Showing posts with label us. Show all posts
Showing posts with label us. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

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:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

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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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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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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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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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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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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

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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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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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

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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Friday, February 15, 2013

Final Superbowl Thoughts

Contagious has a good Superbowl Advertising roundup which can be found here

My personal favorite spot was Samsung Next Big Thing with Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, & Bob Odenkirk.  I love the shots that they took at AdLand (I counted at least five).

The VW 'Get Happy' Superbowl ad generated a whole bunch of controversy with many people calling the spot offensive and even racist.  I was surprised that nobody has really picked up on this response video from Red Strip that ran during the game.  Everyone was swooning over the Oreo blackout execution, but the way that Red Stripe responded and attempted to insert themselves into the debate around the ad was incredibly smart in my opinion.  See below.

VW had a backup ad created for the Superbowl, but decided to run the 'Get Happy' ad after the teaser spot had significant response on YouTube (see the behind the scenes article).  I'm wondering if this ad below isn't the backup spot.  Personally I prefer this to 'Get Happy.'

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sodastream Ad Banned From Superbowl

A few weeks back I featured a Sodastream ad that was banned in the UK because 'denigrated the bottled drinks market.'  Ridiculous, but to be fair the advertising standards in the UK are far different than the US.  Essentially, denigrating or drawing unfavorable comparisons to your direct competitors is not allowed.  I noted that Sodastream would be running a similar spot during the upcoming Superbowl.   The Superbowl spot was created by former CP+B principal, Alex Bogusky and ridicules both Coke & Pepsi for their harmful effects on the environment.  Now word has come down that Superbowl broadcaster CBS, having screened the Sodastream Superbowl ad, have decided to ban it.  According to Forbes 'CBS banned SodaStream’s Super Bowl spot because, apparently, it was too much of a direct hit to two of its biggest sponsors, Coke and Pepsi.'

You can see the banned spot below.  Please watch it and share it.  Seriously.  I usually refrain from expressing too many of my personal opinions, but I find the ban absolutely outrageous.  Past Superbowl spots could have been deemed offensive to any number of people (GoDaddy anyone?).  Now that a spot offends two of the biggest advertisers in CBS's stable, the advertising standards people step in.  Effective creative communication is one of the great equalizers in marketing.  Coca-Cola & Pepsi are big boys, with big budgets and access some of the best agencies/creative talent in the world.  Sodastream should be allowed to compete freely with Coke and Pepsi in the marketplace of ideas in order to persuade customers to choose their products.  It's just that simple.

On the plus side, Sodastream just saved itself a significant percentage of their overall marketing spend (the going rate for a Superbowl spot this year is nearly $4 million for 30 seconds).  I expect they'll garner a huge amount of PR/buzz due to the ban, as was the case when the UK commercial was banned.

Dodge Dart Registry

I was blown away when I first saw this idea for the new Dodge Dart.  Developed by W+K, the Dodge Dart Registry works like a normal gift registry, but for purchasing a car.  The Dart is targeted at a younger audience who typically can't necessarily afford a car.  The potential buyer picks out the features they want, then invites their friends and family to sponsor parts of the car as gifts.  Once they reach the fundraising goal, they are the proud owner of a brand new Dart.  As Dodge says, it's an entirely new way to buy a car.  Check out the intro video below.

The reason I love this idea so much is that it's grounded in consumer truth and presents a new twist on existing consumer behaviour.  In hindsight, this idea is almost inevitable. The rise of crowd funding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo has been relentless, so it was only a matter of time before that funding mechanism spilled over into the main stream for big-ticket items.  Additionally, the idea of a gift registry has been around for years.  More recently, the idea of contributing cash/funding to a wedding registry to make one large purchase (such as a honeymoon) has become commonplace.  Combine all of these factors with the insight that the target audience often needs help to finance a new car purchase and you can see how it all comes together beautifully.  Have a look around on

Target - Tweet To Runway Show

I'm pretty much a sucker for real(ish)-time video response campaigns.  Old Spice pioneered the format, but other brands have taken up the mantle in new and interesting ways.  The latest Twitter --> Video response campaign comes from US retailer Target.  The Everyday Collection campaign, conceived and developed by mono, is an unlikely fusion of high style with food and various household items like kitchen rolls, detergent and diapers.  The idea was to create a fashion show with a couple twists.  Rather than show off high-fashion, the models were showing off everyday items from Target.  Furthermore, the featured objects were chosen based off tweets mentioning said objects, often in humorous or otherwise quirky ways.  Basically taking the banal and turning it into something more.

In total, more than 150 videos were created, all of which were featured on the Target YouTube channel as well as the Every Day Show site.  Each video shows the original Tweet and those Twitter users featured were given Target gift cards.  In general the response video is a nice mechanic to create a personalized digital artifact for a select group of people.  It also has the benefit of ensuring that the people featured will then spread the artifact (and campaign) among their own social network.

Check out the highlight video below, some of the videos are quite amusing, but to be honest most don't really land well.  It just goes to show that execution is everything.  What sounds hilarious when read on Twitter becomes something completely different when delivered by a model.  Regardless, it's a nice effort from Target and their agency, it's just tough to top some of the campaigns that preceded this one.

Southern Comfort - Comfortable Weather Guy

The 'Whatever's Comfortable' spot developed by Wieden + Kennedy for Southern Comfort was one my favorite ads of 2012.  IMHO, everything about the advert was pretty much perfect, absolutely nailing the brand tagline of 'Whatever's Comfortable' in a delightful way.  Given the popularity of the spot, it's no surprise that the brand is extending the duties of the Comfort man character.  The Comfortable Weather Guy site features the eponymous character against a backdrop of whatever the weather is in your particular city.  You can also see Comfort man deliver the weather (against an appropriate backdrop of course) anywhere else in the world.  It looks like there are about sixteen different videos that are matched up to the particular weather at any given time. Check out the original spot below as well as the different weather videos or just head over to the website and have a play around yourself.  Silly?  Yes.  Pointless?  Somewhat.  Entertaining?  Most definitely.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Few Things From The Holidays Worth Noting - Mobile Orchestra, PNC Christmas, Starbucks Spread The Cheer

AKQA Mobile Orchestra
A lovely collaborative mobile experience from AKQA: 'to celebrate the holidays, AKQA teamed up with members of the Pacific Chamber Symphony and Mussic Director Lawrence Kohl to create a synchronized mobile orchestra.'  See the video below or experience it at

PNC Twelve Days Of Christmas
For nearly 30 years US-based PNC bank has calculated a yearly Christmas Price Index.  The CPI (as they call it) shows the current cost for one set of each of the gifts given in the song 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas.'  For the past several years PNC has also create immersive digital experiences that bring the CPI to life.  This year's 12 Days Of Christmas Experience is particularly well done.  Check it out here.

Starbucks Spread The Cheer
When will brands learn that campaigns inviting user participation have the potential to backfire?  You'd think that moderation of these campaigns would be the default after mishaps like McDonalds #McDStories.  Starbucks is the in a growing list of participatory campaigns gone horribly wrong.  Before the holidays the coffee giant invited the twittersphere to send out some holiday cheer, using the hashtag '#SpreadTheCheer.'  Instead the company received a bombardment of tweets criticizing the company, particularly the low tax rates that the company pays in the UK (background: a couple weeks prior Starbucks was dragged in front of Parliament to address tax avoidance accusations).  If that's not painful enough, Starbucks had also setup #SpreadTheCheer screens showing live tweets at the ice skating rink in front of the London Natural History Museum.  #FAIL.  Huffington Post has some of the choice tweets here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Juicy Couture - California Dreaming

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

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

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

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

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

Let the randomness and hilarity begin!