Tomorrow’s (retail) World

While eCommerce continues to rule the world there is still a desire for a physical shopping experience. A lot of innovation is going on in this space too and we can expect to see more physical retail spaces merging with the digital to make everything feel much more personal.

As reported in Wired Magazine, eBay is expanding its reach into the physical world with an experiment at the Rebecca Minkoff flagship store. In the report about the new Rebecca Minkoff store in San Francisco, the article says how “The mirrors come alive. Walk into the fitting room with, say, a blouse and a jacket, and the dark glass lights up with a suggested handbag to match. You can browse the racks at the upscale fashion boutique or swipe through “looks” on massive touchscreens. If you see something you like, you tap in your phone number, and you’ll get a text when it’s ready to try on”. Check out the demo below and read the full article here.

Over at PSFK we can see how Starbucks has been re-imagined by creative agency Bulldog Drummond. They explore how technology can help enable a faster, more efficient and more personalized coffee experience. Also, how to make Starbucks feel more local and be part of the community. We see how they are redefining the “third place” that is not work and not home but somewhere that blends the two. Read the article here.

Meanwhile, Down Under you can now order gourmet burgers at McDonald’s thanks to a unique touchscreen experience. As reported on Digital Buzz Blog, “he Kiosk is extremely easy to use, and focuses on up-selling by tapping into a growing customisation trend that sees increase basket sizes by allowing customers to add seemingly unlimited extras to their burgers. But these also aren’t just any McDonald’s burger, they come served on a wooden plate, with the chips in a mini deep fryer basket too… All delivered to the seat that you select”.

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TVCs get social

Was interested to read in Adweek how HP has turned a series of 6-second Vines into a 30 second TVC. This is taking integration somewhere new and in many ways in reverse from the way many agencies work. Luckily it wasn’t created with user-generated Vine videos or the results could have been much worse. For this campaign, HP hired about a dozen artists and commissioned around 30 clips.

Many brands are looking how to crossover between different screens. Often it is done in a very simplistic way with the TVC being used on social channels, sometimes with extended or interactive versions. Almost every TVC now uses hashtags to lead people into social engagement. But how can integration be more surprising or innovative? With people often on their phones or tablets while watching TV could we see some interesting social platform + TVC synchronized experiences? There was the Honda Jazz app from a few years ago where people could catch characters on a TVC. Or Shazam integrations which was popular for a while. I’m sure we’ll be seeing some interesting developments in the coming years bringing all our screens together for more seamless brand experiences.

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GO CLIO!

No, this isn’t about the popular French compact car that was available as a crazy V6 version. It’s the CLIO awards that were recently announced along with a special speech from Jerry Seineld who basically said that what we do is meaningless. Yes Jerry, we already knew that.

Rather than focus on the big winners we’ve already seen soaking up the glory at Cannes and elsewhere, I want to look at some of the lesser known projects.

Red Urban in Toronto won bronze for this inspiring website that tells the story of a VW Beetle that went around the world several times. Everyone talks about storytelling these days. But if you find a compelling story and tell it beautifully it can be really touching.

OK, this next one won gold but not enough noise has been made about this. The Beats Music app from R/GA shows how human technology can be. With curated suggestions and questions to gauge your mood they are able to give you playlists that match who you are. Let’s see what Apple will do with this now they’ve made Dre the richest gangsta on earth.

Having a terrible president (again) and being the sick man of Europe seems to be sparking a lot of creativity in France. We’ve seen a lot of award winning work this year from les Francais. Here is a lesser known project for SNCF from TBWA that picked up a bronze CLIO. To recruit new engineers they challenged potential candidates with an impossible game. OK, so they only ended up hiring 10 people. But they were geniuses!!

Here is one last one from the Innovative Media category. While adamandeveDDB earned lots of buzz for their Harvey Nichols work this year they’ve done some other great projects too. This one for Google brought passionate soccer fans from around the world to a live football match thanks to the power of Google +

So don’t just check out the grand prix and gold winners. There are some interesting nuggets to be found in the lesser metals and shortlists.

Check out all the 2014 CLIO winners here

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Simple stupid

Every day I see super complicated campaigns that require people to jump through loops to participate. That’s why this one is so stupidly simple and brilliant.

To quote Creative Review, “Forsman & Bodenfors created a series of Instagram films for Swedish homecare brand Åhléns, which all featured Åhléns products zipping past at high speed. Viewers were then challenged to take screenshots from the films, and snap one of the products. If they achieved this, and posted it on Instagram, they could then purchase the product for half price”.

Enough said.

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Breaking the Surface

Scandinavian Design Group, one of Norway’s oldest graphic design studios, has just created an interactive installation for Norway’s branch of Lundin Petroleum, Sweden’s largest oil company.

The installation went live at a Scandinavian energy conference. But when Lundin asked Scandinavian Design Group for a proposal for their booth, Staal proposed something that actually isn’t a booth at all: An undulating ceiling of honey-colored tubes that would rhythmically move in response to the visitors walking underneath. They’re calling it Breaking the Surface. Read the full story on Wired.

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Cannes wrap-up

So another year comes and goes. Dashed hopes or dreams fulfilled. Many beers drunk and backs slapped. I wasn’t there to witness it this year but I know how it goes. Now we have another pride of Lions to show us what it takes to be a winner in this business we (used to) call advertising. Let’s look at some of the big winners…

Harvey Nichols stole the show this year with a campaign that bucked the trend for tear inducing Christmas campaigns. For the past few years John Lewis has dominated Christmas in the UK with soppy commercials that tap into the sentimentality of the season. This time Harvey Nichols said what everyone was really thinking – that people would rather spend the money on themselves. This picked up Grand Prix in Film, Promo, Press and Titanium to name just a few. Well done DDB Adam&Eve UK.

Another campaign that made me smile this year was for Newcastle Brown Ale. They decided to hijack the Superbowl with a slice of British humor and underdog attitude. The campaign they would have made, from Droga 5 NY, won a Cyber Gold.

Next is a project where most creative people would have said “trucks? not sexy!”. But the team at Forsman & Bodenfors in Sweden decided to go all out and the result was spectacular. Next time you are given a brief for a product you think is boring look at this case video. It won a Cyber Grand Prix along with gold in Titanium, Promo, PR and Direct.

Sometimes, when technology is invisible it feels like magic. That’s the case with this project for British Airways by OgilvyOne London. It’s a billboard that points out BA flights in a surprising way. It won a Direct Grand Prix along with gold in Media, Cyber and Outdoor.

From something beautiful let’s look at something ugly. There were a lot of award winning projects from France this year but this one stood out for me by using humor to tackle a real problem. So much fruit and vegetable gets thrown away by producers because it is ugly. What a waste. This project from Marcel Paris won a Direct Gold.

There are loads more award winners to choose from, whether it’s the 24 hours of Happy from Pharrell or The Sound of Honda. But I thought that I’d end with something totally and brilliantly stupid. Why advertise when you can get your competitors to do it for you? An win a Promo Gold along the way.

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Audi Scores

To show how much Audi is passionate about the World Cup they created a giant scoreboard made up from 28 cars. As reported in Creativity Online, the installation uses “car headlights to broadcast football results to New Yorkers from across the East River in Brooklyn. It built a 40 foot high LED “Soccer Scoreboard” using 28 Audi A8 sedans and 45 shipping containers on an industrial site in Greenpoint so that Manhattanites can see the results across the river. It kicked off with the results of the USA vs Ghana match and will show the scores of every match until July 14″.

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New York Festivals Shine

As a judge during this year’s New York Festivals I had the pleasure (and the pain) to see all the shortlisted entries. So seeing which projects won doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Below are some of my own favorites from the winners.

Nike SB APP – R/GA

Digital: First Prize

Until now Nike apps have focused mainly on running, fitness training and soccer but in 2013 (to quote the R/GA case study) they collaborated with pro riders to create never-before-seen digital skate experiences. It changed the way skaters participated in the world’s biggest action sport.

The Nike SB App helps skaters progress in their sport, connect with their peers and pro riders, and earn respect for one another with features like video posting and challenges, and building their personal skate history.

The app features a multi-angle video learning system, letting users watch trick videos from multiple directions. They can go head-to-head in virtual games of S.K.A.T.E. and get exclusive access to live-streamed Nike Pro events.

To launch the app, 28 of the world’s best skaters were brought together for 24 hours and challenged to complete all 616 tricks in the Trick Tree while the world watched live on YouTube.

GEOX. 7 Days of Rain – SMFB with Media Monks

Digital: First prize

We’ve seen some beautiful work from Geox in the past couple of years. This time, to promote the FW 13 Amphibiox collection (a waterproof line produced by Geox), the agency decided to get quirky by getting one man live for 7 days under a man-made cloud.

LOWE’S Vine Fix in Six – BBDO

Digital: Second Prize

Lowe’s is the second largest home improvement retailer in the world and they’re in the business of providing “how to” tips. When the agency saw Vine, they saw an opportunity.

To quote the agency, “in the first campaign of its kind, we used Vine as a way to bring useful home improvement tips to life. Using stop-motion animation techniques, we created over 50 six-second films that were as entertaining as they were useful. We called it Lowe’s Fix in Six”.

The campaign was recognized by the press and users alike for bringing meaning to a platform often associated with trivial curiosities, rather than compelling content.

Perrier Secret Place – Fighting Fish

Digital: Second Prize

Amazing project with extremely high production values. To quote the agency, “PerrierSecretPlace is a digital experience designed to enable people to party in a way they never could before, but have always dreamed about. It’s the first interactive film that puts you in the shoes of a guest at a very special party, where they live their craziest fantasies. To do so, all characters that you see on screen are clickable”.

By playing their role, you can live their fantasy. Choose among 60 lives, and as many fantasies as you want. There are almost 10,000 different ways to experience this party, conceived with a real movie studio production for 18 months. To give users the opportunity to continue the party in real life, there’s a hidden a secret Perrier bottle somewhere in the party. If found, it could give the user a chance to win an exclusive invitation and go to one of the craziest parties all around the world.

Volvo Trucks Live Test Series – Forsman & Bodenfors

Integrated: First Prize

Everyone knows the Van Damme video stunt. But the whole campaign was amazing. According the agency’s website, “the creative idea was to carry out extreme tests of relevant product features, in a live set up, where the outcome could never be guaranteed. In this way we could thrill and engage the widest possible audience while still providing a valid demonstration of the new truck. If our live test films could evoke enough interest, then we might be able to get all the way through to the purchasers”.

No doubt we’ll be seeing many of these project in upcoming award shows. Great work always rises above.

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Ads Worth Spreading

TED announced their annual list of Ads Worth Spreading to “recognize innovation, ingenuity, and intelligence in advertising”. You might have seen them all before but if not check them out here.

Below is one of my favorites. Hard-hitting stuff from New Zealand.

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Slurp!

It’s the season for scams in the run up to Cannes. I usually hate them but this one made me laugh.

To quote Adweek, “To encourage moviegoers to stay quiet during a film, Saatchi Denmark filmed audience members milling around the lobby sipping soda through straws and pulling stupid faces, then quickly edited the footage into the background of a fake movie trailer. In the middle of the supposed preview, viewers suddenly saw themselves on the screen, ruining a perfectly cheesy sex scene with their odd expressions and obnoxious slurping sounds”.

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