTube.  Check out the intro video below as well as the Friday highlights.  I absolutely love the idea and while technically challenging, you can imagine the wide future and application this will have across the travel industry, particularly as wearable technology such as Google Glass becomes more pervasive.  The project was created by Clemenger BBDO, Exit Films & Jason Zada (the guy behind the Cannes winning 'Take This Lollipop.')

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The Dodge Durango & Ron Burgundy

As part of the promotion for the upcoming release of Anchorman 2, Dodge has teamed up with Will Ferrell (in character as Ron Burgundy) to promote the new Dodge Durango.  Ferrell and his Funny or Die colleagues, in conjunction with Wieden & Kennedy Portland have produced over 70 different ads for the Durango in the form of TV commercials, YouTube videos, Vines, etc.  It'll be interesting to see how this unfolds in the lead up to the release of Anchorman 2 in December. It's kind of a big deal.

The ads are (as one would expect) absolutely hilarious.  It seems like a win-win, bringing additional exposure to the movie as well as a great deal of levity and fame to the Dodge Durango. Ron  Burgundy isn't your typical spokesman.  For instance, rather than focusing on the power of the Hemi engine, he chooses instead to call out the many excellent features of the glove box.

Have a look at the playlist below or head on over to to see Ron Burgundy in all his glory, or as Dodge says:  Style. Power. Performance. Best-in-Class Handsome. What more could you ask for from a Dodge Durango spokesperson? Watch Ron go Burgundy all over YouTube. #BurgundyDodge

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KLM - Dream Catcher

When it comes to embracing digital platforms and technology, KLM has been at the forefront of the airline industry (Think With Google had an interesting article/case study which can be found here).  A few months ago I wrote about the KLM 'Must See Map,'which used a custom Google maps implementation to allow travelers to create a personalised map for an upcoming trip while also allowing users to invite Facebook & Twitter friends to suggest places to visit and directly add their suggestions to the personalised map.  Now KLM has extended the idea further with the KLM 'Dream Catcher' site/service.  Dream Catcher 'collects and sorts travel information supplied by some of the most used search and review platforms worldwide - painting a comprehensive picture of your chosen destination that is both honest and inspiring.'   Users can then browse, save and export a map of things to do and places to see for an upcoming destination. Hopefully they'll extend the service even further by combining the functionality of the Must See map and allowing users to link their G+, FB or Twitter accounts as a way of pulling in and/or ranking suggestions from friends and people in their social circles, much in the way that Google+ already does with local reviews.

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Google Glass Apps - Sherwin Williams & Philips

As more and more people get their hands on Google Glass we'll begin seeing a brands developing apps for Glass as a way to (literally) get closer to their customers.  Two recent (and very different) examples come to mind.  The first is from Sherwin Williams as an addition to their existing ColorSnap suite of applications.  While the use case here is a bit ambitious, it's still nice to see a relatively low interest brand devising ways that they can provide genuine utility to their customers.  Check it out below.

The second example comes from Philips Healthcare.  The video is a proof of concept demonstrating how Glass could integrate with their existing IntelliVue patient monitoring system and shows how surgeons could potentially use Glass in the operating theatre and beyond.  Very cool.

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YouTube - The Missing Person Pre-Roll

Throughout my childhood, missing persons were prominently featured on the side of milk cartons (if you're not familiar with this phenomenon, Slate has a good background article here).  It's only natural that the hunt for missing persons should be updated for the digital age, specifically YouTube.  For missing persons week the Australian Federal police and VML Australia developed a Missing Persons pre-roll ad.  The ads featured missing persons in Australia and were geo-targeted to focus on the specific location that each person was last seen.  Additionally, they modified the typical 'skip' button to allow the user to select 'Yes I have' or 'No I haven't' seen this person.

While no missing persons were found, it's a wonderful idea particularly when it comes to finding missing children as YouTube is the perfect media platform when trying to reach the younger demographic (who spend a tremendous amount of time on YouTube).  If I'm honest, the modification of the 'skip' button seems gratuitous as you could simply include a call to action to click on the video if you've seen the missing person.  In any case it's a smart use of media and something I hope will be used more widely.  Check out the case study video below.

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Forget Cats, Chickens Are The New Heroes Of The Internet - Mercedes, LG & Foster Farms

Conventional wisdom says that the Internet is dominated by cat videos (if you haven't seen the hilarious video from agency john st. on 'catvertising' then stop what you're doing and watch it here).  However, the past month has seen the unlikely emergence of chickens playing a starring role in several campaigns.

The first example comes from Mercedes.  The 'Magic Body Control' commercial was created by Jung Von Matt to demonstrate the stability and comfort of the intelligent drive system.  How ironic that  they use a $5 chicken to demonstrate the capabilities of a $50,000 car.  Check it out below:

Similarly, LG and their agency SuperHeroes are using chickens to show off the new optical stabilization features of the LG G2 phone.

Last but not least, Foster Farms are combining chicken puppets and classic 1980s songs to demonstrate the 'amazing' chicken that Foster Farms brings to the table.

Abercrombie & Fitch - What Does The Fox Say?

A few summers ago Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' was the hit of the summer.  The song began trending in large part because Justin Bieber uploaded a video of him lip syncing to the song.  That kicked off a trend of thousands of people creating 'Call Me Maybe' lip sync videos with everyone from the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders to Jimmy Fallon getting in on the act.  Several brands also created their own, with Abercrombie & Fitch creating the most popular branded version.  The video (20 million views to date) featured various half-naked Abercrombie models from cities around the world.  Eight months later, Abercrombie decided to also jump on board the Harlem Shake meme and create an Abercrombie & Fitch Harlem Shake video, though they were a bit late to the game and the video only garned 200k views.

Memejacking now seems to be a bona fide part of their content strategy as they've also jumped on the What Does The Fox Say? trend by creating their own version of the song featuring Abercrombie models.  It's a smart strategy as they can pretty much guarantee an audience by piggybacking on whatever is trending and inserting half-naked models into the equation.

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Other Things I Like But Don't Have Time To Write Up - Steinlager, VW, MTN

Steinlager - Be The Artist, Not The Canvas
I love this ad from Steinlager to promote responsible drinking.  Rather than tap into the typical cliches around responsible drinking, it appeals the juvenile, yet common occurrence that can happen when young men get too hammered.

VW - Take On Me
I'm blown away that Take On Me hasn't been used in an Ad before.  VW remakes the classic song to promote their no-charge scheduled maintenance on every new VW.

MTN - The Everywhere Library
Another great example of a brand doing good, in this case the Telco MTN brings books to students across Africa via SMS.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Google - Hangout Comedy Club

Google has partnered with UK charity, Comic Relief, to bring viewers around the world closer to the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Every year hundreds of musicians and comedians flock to Edinburgh for a chance at their big break, while thousands of fans come to see their favorite acts or the next big thing.  Gigs take place in small venues across the city during the festival, but now a selection of those acts are breaking the digital fourth wall through via the Hangout Comedy Club.  As the official Google blog post describes:

To be part of the Hangout Comedy Club, simply join a Google+ Hangout hosted by one of our famous comedians, including Katherine Ryan, Sanderson Jones and Joey Page. Just like a real comedy club, if you’re brave enough, you can join the front row with up to eight others. If you’d rather sit out of sight, join a Hangout, add your friends, and watch from the safety of the back row.

As in real-life, participants in the front row can heckle the comedians or (and perhaps more likely) become the object of the ridicule from whomever is on stage. [brief aside: is it harder for the comedians to make fun of people when they can't see their whole outfit or make fun of their date?]

Those people in the back row will have the opportunity to use the 'Laugh-O-Meter' which uses face tracking technology to measure how much you're smiling or laughing throughout the set.  Based on the laugh-o-meter score, it will then suggest a donation amount (higher if you laughed heartily) with all proceeds going to the Comic Relief charity.

It's another wonderful example of using technology to bridge the gap between the real and digital worlds.  Check out the intro video below or head on over to Hangout Comedy Club to see the schedule of upcoming events.

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Intel/Toshiba - The Power Inside

Last year I wrote about The Beauty Inside a campaign from Intel & Toshiba which went on to win both an Emmy as well as three Grand Prix's in Cannes (including Branded Content) this year.  Pereira & O'Dell are back with 'The Power Inside,' which is the third iteration of the social/interactive film series.  As in previous years, the film is directed and stars various Hollywood heavyweights.  The first episode launched August 15th with new episodes released weekly for the next month and a half.  The key aspect is the participatory nature of the film which allows viewers to be featured in the episodes through various mechanisms such as uploading photos of videos of themselves.

This year's iteration takes a more comedic approach (as opposed to the emotional and earnest 'The Beauty Inside' and the original horror-based 'Inside.').  The premise is that an alien race of extraterrestrial moustaches and unibrows are attempting to take over the upper lips and eyes of people around the world. The main character is Neil, who together with his friends and the help of technology discovers his inner strength to defeat the moustache and unibrow invaders called Uricks.  It's very much in the tone of Zombieland or Shaun Of The Dead.  Ridiculous? Yes, but also very well written, shot and produced.

In an interesting twist, AdWeek reports that Intel & Toshiba are selling product placement within the films to additional advertisers: 'Spotify, Skype, Fossil watches and Skullcandy headphones are all paying for placements with merchandise rather than cash. The merchandise will be given to winners in weekly contests tied to the series and as giveaways when U.S. consumers buy a Toshiba laptop computer promoted by the series.' 

I've never heard of such a thing being done before (at least in terms of branded content) but it's a clever way for a brand to leverage the previous success in order to offset the costs of the current campaign.  Check out the trailer and episodes in the playlist below.

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Coca-Cola - Personal Road

Back in 2011 Coca-Cola launched the incredible 'Share A Coke' campaign in Australia.  The campaign saw Coca-Cola print 150 of the country’s most popular names on labels of Coke bottles for the first time in the brand’s history.  The idea was to give people a reason to connect with friends through a Coke and by every measure was a huge success.  Since then Coca-Cola has been rolling out the campaign across the world, recently launching Israel where Coke & Gefen Team took the idea of personalization a step further.  They transformed the a series of prominent billboards into interactive displays.  Consumers were asked to download the Coca-Cola smartphone app and enter their name.  The app would then transmit and display their name on the billboard whenever they were in range (using geo-fence technology).  The app would then notify the user when their name was being displayed.

I would normally write this off as a gimmick with too many barriers to entry to get traction amongst users, but one shouldn't underestimate the narcissistic nature of today's smartphone user and their desire to see their name up in lights.  The app ranked #1 in Israel's app store and was downloaded over 100k times.  It's a cool idea and a wonderful execution, but also somewhat creepy.  Is this the first step on the road to the dystopian personalized advertising as imagined in Minority Report?  Check out the case study video below.

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Interrail Mobile - Global Pass

A generation ago backpacking around Europe was a rite of passage for college-age youth with a little bit of money to spare.  While the center of gravity for the backpacking experience has moved to SE Asia, training it around Europe for a summer or for a few weeks at a time is still a popular travel experience.  In order to promote their European wide unlimited train ticket, Interrail and Havas have created a fantastic piece of utility for their customers.  Interrail have partnered with mobile operators around Europe to provide a SIM card that allows travelers to use data and make cheap calls regardless of what country they are in for the duration of their travels.  The aptly named Interrail Mobile is sold directly on the Interrail site and provides an invaluable service to their youth-oriented market; the ability to stay in touch and post updates to their social networks throughout their travels.

Giving their customers a cheap and easy way to stay connected to social media and document their journey not only eliminates a huge paint point for travelers, but also allows Interrail to leverage word of mouth among their customers in order to drive future bookings from their respective social networks.   Check out the overview video below or check out the more in-depth article/interview at Contagious Magazine.

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Bear Time Stories

Perhaps my hard heart has grown softer since having a child, but I seriously was blown away by this idea.  Bear Time Stories is a project which:  'allows you to record yourself reading out a bedtime story. Your story will be put on a mp3 player built into a stuffed animal and given to parentless children around the world...
...Using voices from around the world the Bear-Time Project hopes to show how by donating a voice we can all help to make a child's dreams a little sweeter.'

Check out the overview video below and then head on over to Bear Time Stories to donate your voice or just your $$$.
via: Leon Bayliss

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IKEA - 2014 Augmented Reality Catalog

A few years back it seemed like augmented reality was going to be the NEXT BIG THING.  Reality has since intervened as most augmented reality executions proved to be mainly gimmicks that didn't provide a particularly compelling experience nor did they provide true utility to consumers.  Now IKEA is showing how augmented reality can be truly useful through their 2014 augmented reality catalog.  Created by McCann and IKEA's in-house agency, Icom the app allows IKEA customers to preview items from the catalog to see how they'd look in their homes prior to purchase.

Here's how it works, a user places the 2014 IKEA catalog on the floor in their home and then fires up the app on their phone or tablet.  The mobile device recognizes the tablet as the augmented reality marker.  The user can then select from various items in the catalog where they are overlaid onto a real-time view of the room (as captured through the camera of the mobile device).

Again, this is a great use of technology in order to provide true utility to the customer.  Users can see how various colors would look in-situ, as well as getting a sense of the size/scale of the furniture within their homes.  Those two features alone ease two of the most common pain points when buying furniture (eg. will color x good? will it fit properly?).  In fact, IKEA developed this app after their research showed that 1 in 7 customers purchased items that were either too large or too small for their homes.  It's a win-win as the app also has the potential to reduce the amount of store returns.  Check out the video that demonstrates the app below (complete with slightly creepy Swedish guy):

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Amstel - Pause

The past year has seen a wealth of clever experiential campaigns, interactive vending machines and other types of successful public stunts.  They typically require some sort of feat of concentration, physical exertion or the like from the relatively few members of the public that actually encounter the installation or stunt.  The more amazing, the more likely it seems that the subsequent video will garner millions of views.  The latest stunt from Amstel in Bulgaria bucks that trend by asking very little from the user.  Their agency, NEXT-DC created Amstel Pause, an interactive vending machine that rewarded users with a beer for simply doing nothing (eg. taking a pause in their hectic life).  All you had to do was stand in front of the machine for three minutes in order to receive a free beer.  It's a fantastic idea and taps into the reality of our busy world where we often forget to take time to stop and smells the roses (while drinking an Amstel of course).  According to the agency, the installation was live for:

'16 days, working from 16:00 to 21:00 o'clock in the busy center in Sofia, Amstel Pause collected:
— 4,032 minutes of break or more than 67 hours of rest for different people;
— Average of 84 users per day;
— Total of 1,344 beers given to people who do nothing;'

Check it out below:

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A Few Things I Like But Don't Have The Time To Write Up - NBC, San Pellegrino, & Oakley

Premier League On NBC
American TV network NBC recently acquired the rights to broadcast the English Premier League games in the States.  In advance of this past weekend's season opener they released this hilarious video.  So, so good.

San Pellegrino
I love this little experiment by San Pellegrino that gives their audience the chance to experience a little bit Italy by allowing them to control a robot in a small town in Sicily.

Oakley Dreamland - A Backyard Progression
Red Bull has forced other brands associated with action sports to step up their game.  Oakley has answered the call with what's one of the most epic skate videos you've ever seen.  If nothing else, fast forward to 7:30 to see amazing Helicopter shenanigans.  Interesting that the brand didn't split this into multiple episodes as there's just such a wealth of great stuff in the 8-minute long video.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Honda - Hands

To celebrate more than 65 years of engineering accomplishments and innovation, Honda has released this delightful film, 'Hands.'  As W+K London (the agency responsible for the film) writes: We have simply called the film 'Hands' as a testament to the tinkering nature of the Honda R+D engineers whose curious spirit (or hands) has made Honda the largest engineering company in the world.'

The film is a delight to watch and simply features a pair of hands magically transforming Honda products from one into another, taking the viewer from the earliest Honda products to the present day.

It's captivating enough to want to watch it again.  Additionally, Honda (and their digital agency, Collective) have launched an interactive version of the film.  The interactive version of the film, called The Engineer's Cut, allows 'viewers to interact via seemingly hand-written notes and doodles. Once clicked, the notes reveal the tales of engineers and innovation that have gone into the various Honda products.'

See the screenshot below and have a play around yourself by heading over to Honda Hands.  My only criticism is that there could be a stronger link between the flat film and the interactive version.  Clearly car enthusiasts or people who were delighted by the film would be interested in the interactive version, so an embedded link in the video sending users to the interactive version could help drive even more users to the deeper version.

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Toyota - Meals Per Hour

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Toyota teamed up with the with Food Bank For New York City to assist those families still affected by the storm.  In addition to providing financial support, they also brought expertise in terms of operational efficiency and engineering.  They recently released a video documenting their efforts, called 'Meals Per Hour.'  For example, Toyota brought in experts around the 'The Toyota Production System (TPS),' which is based on the principle that 'the summation of many, many small, cheap improvements can have a big impact.'  They dramatically increased the efficiency of the local food bank by implementing the TPS system to help distribute meals.  As one of the Toyota employees says: 'These basic principles of the Toyota Production System apply to any kind of process — it doesn’t have to be manufacturing.'

While the video is an inspiring piece of content, it might not have had a great deal of viewership without an additional twist.  Upon the release of the video, Toyota pledged to provide one meal for every view of the video (up to one million views).  This is a great example of marketing for a good cause.  Additionally, it's a great way to both drive viewership of the video and further anchor Toyota's commitment to CSR initiatives in the mind of the viewers.  Check out the video below or head on over to Meals Per Hour to find out more about the project.

AdWeek has some stats around the media generated by the project.

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Baba Beptanol Baby

As a new parent, it's been fascinating to see/experience just how much myself and my wife use the Internet for all things baby.  Recent research also shows that new and expectant Moms spend 35% more time online than the general population.  Obviously this represents a real opportunity for brands to insert themselves into the Moments That Matter for new parents.  As a result, I've been looking at ways, (both good and bad) that brands are providing utility to an inherently time poor audience of new parents.  One of my favorite examples comes from JWT Brazil for the brand Bepantol.  They created the Babá Bepantol Baby app which turns two iOS devices into a baby monitor.  From a utility perspective it can potentially eliminate the need to buy a baby monitor, or provide an ad-hoc baby monitor for situations where the family is away from home.  The app allows parents to talk to their children, provide ambient light around the baby, play lullabies, etc.  It's a great idea and particularly relevant when you look at the same research around smartphone usages for new Moms: 'The smartphone quickly becomes the mother's significant other: 36% of women purchase a smartphone as a result of becoming a mum, while 59% of mothers called it their do-everything device.' 

Check out the case study video below.

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Dove - Camera Shy

Off the back of the tremendous success of the Real Beauty Sketches, Dove has released the latest ad in their quest to reduce the self-esteem issues that women face.  The latest film, Camera Shy, was created by Ogilvy & Mather London asks the question; When did you stop thinking you were beautiful?  The film, which won Gold at Cannes, shows shows footage of  women of all ages desperately trying to hide from the camera, before ending with shots of pre-schoolers confidently parading and performing for the camera.  It ends with the line 'Be Your Beautiful Self.'
The film is growing in popularity, with nearly 17 million views to date, though that is a far cry from the nearly 150 million views that the Real Beauty Sketches video racked up.  I find the insight behind this video more compelling than Dove Real Beauty Sketches insight 'You are more beautiful than you think.'  Scientifically speaking that statement may actually be false.  This article from Scientific American sums it up quite nicely 'The evidence from psychological research suggests instead that we tend to think of our appearance in ways that are more flattering than are warranted. This seems to be part of a broader human tendency to see ourselves through rose colored glasses. Most of us think that we are better than we actually are — not just physically, but in every way.'

The article goes on to describe a series of studies in which 'researchers took pictures of study participants and, using a computerized procedure, produced more attractive and less attractive versions of those pictures. Participants were told that they would be presented with a series of images including their original picture and images modified from that picture. They were then asked to identify the unmodified picture. They tended to select an attractively enhanced one.'

Regardless they're both wonderful pieces of work that hopefully serve to help women to feel better about their self-image.

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Febelfin - See How Easily Freaks Can Take Over Your Life

Last year, Febelfin, the Belgium federation of the financial sector launched a film that purported to shwo an amazing mind reader revealing the secrets of various members of the public.  The film, created by Duval Guillaume, garnered millions of views and was a great piece of content to highlight the fact that many people's entire life can be found online while also urging people to be vigilant with their data online.

Now Duval Guillaume and Febelfin have gone a step further to highlight the dangers around identify theft.  In the latest film they actually steal the identity of a random person.  Rather than just steal his online identity, they go on to impersonate him in real life.  It's both creepy and fascinating. Again, these videos serve as a great tool to generate awareness of the dangers that come with being lax in our digital lives.  Perhaps most importantly, they communicate the danger in a way that's much more compelling than the typical messaging around identity theft and online security precautions.  Check it out below.

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Little Caesar's Case Study - Barton F. Graf 9000

Newsjacking and real-time response seems to be the tactic du jour in digital marketing these days.  With that in mind, Barton F. Graf 9000 released this hilarious case study showing how Little Caesars took over the social media landscape and enlisted all of America to celebrate their new deep, deep dish pizza.  Good stuff.

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Yediot Newspaper - History Where It Happened

I love this outdoor advertising campaign for Yediot Newspaper in Israel.  For most of modern history, Newspapers have been the authoritative source for documenting major events as they happen.  Yediot Newspapers (and their agency, Saatchi Israel) brought this ideas to life by showing people history where it happened.  Front pages from prominent days in history were placed in bus shelter ads in close proximity to where the events actually occurred.  For example, the front page from the day of Yitzak Rabin's assassination was displayed in a bus shelter where he was shot.  All of the bus shelter ads taken together, documented the majority of the key events in the history of Israel.  It's a lovely way to give real-world context to historical events.  It'd be interesting to explore additional digital components that could be added to an idea like this to make it even richer.  Check out the case study below.

hat tip: Adverblog

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Other Things I Like But Don't Have Time To Write Up - Old Spice, Tap King, Samsung & Heineken

Old Spice - Architect
I love the recent work for Old Spice from W+K that brings back 80s type jingles.  Check out the latest video, 'Architect.'

Tap King - Lionel Richie Beer Fridge
Lionel Richie + Beer makes for a winning ad.

Samsung - All Eyes On The S4
A great stunt to demonstrate a killer feature of the Samsung S4, namely that it knows when you're looking at the screen.

Heineken - Departure Roulette
In order to promote the new Heineken 'Dropped' episodic adventure series on YouTube, Heineken challenged travelers in JFK to drop their travel plans and play departure roulette where Heineken would send them to a random destination.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Volkswagen On YouTube

Over the past month or two, Volkswagen and their Brazilian agency, AlmapBBDO have embraced YouTube in a big way.  It seems as though the agency was tasked with finding new and innovative ways to use YouTube in order to communicate various features of the new Volkswagen automobiles.  First up is a Chrome extension that's being used to demonstrate the Volkswagen start/stop engine technology that automatically turns the engine off to save energy and starts it again when the car is about to move.  The Chrome extension automatically pauses YouTube video if the user looks away from the screen and resumes playing as soon as the user looks back.  Check it out below.

Next up is a nice use of the ability to hover over the video timeline in YouTube to preview what's coming later in the video.  AlmapBBDO used this YouTube feature as a way to demonstrate how the VW side assist technology works to warn drivers of any danger approaching that they may not be able to see.

And finally, AlmapBBDO wanted to demonstrate the smooth shifting Tiptronic transmission technology using YouTube TrueView, or skippable ads.  They created a five second ad that appears to automatically skip the ad for you, thus tying back to the smooth shifting functionality of the VW.

All in all it shows how a client/agency can use the various features and existing functionality of YouTube in clever ways that demonstrate various product benefits.  Hats off to AlmapBBDO and Volkswagen.

P.S.  It seems that it's not just AlmapBBDO that's using YouTube in new and resourceful ways, DDB Espana also created the 'fastest ad in YouTube' that's so fast you can't even skip it.  Not quite sure how that links back to functionality of the new VW though...

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Useful Google+ Hangout Apps - Toyota Social Car Configurator & Storytime

As Google+ matures G+ Hangout apps are continuing to be used in ways that allow people to collaborate in new and interesting ways.  We've seen a slate of interesting new Google+ Hangout apps launch over the past few months, but I wanted to highlight a couple of useful Hangout app executions.

The Toyota Collaborator Hangout app has it's origins in a prototype app that my talented colleagues on the Zoo developer team created some months back.  The prototype has since been picked up by Toyota with Saatchi & Saatchi LA + Joystiq Interactive developing it out into a beautiful and polished social car configurator.  The app brings the experience of the online car configurator into a collaborative space where users can create their own personalized Prius along with friends and family.  Furthermore, Toyota has sales people available in the Hangout to answer various questions. book a test drive, etc. Check out the demo video below.

The second Hangout app I want to highlight is from Penguin books and developed by BBH London. The idea is to bring storytime into the digital age.  As the Storytime Hangout site describes: 'Magically transform yourself into characters from your favourite tales with Storytime Hangout. Share stories with your family, no matter where they are in the world.'

As both a new father and someone with young nieces and nephews across the Atlantic, I find this incredibly compelling.  It's a case of using technology to make the world smaller and bring people closer together in a way that mirrors existing behaviour.

The app experience itself is delightful, as participants can transform themselves into their favourite characters using head tracking technology and the lines of the story appear on the screen alongside the masked faces so both adults and children can read the lines as though they were reading the book together physically.  Three Billy Goats Gruff is hopefully just the first of many Penguin books that's brought to life with G+ Storytime.  Check out the intro video below and head over to Story Time Hangout to experience it yourself.

P.S.  BBH Labs has a nice writeup about the background and process of bringing this to life.

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Useful Advertising - Lowe's & UHAC

Here are a few examples of brands providing advertising that is genuinely useful to the viewer/user.

Every few months there's a new digital marketing platform du jour that's billed as the 'next big thing' for marketers.  Oftentimes brands attempt to shoehorn their messages onto the platform in rather awkward ways.  In short, many brands and marketers forget that just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  With that in mind, it's nice to what Lowe's is doing on the latest platform du jour, Vine.  As you know Vines are restricted to 7 second clips, so Lowe's is providing convenient little tips and lifehacks through quick hit Vines.  Very nice use of the platform.  See below and head over to Digital Examples to see more examples of Lowe's Vine postings.

On a completely different note, check out the work from Draftfcb Toronto on behalf of Canadian Union Hearing Aid Center.  I won't say more as I don't want to spoil it.

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GeoGuessr is a geography game which takes you on a journey around the world and challenges your ability to recognize your surroundings.  It's a simple yet addictive
use of Google Maps & Streetview.  Here's how it works, you're dropped into a random location on Google Street View and you have to guess where in the world you are.  Pan, tilt, and zoom around your Streetview location to help you narrow down your location then plot where you think you are on the map.  You are awarded points based on how close your guess was to the actual location.

While this has nothing to do with advertising, you can imagine how hotels, airlines or other travel brands in particular could use this as a compelling way to show off various destinations that they serve as well as run a competition.  I wouldn't be surprised if we see this idea co-opted by a brand in the near future.  Check out a walk through video below or head on over to GeoGuessr to play.

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Coca-Cola - The Ahhh Effect

Lately we've been seeing a trend in terms of brands creating open ended campaigns which feature light-weight, snackable content that can be quickly consumed by the audience and is completely platform agnostic.  A perfect example of this is the Coca-Cola Ahhhh Effect.

The Ahhh Effect fits in perfectly to the overall liquid content ethos of the brand as articulated by Jonathan Mildenhall in the now famous videos Coca-Cola Content 2020 videos.  The Ahhh effect, developed by Wieden + Kennedy, is a pure digital play.  The campaign is designed to be consumed in short bursts on mobile devices and features lightweight content such as mini-games, animated GIFS, short videos, etc.  Each piece of content lives on a distinct URL around ahhh (they've literally registered 61 different spins of, such as, etc.  As W+K describe:

The taste of Coca-Cola is a complex feeling of happiness, satisfaction and refreshment all at once, and yet there remains one little word that best sums it up: "AHH." 
In celebration of that "AHH" moment, Coca-Cola is owning AHH online by buying every URL, from two h's all the way to 61 h's. The campaign’s 61 unique URLs are each home to an original experience—including films, games, animated GIFs and more—that bring to life the dimensions of AHH and offer bite-sized interactive experiences featuring teen-worthy moments of randomness, creativity and delight.

Check it out at (or any variation thereof), beware it can become a huge rabbit hole and time suck.  My personal favorite is the Cat not Cat game (see below)

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Barclaycard - #BespokeBallads

UK financial provider, Barclays is getting into the offers arena and has launched a new service called Barclays Bespoke Offers for their existing account holders.  As you may have guessed their point of differentation is that the offers from both national and local merchants are bespoke for each individual.

In order to promote this new service Barclays (and their agency, Dare) have created Barclays bespoke ballads.  They've enlisted several teams of comedians and songwriters to turn people's tweet stream into songs.  Here's how it works...a user submits a tweet to #bespokeballads, the songwriters/comedians then comb through their Twitter feed and create a bespoke song based off their Twitter activity.  That video is then uploaded to the Barclays Bespoke Offers YouTube channel  Check out the intro video below.
If you want to see these in action, you can see below the #bespokeballads created for my colleague, Nathan Guerra.

As in most things, the execution is everything.  In this case, the execution is really well done.  It's another great example of providing a personalized digital artifact back to users who have taken the time to engage with the brand.  On the other hand, the personalized videos are relatively meaningless unless you know the person being serenaded, which is why it also makes sense to include influencers, celebrities or people who have a large following on Twitter.

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Points - The Most Advanced Directional Sign On Earch

I absolutely despise the term Internet Of Things.  Thankfully a more elegant and descriptive phrase is on the rise.  The term enchanted objects (originally coined by MIT Professor and product designer, David Rose) perfectly captures the essence of the latest creation from the folks at Breakfast NY.

My description really won't do it justice.  Simply put, points is the world's most advanced street sign.  More than that, Points demonstrates how imparting connectivity on every day objects has the potential to make them into something far superior to the original.  Check out the video below.

I highly recommend heading over to the Breakfast NY website to read more about the Points project.  You can imagine how Points can grow an evolve as technology changes and the sign becomes personalized for each user who encounters it.  You can try it out live via Twitter by using the hashtag #PointsSign and watch Points display your tweet and point to where you are in the world.

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Super Formula To Fight Cancer

It's nice to see creative agencies using their powers for good.  JWT Brazil teamed up with the AC Camargo Cancer Center and Warner Bros to create the 'Superformula to Fight Cancer.'  As described on the JWT blog:

'This program was based on the idea that the first step to the fight against cancer is believing in the cure. In order to get their patients to believe, JWT Brazil’s creative team worked with doctors to create a case that clips together to completely cover the chemotherapy intravenous bag. This case combined the painful medication with the magical world of super heroes and was given the name, “Superformula.” The new name and look of the treatment helped to change the perception in the kids’ by convincing them that the Superformula gave them their own superpower which could be used to conquer their illness.

The team at JWT Brazil didn’t stop there. To give these covers a more powerful meaning, the agency produced a special series of cartoons and comic books in which the superheroes go through experiences similar to those of kids with cancer, and recover their strength, thanks to the “Superformula.” In addition, the team provided a new look for the entire children’s ward of the AC Camargo Cancer Center: The game room was converted into the Hall of Justice, hallways and doors were decorated with the same idea, and a special entrance was created to fit the theme for these little heroes to enter through.'

Heartwarmingly wonderful.

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A Few Other Things I Like But Don't Have Time To Write Up

Coca-Cola Small World Machines
Another wonderful execution under the Coca-Cola 'Open Happiness' umbrella, this time bringing together people in Pakistan & India.  The number of activations around Coca-Cola vending machines around 'Open Happiness' is seemingly endless.

A Boy & His Atom - The World's Smallest Movie
This is incredible. IBM created the world's smallest stop motion film.  As they describe 'The ability to move single atoms — the smallest particles of any element in the universe — is crucial to IBM's research in the field of atomic memory. But even nanophysicists need to have a little fun. In that spirit, IBM researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope to move thousands of carbon monoxide molecules (two atoms stacked on top of each other), all in pursuit of making a movie so small it can be seen only when you magnify it 100 million times. A movie made with atoms.'

Getty Images - 85 Seconds
Last year, AlmapBBDO created a beautiful film from various stock photography to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the Getty Images library.  Now, AlmapBBDO has done the same thing to show off the depth of their video archive.  85 seconds tells the love story of a couple who meet as children, separate after college and reunite later in life.

Holland - The Original Cool
This amazing video was developed by the Mustache Agency for The Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Amsterdam Marketing and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.  The Original Cool is part of a larger advertising campaign aimed at the North American travel market.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Google Chrome- World Wide Maze & The Peanut Gallery

The past couple weeks have seen the launch of two more excellent Chrome Experiments.  One from the Google Chrome team in Japan & the other from the Data Arts team in San Francisco.

Chrome World Wide Maze, developed by the Google Chrome team in Japan) turns any website into a playable 3d maze where you control a marble ball and must navigate it around a multi-dimensional course.  By syncing with your Chrome browser on Desktop and mobile your smartphone becomes the controller.  It's a great way to demonstrates the benefits and syncing functionality of using Chrome across devices.  All the user needs to do is open Chrome on their mobile (provided they are signed in) and the desktop tab becomes the mobile game controller.  For signed in users, it's an incredibly powerful way to show the seamless transition from desktop to mobile when you use Chrome on difference devices (which is often the biggest pain point for any media bridging experience).
Check out the video below or head on over to to have a play.

The second Chrome Experiment that I'm excited about is called The Peanut Gallery.  Developed by the Creative Lab Data Arts team in San Francisco, 'PEANUT GALLERY is a Chrome Experiment that lets you add intertitles to old film clips using your voice, then share those clips with your friends. It uses your computer's microphone and the Web Speech API in Google Chrome to turn speech into text.'

The Web Speech API functionality in Chrome has a ton of potential.  My team has been working on various prototypes that allow users to control different sorts of experiences using voice control, particularly in situations (such as certain video tutorials) where the users hands might be occupied.  It'll be interesting to see how various brands can carry this idea forward in creating voice controlled experiences using just the baked-in functionality of the Chrome browser.  Anyhow, check out the video below or (as always) have a play around yourself over at Peanut Gallery Films.

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Happy Egg Company - Chick Cam

Since Easter just passed, I thought it'd be worth highlighting something a bit different this Easter.  In the run up to Easter, the Happy Egg Company (and their agency, Hypernaked) developed this lovely Chickcam campaign, showing again that you don't need a big budget to have success in the digital space.  The Happy Egg Chickcam used a Google+ Hangout On Air & YouTube livestreaming over the course of four days to show the hatching of 17 eggs into cute, fluffy chicks. A livestream of eggs waiting to hatch would've been as excited as watching grass grow, so they also included a slate of activities throughout the four days to keep viewers watching.

As the good folks over at the Inspiration Room describe: 'On Monday the Chickcam campaign provided an opportunity for live Q&A on hatching chicks with Madeline from the Happy Chick Company, using Facebook, Twitter or Google+ event posts. On Tuesday viewers were given a chance to send in suggestions for the 17 Chick Cam eggs. On Wednesday questions and answers focused on egg farms with Happy Egg farmer JP. On Thursday, the final day of Chick Cam, a golden egg was sneaked into one of the camera views. The first five people to email the competition received a bundle of Happy Eggs goodies.'  Check out the highlight video below.
It's interesting to see more and more brands and content creators use Google+ Hangouts On Air to create either a) an always on, long duration livestream, or b) use Hangouts on Air akin to episodic programming.  In both cases, it gives users a reason to return back to the livestream(s) on multiple occasions.  For example, the Pet Collective YouTube channel runs multiple, always on Hangouts On Air of various animals including a Kitten cam, a Puppy cam a Golden Eagle cam, a Husky cam and many more.  One of my colleagues (who shall remain nameless) has actually bookmarked the kitten cam and fires it up whenever she's having a bad day.

hat tip: Inspiration Room

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HP - Photo Ball

Blow up beach balls bouncing around the crowd are an inevitable part of any music festival.  In a brilliantly simple idea, HP and their agency, AlmapBBDO, created a massive blow up beach ball that includes an HD camera & wi-fi hub in the ball itself.  The photo ball demonstrates HP's new positioning, 'Making Memories Last,' and was used during the Planet Terra music festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Throughout the festival the ball filmed and took photos of festival goers as it bounced around the crowd.  The video was streamed live both to the stage and online.  At the same time, still photos were uploaded to Facebook where people could find and tag themselves.  What's incredible is that the live stream from the photo ball reached over three million people as well as the people who tagged and shared those photos on Facebook.  Additionally, festival goers could have prints made at the HP festival booth throughout the festival. It's a great example of taking an existing behaviour and amplifying it with technology in a way that enhances the experience for both festival-goers and the online viewing audience.  I'm sure we'll be seeing photo balls make more appearances as the summer festival season gets into full swing.

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How To...Anything At All

My colleague, Dr. Joe Adam Fry, has kindly volunteered to write a guest post for 5 Cool Things, highlighting a little prototype that our team has been working on.  Take it away Joe...

So the idea was that as we work with YouTube content and Google Search data every day, we know that there is a how-to video for pretty much EVERYTHING in the world. 

So, how would you go about learning everything? Well, head over to How To Something and start learning all the things!
The world’s biggest and longest tutorial loads a random how-to video which you can either watch, share or skip if you already know how to do that particular thing. The results are generated from a randomized list of 600 verbs which is then contextualized by returning the top query phrases around that particular verb (using the suggest API).  So you too can learn, in one continuous STREAM OF AWESOME, how to marry a millionairehow to skin a squirrel, or how to sneeze on command and much more.

The result? Serendipitous learning at its best.

VW - Slowmercial & 2013 Golf Auto Show Reveal

Here are two nice, but unrelated pieces of work for Volkswagen from the past couple weeks.

Volkswagen Beetle Slowmercial
According to DDB Brussels, more than a third of Belgians regularly timeshift their TV viewing and of those viewers, more than 80% of them fast forward through commercials.  So how do you get your commercial message across to viewers who are watching at 2x, 4x, or even 8x the normal speed?  DDB Brussels created the Slowmercial for the new VW Beetle.  It's essentially a static TV commercial, not unlike a moving print ad.  Kudos to them for rethinking the existing TV format to take into account new viewing behaviour.  Check it out below to see what the ad looks like at both normal speed and 8x viewing.

VW Golf & Golf GTI
The new 2013 VW Golf & Golf GTI were unveiled at the NY auto show with a very cool projection mapping event that traced the evolution of the Golf through a cultural timeline.  Delightful.

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A Man Like Me In A Place Like This

Here's a fascinating usage/display of personal location tracking.  Rather than place himself on a flat map a la Foursquare, Facebook Check-In or Google Latitude, Tristan Smith has used Google Streetview in combination with Google latitude to show his current location in a way that closer represents reality.  As the about section of A Man Like Me In A Place Like This site describes:

Fame or Privacy. (Not Both.)

By combining data from Google Latitude and Google Streetview, this site introduces a new form of self-surveillance: An almost livestream of the creator's location using Google's extensive photo database.

Both a digital nod to the graffiti tradition of "_____ WAS HERE" and a new form of life sharing.
"A Man Like Me In A Place Like This" asks the question, "just how much of our experience are we willing to put on display?"

See below or head on over to A Man Like Me In A Place Like This to check it out yourself

Brightly - Preflight Nerves

Tweetflight is a new twist on the interactive music video.  Nerves, a Melbourne-based band created a real-time Twitter-powered film for their new single, Preflight Nerves.  As one of the band members explains:
'Basically we couldn’t afford to pay a big production company to do a film clip, so I thought it’d be wild to try and do something using web technologies – specifically, HTML5 and the Twitter API. 

The result is the first interactive real-time Twitter powered music video for our single, Preflight Nerves, that we’ve affectionately nicknamed Tweetflight.'

The music video scrapes tweets in real-time and highlights the lyrics as the song progresses.  Check out the flat film below or head on over to Tweetflight to have a play with it yourself.
via: Leon Bayliss

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Google - Art, Copy & Code

Art, Copy & Code in a series of experiments that started last year with the Google Project Re:Brief. Whereas Re:Brief re-imagined classic ads for the modern web, Art, Copy & Code looks at the future of modern advertising on the web through a series of experiments conceived, developed and executed in partnership with brands such as VW, Adidas & Burberry.  As the site explains:

A Time of Change
In the 1960's, advertising went through a creative revolution that changed everything simply by partnering up art directors and copywriters. The idea of a creative team made up of art and copy was born.  Today, it’s happening again. We’re in the midst of a second creative revolution, driven by technology. Code is being added to the core creative process, enabling new forms of brand expression and engagement. Art, copy and code is the creative team for the connected world.

The Idea Is Still King
What hasn’t changed is the need for human insights, breakthrough ideas and emotional stories. Code facilitates new kinds of experiences, but it doesn’t replace the storytelling skills the advertising industry has honed over the past fifty years. Our connected world is giving brands more dimensions and touch points, but they still need something compelling to offer in order to create a real connection.

A Series of Experiments
How will the modern web shape the future of advertising? We’re partnering with the innovative brands, storytellers and makers who are defining it to find out.

I highly recommend watching the dynamically generated manifesto/intro film on the Art, Copy & Code site.

The first in the series of experiments is the VW - Smileage app.  The official Google blog has a good overview of the experiment or check out the video below.  I envision it as the driving equivalent of Nike+, providing both entertainment AND utility back to the user in the form of insightful information about the individual's driving behaviour, habits, etc.

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Three - The Dancing Pony

Three is a UK-based mobile provider fighting for market share in a crowded and competitive environment.  Their most recent campaign, developed by Wieden + Kennedy London has absolutely blown up on UK television and the Interwebs.  'The Pony' is a truly delightful commercial and has been great in terms of generating awareness (though one could argue about the strength of the association with Three vs. just the Pony).

What's been interesting to me is to see how Three & W+K have extended on the TV commercial in the digital space, as well as taking the digital activity and feeding that back into TV.  If you haven't already seen it, check out 'The Pony' ad below before reading on.

In terms of driving digital activity, Three have created 'The Pony Mixer' which sends users to the Three YouTube channel where they can create their own bespoke version of the Dancing Pony, complete with various visual effects and a wealth of iconic songs to choose from.  That's a fantastic way to deepen the experience for users who are willing to go beyond just a passive view of the video.  You can check out the trailer for the Pony Mixer below.  There's also a heavy Twitter component around the hashtag #DancePonyDance, which generated 14,000 tweets within five hours of the video being uploaded and has continued to be active throughout the life of the campaign.

Lastly, Three have also taken the best of of the user generated videos created via The Pony Mixer along with the associated tweets and are running those as follow up TV commericals.  These include versions such as the Bollywood Pony, the Punk Pony and my personal favorite, the Hip-Hop Pony (see below)

Taken together the work from W+K London is just a fantastic example of how various channels can work together in a way that allows each component to extend and amplify the overall campaign.

Also worth noting that, the Poke have created their own hilarious version (not via the Pony Mixer) of the Dancing Pony called the Findus Pony.  For those of you outside of the UK, Findus is one of the brands/vendors caught up in the recent Horsemeat Scandal.

hat tip: Bobby Nolla & Adrian Dent

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Coca-Cola - Small World Machines

I recently came across this teaser video for the latest in Coca-Cola's ongoing 'Open Happiness' initiative (via Jonathan Mildenhall, VP of Creative @ Coca Cola).  Open Happiness has been running since 2009 and is a great example of how many different executions can be developed from one truly fertile big idea.  I'm also amazed at how many different ways Coke and their respective agencies have been able to bring the 'Open Happiness' idea to life through various owned assets such as Coca-Cola trucks, vending machines, etc.

The latest execution seems to be a natural extension of last year's Coca-Cola Re:Brief project which delivered on the brand promise from the classic 'Hilltop' TV ad of forty years ago, allowing people around the world to buy a stranger a Coke from the web.

The 'Small World machines' video shows vending machines using streaming video to allow customers at one vending machine to see and interact with a person in front of a Coke machine in another part of the world.  The two geographically separated people must then virtually join hands to draw a heart and earn a Coke.  It's a nice way to deliver on the idea that Coke is something that connects people in spite of their differences.  I'm looking forward to see how this worlds in the real-world.  In the meantime, check out the video below:

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Escape Flight

Escape Flight is a new travel site/service that flips the traditional model of planning and booking travel online.  Rather than start with a destination in mind, Escape Flight asks the user what attributes they're looking for in a getaway.  As their site descibes, Escape flight is 'a free service that has been specifically designed for people in big cities who need a last-minute getawar, but can't afford to do all the ground work themselves.  We have created a one-stop, travel-agent-defying algorithm that considers; your personal interests, the weather, your preferred airport, flight times, potential destinations (...including how easy they are to reach), even if there is an event on you might like, and of course not forgetting the cost.'
This idea isn't necessarily new, in fact there was a great piece of Miami Ad School student work that was similar, but based strictly on the weather requirements of the traveler.  I believe that I've also seen this sort of functionality buried in the booking options of other airlines sites.  The point is that none of the major travel players are really thinking about how to meet the needs of the traveler in non-traditional ways.  Escape Flight have brought the idea of interest/attribute based travel booking to the forefront in a both delightful and useful way.  It's crazy to me that big travel brands or travel aggregators aren't leading the way in terms of providing this sort of functionality as it resolves an inherent tension in the current travel process as well as serving an unmet need for potential travelers.

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Mohan Music Palace - Harmonium Banner

Here's a really nice use of rich media advertising. Developed by Web Chutney for New Delhi based Mohan Music Palace, the banner aims to help stem the decline in usage of the Harmonium, a traditional Indian musical instrument.  Targeted at various music sites and users who showed an affinity for musical instruments, the banner turned users laptops into a digital harmonium replicating the experience of playing the Harmonium.  Not only does the ad demonstrate a clever user of rich media technology, it was also extremely effective in terms of  interaction rates and an uptick quote requests.  Just goes to show that rich media ads can be an effective tool when used properly.  Check out the case study below.

via: Leon Bayliss

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Le Trefle - Emma

This is just a lovely piece of work from Leo Burnett France for French paper company, Le Trefle, reminding us that we'll always need paper, at least in some aspects of our lives.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chrome Super Sync Sports

As regular readers of this blog know, I'm somewhat obsessed with media bridging experiences.  That is, how do you seamlessly (relatively speaking) bridge an experience between desktop and mobile, or how do you create a bridge between a digital billboard and your smartphone, etc, etc.  My esteemed colleagues at the Google Creative Lab here in London have also been thinking about the same thing from an even broader perspective.  They have just launched a delightful new experience called Chrome Super Sync Sports that uses 'HTML5 features such as WebSockets for real-time gaming synchronicity on desktop and mobile, and Canvas and CSS3 for rich and engaging visuals.'  Here's how it works (as described in the official Google blog post):

'Smartphones and tablets are great for all sorts of games, and lately we've been thinking about new ways to play. Chrome Super Sync Sports is a new Chrome Experiment that uses the unique features of mobile devices to create a new gaming experience on big and small screens. In this game up to four friends can compete in running, swimming and cycling on a shared computer screen, using their smartphones or tablets as game controllers.'

Check out the overview video below and have a play around yourself at Chrome Super Sync Sports.

SafeStyle Windows - Secret Door

You don't need to be a big brand or have a huge marketing budget to create an amazing digital experience.  Case in point, see this beautiful and delightful experience created by Safestyle UK.  Safestyle are 'the largest independent company in the UK that provides top-quality, affordable uPVC double glazed windows, doors, French doors, sliding patio doors and composite doors.'  Perhaps not the most obvious candidate to create an immersive experience using Google Streetview, but that's the power of the web.  It democratizes marketing and provides the means to reach a tremendous audience without needing a massive budget (case in point see Dollar Shave Club or Orabrush on YouTube).   Interestingly, I've read articles that indicate that this is an SEO play by Safestyle UK to maintain it's organic search position.  Whatever the objective, it's a lovely experience for the user.

But I digress...the idea behind the Secret Door is that you step through it and are transported to some of the 'most quirky and interesting places Google Maps has to offer.'  The experience is essentially a curated version of Google Streetview (both indoor and outdoor) and provides serendipity and delight as you allow the Secret Door to take you to various places around the world.

Additionally the site can be embedded around the web, ensuring the experience can be spread far and wide.  So have a play around with the experience which is embedded below.
The Secret Door
The Secret Door is presented by Safestyle UK

Malmo Hardware Store - Toolpool

The past several years has a tremendous rise in the number of sharing (p2p or otherwise) and on-demand services that are disrupting existing business models.  Service like Zipcar, AirBNB, TaskRabbit, etc. are changing traditional models of ownership and resourcing.  Considering how potentially disruptive these types of services can be to existing business models, it's surprising that more brands haven't recognized the potential in these sharing services as an alternative to ownership of their products.

One business that has embraced the on-demand usage model is Malmo Hardware store.  They've developed a Zipcar-like service for power tools, called ToolPool.  As their agency, The Fan Club, describes:
'Malmö Hardware Store needed an idea to be able to compete with the giant home improvement chains that are taking over the market. We learned that the stores main earnings comes from supplies, not from expensive tools. So we created ToolPool. It works just like a carpool, but with tools. And it's for free. All we ask for in return is that you share our message on Facebook.
During the very first month, ToolPool received extensive media coverage, over 600 members and sales in the store increased by 25%.'

It's a wonderful example of service design.  See the overview video below.

via: Yosuke Suzuki

Audi RS4 - Ultimate Paintball Duel

I think of the Audi station wagon ( car as it's called over here) as a boring staple of the British upper-middle classes.  Generally speaking, estate cars/station wagons are thought of as boring family-mobiles that just appeal to Moms.  Audi's challenge is to shift the stigma away from estate cars and demonstrate the performance and handling of their recently relaunched RS4 wagon.  Rather than just talk about specs like the 450hp V-8 engine, Audi's agency Rubber Republic have brought the promise of the RS4 to life through a top-gearesque paintball duel.  You may remember Rubber Republic from their awesome Bodyform response video work.  In this case, they've enlisted two of the best UK stunt drivers (check out the behind the scenes video here) in 'two brand new 2013 RS 4 Avants with bonnet mounted paintball guns take over a military aircraft hangar and go head to head in the ultimate paintball duel.'  The result is sheer joy to behold & a perfect way to appeal to a male audience all of whom believe they could secretly be race car drivers.

Check it out below.
via: Yoram Cisinski

TED - 3rd Annual Ads Worth Spreading Winners

The winners of the 3rd annual TED - Ads Worth Spreading initiative have been announced at the the recent TED conference.  So what makes an Ad Worth Spreading?  Well it's worth watching the original TED talk from Chris Anderson, but as Ronda Carnegie, Head of Global Partnerships at TED, says:
'The best ads are excellent content--driven by ideas. Culturally relevant content with strong storytelling has the power to spark change, raise awareness, and communicate new ways of thinking...
...The ads selected have a common thread around human connection.  They create contagious emotion around wonder, imagination, culture, humor, and ingenuity.'

Most of these have been featured on the blog at some point in the past, but it's worth twenty minutes of your time to view them all.  See below for a handy playlist with the 10 winning videos.

According to the YouTube blog:

Ads were nominated in six categories: Talk, Social Good, Cultural Compass, Creative Wonder, Brand Bravery, and Education. Six nomination teams made up of one TED speaker and one rising thinker in advertising searched for ads in each category, while 25 leading figures in the ad industry searched for ads across categories.

Each of these ten ads go beyond the creative brief to spark imagination and create moments of emotional connection with audiences. The winning work will be showcased at TED2013 as well as on and you can watch them all here on YouTube. Combined, they have been viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube.