Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Coca-Cola - 2nd Lives

Sustainability is a hot topic these days.  More and more companies are realizing that they can play an active role in alleviating some of the big problems that face the world while also using sustainability initiatives to contribute to the growth of their business.  Unilever is the most prominent in this space as they recently committed to halving their environmental footprint while doubling the size of their business by 2020.  One of the issues with sustainability initiatives is that they can often come across as either greenwashing or too worthy/preachy.  It's a classic case of 'show me, don't tell me,' while the 'show' part is often difficult to pull off.

Coca-Cola, who have also been active in the sustainability arena have cracked the 'show me, don't tell me' problem in their latest campaign.  Coca-Cola - 2nd Lives encourages the reuse of Coca Cola bottles by introducing a range of 'innovative caps intend to transform used bottles into fun and useful objects and encourage consumers to reuse and re-purpose plastic.'  The program recently launched in Vietnam and will be rolling out across other Asian markets (and hopefully beyond).  The idea is quite simple, the bottle caps can be fitted onto empty Coke bottles thereby giving them new life as either toys (think water gun) or useful objects (think hot sauce or shampoo dispenser).

It's a wonderful idea that I would love to see other brands embrace (not to mention Coke rolling it out across more markets).  It also plays perfectly into the trend around Lifehacks.  Just scrolling through this Tumblr of 99 Lifehacks inspires dozens of ways that other brands could encourage consumers to reduce and reuse their products after they've been consumed.

Newcastle - Follow The Money

I love the work that Droga5 has been doing for Newcastle Brown Ale over the past couple years.  Their 'No Bollocks' communications strategy is all underpinned by the idea of 'good beer without the bollocks of traditional beer advertising.'

Their latest effort/stunt is simple.  Follow Newcastle on Twitter to get a check for one millionth of a million dollars, which is actually one dollar.  As they say in the video 'Why endure the unsolicited marketing of other beer brands for free when you could endure Newcastle's unsolicited marketing and get paid.'

The stunt comes from the real desire to get more people on Twitter to follow the brand:

"Basically, the brief from the client was to get people on Twitter to follow us. Our brand's philosophy has always been to do things in the most No Bollocks, no bullsh*t way," Bell says. "We got the budget for the project to get people to follow them and said, 'What if we just gave people money to follow us?' which was pretty much it. There are middlemen places where you can go to get people to follow you, but it's $3 to $8 per follower and we thought, 'Why not just cut out the middleman?'"

While most brands are trying to make an emotional connection with their consumers, I love the straight up transactional nature of this in a way that both makes fun of their competitors and perfectly aligns with the overall 'No Bollocks' theme.

Friskies - Dear Kitten

Cat videos + YouTube Stars + Brand Integration.  Sounds like a recipe for a derivative click bait video right?  Thankfully not.  You may remember that a few months back Nestle owned Purina Cat Food teamed up with YouTube Star Ze Frank to produce this hilarious 'A Cat's Guide To Taking Care Of Your Human.' which subtly promoted their Tidy Cat line of cat litter.

Ze Frank has created a new video for the Nestle owned Purina family of brands.  The video, 'Dear Kitten' is a hilarious guide told from the perspective of an elder cat informing the the new kitten in the house all about life with humans while subtly promoting Friskies cat food.  A perfect example of how to do 'branded content' well.

A Gaggle Of Google Goodness

There's been a ton of really interesting collaboration and work coming out of Google recently, so I thought it'd worth taking the time to highlight just a few of these projects.

Sainsbury's Food Rescue

In the UK more than 20% of the food purchased in supermarkets is wasted and nearly 2/3rds of that food is perfectly edible.  To help drive awareness of the problem and reduce food waste in households across Britain, Sainsbury's and Google have partnered to create the Sainsbury's Food Rescue program.  Similarly to Spell Up, Sainsbury's Food Rescue used the Web Speech API to allow consumers to simply speak the ingredients that they have in their fridge while the site provides inspiration in the form of easy recipes that can be made with the food they might otherwise throw away.  Check out the intro video below or head on over to the Sainsbury's Food Rescue site to try it for yourself.

Spell Up

Next up is the latest Google Chrome experiment, Spell Up, which turns spelling into a game using just your voice.  As the project lead, Xavier Barrade writes on the Google blog:

As a student growing up in France, I was always looking for ways to improve my English, often with a heavy French-to-English dictionary in tow. Since then, technology has opened up a world of new educational opportunities, from simple searches to Google Translate (and our backpacks have gotten a lot lighter). But it can be hard to find time and the means to practice a new language. So when the Web Speech API made it possible to speak to our phones, tablets and computers, I got curious about whether this technology could help people learn a language more easily. 

That’s the idea behind Spell Up, a new word game and Chrome Experiment that helps you improve your English using your voice—and a modern browser, of course. It’s like a virtual spelling bee, with a twist.

We worked with game designers and teachers to make Spell Up both fun and educational. The goal of the game is to correctly spell the words you hear and stack them to build the highest word tower you can—letter by letter, word by word. The higher the tower gets, the more difficult the word challenges: You’ll be asked to pronounce words correctly, solve word jumbles and guess mystery words. You can earn bonuses and coins to level up faster.

Spell Up works best in Chrome on your computer and on Android phones and tablets. (It also works on iPhones and iPads, but you’ll need to type rather than talk.) Whether you’re just learning English or you’re already a pro, check it out! And if you’re a teacher, we encourage you to try it out in your classroom. 

Check it out below or head on over to the Google Spell Up site

Rubik's Cube Google Doodle & Chrome Cube Lab

Google marked the 40th anniversary of the invention of the Rubik's Cube by creating this incredible interactive Rubik's Cube Google Doodle.  It was one of the most technically ambitious Google Doodles which Wired has thoroughly documented in this behind-the-scenes article.  Beyond just the Doodle is a a cool Chrome Experiment that can be found at the Chrome Cube Lab.  The Chrome experiment lets developers customize and submit their own Rubik's cube designs and features a gallery of the best submissions.  Check out the video below:

Arby's - Slow Advertising

Arby's (which is a fast food chain in the US) recently launched their new Smokehouse Brisket sandwich.  The process of making the brisket includes smoking it for 13 hours, but some consumers questioned whether it was actually smoked for that long or was just a marketing ploy.  Arby's (and their agency, Fallon) decided to answer their critics and also tap into the slow TV movement by running a 13 hour TV commercial (though it only ran in one market... Duluth, Minnesota).  They also live streamed the commercial online (is it really livestreaming if you're playing something which isn't actually live?) which garnered a larger audience than you'd expect (15,000+ people).

Perhaps you think this is just a stunt and perhaps you're correct, but equally Arby's could be tapping into a movement that's been bubbling below the surface for sometime.  That movement is called Slow TV.  In Norway for instance, several of the highest rated shows in recent years include a 10-hour show following a train journey from Oslo to Bergen, an 18-hour broadcast of salmon spawning and a five-day broadcast of a cruise ship travelling through the Norwegian Fjords.  There's clearly an audience for slow TV and perhaps it's something advertisers should be tapping into more.  Kia's 5 hour long super slo-mo Superbowl Ad of Adriana Lima waving a flag had more than 2 million views before they took the video down.  A quick search of YouTube yields dozens of log fire videos several hours in length each with a significant number of views.  If you do find yourself with 13 spare hours and would like to see the process of a brisket being smoked, then check out the video below

Ads Worth Watching - Week Of June 6th

Beats - The Game Before The Game
'Watch how the best prepare for Greatness' in this star studded 5 minute long spot by Beats all about pre-game rituals of players and celebs alike.  An unlikely favorite for best World Cup ad.  It's a slow build, but well worth your time.

Banco Chile - Mineros
Banco de Chile enlists the survivors of the Chilean mining tragedy in this emotional piece encouraging the Chilean national team to victory in the World Cup.  Note:  Turn on subtitles if you don't speak Spanish.

Dove Men + Care - Calls For Dad
Lovely ad celebrating Dad's from Dove in advance of of Father's Day: 'Three quarters of dads say they are responsible for their child's emotional well-being, while only 20% of dads see this role reflected in media. It's time to acknowledge the caring moments of fatherhood that often go overlooked.'

Lifebuoy - Tree Of Life
I somehow missed this when it came out a month ago, but it's another incredibly powerful ad from Lifebuoy.

Motorola - Meet Moto E
Everything's better in slo-mo, including product demos.  In this video a 3-second free fall is turned into a 60 second film showcasing the product features of the new Moto E phone.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Moving to Medium.com...at least temporarily

Updates to 5 Cool Things will now be done through G+ and medium.com so please head on over to the 5 Cool Things collection on medium.com:

or for more frequent updates, check out the G+ page