August 8, 2011

Get emotional

In this video featuring John Jay of Wieden + Kennedy he talks about the emotional connection agencies need to have with their clients and the target audience to get to the soul of the solution. The same goes for digital but how easy is it to achieve? With projects such as The Wilderness Downtown by Google we are seeing more online communication that is able to make that emotional connection.

As people become more emotionally invested online, especially with social networks, it is becoming more important for all digital marketing to have empathy and soul. Looking at some of the most successful projects of recent times we can see this as a trend that will only get stronger. From the Decode campaign with Jay-Z to Ikea’s Happy Inside we can see the power of emotion.

So next time you feel yourself getting too intellectual in your concepts take a breath and let your emotional side out a little. You might just end up with something a lot stronger…

July 10, 2011

People staring at computers

Artist Kyle McDonald installed a program on computers in two New York Apple Store locations that automatically takes a photo every minute. Now his personal computers have been confiscated by the US Secret Service. Was it worth it? Well he’s famous now!

Apple have taken over so many people’s lives. Nice to see someone that give them a taste of their own medicine. Hold on, I just have to check my iPhone…

May 6, 2011

Month of Tweets # 4

April was a month of Easter Eggs, Royal Weddings and other equally forgettable things. But so as not to forget some of the cool things I tweeted last month here is a round up of the best…

Very cool… RT @adenhepburn: New Digital Buzz Post: Xbox Kinect: Become Your Own Souvenir! http://bit.ly/dGeMG4

  • I love Kinect hacks and 3D printing so put them together and I am in digital heaven!

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Sweet… RT @PeteFyfe: This is quite smart. 3D projection mapping on a small scale for Vodafone: http://bit.ly/fC5ZRy

  • We are seeing more innovative uses of 3D projection mapping being the big brashy building projections being watched by pretty agency girls. This one is very cool.

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Gaming for a good cause – some great examples. RT @simonmainwaring: Zynga: How the virtual world can save the real world. http://ow.ly/4z1M5

  • We all know how casual gaming is a huge market and this article shows how this audience has a heart as well as spare time to waste growing virtual cabbages and such.

Interesting stuff… RT @ktroia: Razorfish5: Technologies That Will Change The Business of Brands http://ow.ly/1cbUGE

  • I don’t mind plugging other agencies as long as they are sharing great articles like this one…

Ads that analyze and target you personally – interesting article on CNN http://bit.ly/fTq4nQ

  • Immersive Labs have developed a system where your computer analyses your face to target ads just for you. Will this take off or will people think this is taking things too far?

Everyone copies, Apple included. It’s how you do it that matters – article on The Telegraph UK http://bit.ly/hS8uao

  • With Apple likely to be the most valuable company on the planet before too long it is interesting to read how they didn’t get there by being original – just by copying better than anyone else.

I like… RT @ThePersuader: Brilliant use of #RFID helps #Renaultbring Facebook ‘Likes’ to life [Video]. Love it! http://ow.ly/4G7Xg

  • In the future we will probably all be “liking” things in the real world by swiping our mobile phones. Is this a taste of what’s to come or just a gimmick?

Very cool… Nike Software Turns Runners’ Footsteps Into Loopy, Swooshy Paintings – on FastCo Design http://bit.ly/euXxOr

  • This kind of project really excites me even though I know that it would only appeal to a limited audience. But who cares? it’s looks fantastic.

They shoot they score… RT @contagiousmag: Heineken hits the back of the net with the launch of Star Player from @AKQA http://j.mp/mq4ET6

  • Could this be the future of an different kind of interactive TV experience?

I usually end with a smile but thought I’d buck the trend with this sad tale of a fantastic agency that has closed its doors due to some unfortunate circumstances. Thanks for inspiring us Modernista!

Sad story… RT @Adweek: The rise and fall of Modernista.http://bit.ly/k9jEfb

February 22, 2011

Innovation & Collaboration

Saneel Radia is Director of Innovation at BBH Labs New York and recently gave this presention to Miami Ad School students in Brooklyn. On the BBH Labs blog he says that “there’s been a clear shift toward digital product development at agencies in recent years and it seems to be the work we respect most of one another if award shows are any indication (and I’m not sure they are)”.
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He goes on to say that what he find most intriguing about the future of product development at agencies “is the intersection with collaboration. I continue to believe that serving as a scaffolding for customers to engage with brands beyond transactions is a huge opportunity for agencies, and that we’ve only scratched the surface thus far”.

January 28, 2011

Month of tweets #1

Since moving to China my time on Twitter and here on my blog has dropped considerably. I’m transitioning from my weekly tweets roundup (which was not that regular if we are being honest) to a monthly one. So here is the 1st in my Month of Tweets…

2011 – the year of HTML5?… RT @BenShaw: PSFK » Nike’s New Site Uses HTML5 to Scroll Towards A ‘Better World’ http://ow.ly/3yx62

  • I’ve heard that it doesn’t work on an iPad (I still don’t have one!!!). Interesting all the same.

Cyber stalking is good for business 🙂 RT @ericphu: I love this KLM campaign idea… brilliant.

  • Everyone has probably seen this by now. But if you haven’t then you’ll wish you had this idea.

Angry Birds unplugged? A new board game inspired by the app http://bit.ly/dJEA4a

  • Milking the idea for all it’s got before people get bored…

Clever stuff from Brazil… Gol Airlines: Mobile Controlled Banner Game – on DigitalBuzzBlog http://bit.ly/fR3nR4

  • Few people will have the patience to do this but it doesn’t stop it from being an innovative idea.

Amazing… RT @thaz7: Great read from @fastcompany on the influence of the social networks in China. http://bit.ly/e15BWq

  • Seeing it firsthand is quite something. If you think social media is big then it’s even bigger in China.

Scary? RT @GaryPHayes: The Future According to Schmidt: “Augmented Humanity,” Integrated Into Google | Fast Company http://bit.ly/iiXA3u

  • How far does Google want to get inside our lives? This article might make you a little nervous.

Nice concept… Nike connects global runners via ‘Ekiden’ social contest – http://bit.ly/gjQ90Z

  • When you have such a powerful branded utility platform like Nike Plus there is no end to the ideas you can build upon it. This one from Japan connects runners from all over the world. Great idea from W+K.

As usual I like to end with a smile. This banner concept brings to life the Ikea self-assembly philosophy perfectly.

Sweet idea for Ikea… RT @hardwidge: Ikea: Unbox the Banner 2 on BannerBlog: http://bit.ly/gYmz0E

December 28, 2010

The digital year ahead

The end of a year is always a time when people look backwards but mostly when digital trend watchers look forwards to the coming year.

It seems like for the past 10 years everyone has been saying that the coming 12 months will finally be the year of the mobile. Everything seems to point this being true in 2011 but in ways that nobody expected. It isn’t just about phones any more but now the tablet is allowing people to stay connected away from the PC like never before. Expect to see a whole selection of new products appear at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that will allow people to connect wherever they are – with each other and with brands.

What does this mean for the world of advertising? Location-based marketing will grow even more in 2011 according to Jesse Thomas in a recent article on Mashable.We are moving from people “checking in” to impress their friends to more retailers giving special offers to those people who drop in regularly. This is leading to a whole new way to drive traffic to stores and gives marketers a powerful tool to reward visits.

Meanwhile, it is predicted that Augmented Reality on smartphones will go mainstream. In this article in the New York Times, Nick Bilton explains how this technology has moved from being a geeky gimmick to a truly useful tool. It’s not just about looking through your phone screen to reveal hidden information or seeing yourself with a virtual girlfriend. People are now at home watching TV and augmenting the experience with additional content on their phones or tablets. In the case of ABC TV network app where the tablet listens to the audio of the TV show and is able to display relevant information at key moments in the program.

Social media is not going away in 2011 and many are predicting that it will grow even stronger as a marketing tool. In the Harvard Business Review David Armano presents six trends, for me the most interesting of which is the move to a more open social experience where campaigns cross boundaries between various social networks. This comes from the reality that people don’t stick to one social platform but dip their toes in many different ponds.

Now that I’m based in China it’s interesting to see how they fit into this picture. The country may have come late to the digital marketing party but is fast catching up. With our own social networks, location-based tools and microblogging services – not to mention the explosion of digital devices in the hands of the consumer – China is poised to impress the world with some amazingly creative and effective examples of 21st century advertising. The sheer numbers of online customers and their passion for all things new makes China a wonderland for switched-on marketers. While viral videos still seem to be the most popular online medium for brands we will hopefully see more active forms of participation through the smart use of mobile while more campaigns will become social-centric allowing increased participation.

As this digital decade ends and another begins we can look to the One Club to remind us of the best digital campaigns of the past 10 years. From a Subservient Chicken to Nike shoes that talked to your iPod, through to an online video that literally changed the face of advertising and gave us the word “viral”… enjoy some of the best work that will no doubt appear like ancient relics 10 years from now. Yet their ideas will still stand strong even if technology moves on. Creativity never gets old.

December 1, 2010

Week of tweets #21

My Twitter follower count recently broke through the 1000 barrier (I know Ashton, nowhere near yours). To celebrate here is another “best of” from my most recent tweets…

Small wonder! RT @glueisobar: What a brilliant piece of design!! i3DG: a mobile 3D exhibition. http://bit.ly/aOPECI

  • Just love it when you take an idea from times past and update it for the digital age. This would be great for McDonald’s Happy Meals.

Wise words. RT @MrJonath: “Digital may be everyday but it’s not effortless” – Iain Tait in New Media Age http://bit.ly/aNOcqE

  • Iain Tait is going to be my next featured digital hero in this blog but in the meanwhile he defends the value of digital specialists in this article. We might live in a post-digital age where technology is every day, but (as Iain says) “to deny there’s an art and a specific skillset required to produce and execute great digital products or advertising is a huge, epic, ostrich-like mistake.

Love it! RT @intersphere: Major Oops. Publicis’ Hacked Twitter Video Is a Lesson on Inoculating Your Brand Against Satire http://ow.ly/3bZTN

Sweet idea – unless you’re a tree. RT @BLOGILVYdotNL: When Facebook becomes a book http://bit.ly/ds4bFk

  • Developed by Perfect Fools for DDB Paris, from an original idea by Siavosh Zabeti and Alexander Kalchev. Bouygues Telecom asked them for an idea to launch their Facebook platform. Something that would “go beyond using your profile picture in a funny way, or pranking your friends with a small joke”. They took a look at the way people use Facebook and “found that even though we use the social networking site everyday, we forget our favorite moments we share online”. So they created an app that could change that, and keep your Facebook in book form.

More Kinect goodness… RT @mariegoupry: Xbox Kinect Launch – Interactive Art Installation in Munichhttp://bit.ly/f7zgJT

  • I am always amazed how quickly new technology gets hacked and repurposed. You can find loads of incredible Kinect rehashes online now. They’ve also sold a bucketload of the devices. Which is more can be said for their Windows 7 phones.

The new new media? Richard Branson announces Virgin’s magazine for iPad – in the Guardian UK http://bit.ly/fCwDVA

  • Forget the arms race. Now it is the tablet war with rival media moguls battling it out for our touch screen devices.

And finally, a big bucket of cold water from my good friend and colleague Eric Phu

Reality check… RT @intersphere: View From the Consumer |http://bit.ly/ijfHyG by @ericphu

  • Here’s a sample : I will not jump through your hoops, so don’t even bother asking. If you want me to participate, you better keep things simple.I don’t want to create a custom video, or spend 20 minutes interacting with blatant advertising. I don’t even want to watch a two-minute video intro, or click through 10 pages to get to a point.
November 30, 2010

Best of British

At the BIMA (British Interactive Media Association) Awards last week there were some great winners – some of which are definitely worth taking a look at. The biggest winner of the night was Recode Decode, a project from Saint@RKCR/Y&R. It was a generative marketing campaign for the Victoria & Albert museum’s show of digital art and design, Decode. The agency commissioned Karsten Schmidt to create an ever-changing open source artwork that was used for the exhibition identity. You can read the story behind the project here.

In the Charity and Not for profit category (sometimes known as SCAM – although not in this case 🙂 ), Publicis London won for their iHobo iPhone app. It was developed “to challenge perceptions surrounding homelessness. The app, the first ever to feature interactive live action video footage, has been developed on behalf of homelessness charity Depaul UK”. The free iHobo application downloads a virtual homeless person on to the user’s iPhone and effectively demonstrates in real time the complexity of homelessness; lack of shelter, food and money, emotional distress, isolation, drug use, crime and physical and mental abuse.

We are Social were winners in several categories for their Marmarati campaign. To launch Marmite’s new extra strong product the agency brought together a roomful of bloggers, influencers and journalists as they were being inducted into the secret society of the ‘Marmarati’. This select group of 40 were first sent an email from the secret society, then they received a phone call from a character called William Fotherington-Smythe, and finally were sent a beautifully crafted paper invite to the induction ceremony. At the event the group was told the story of the new product’s creation and introduced to the seven elders of the Marmarati, with Marmite’s CEO playing ‘Lord Marmarati’. They then blind-tasted three iterations of the product and were told that their feedback on flavour, as well as reaction to initial jar designs, would directly affect which version will be launched to the public after Christmas. They were then told about a private Facebook group (set up to create a community around the most passionate fans) and instructed to keep their eyes peeled for further instructions. (source New Media Age)

The full story enfolds in the presentation below.

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In the Websites and Microsites category Aardman Animations (the people behind Wallace and Gromit) won for their Tate Movie project. The Tate Movie Project was “the first of its kind – an animated movie made by and for children across the UK. Showcasing the vivid imaginations of kids, the Tate Movie Project used great artworks to inspire 5-13 year olds nationwide to contribute their ideas to the movie. Children created every aspect of the film, from the hand-drawn characters and plot twists, down to costumes and comic sound effects”.
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The BIMA website does not provide links to any of the cases but if you want to see a list of all the winners click here.

November 17, 2010

Asia Pacific Winners

Last night I attended the Campaign Asia Digital Media Awards gala presentation in Beijing and there were some great winners from agencies across the region. One of the night’s big winners was Colenso BBDO / AIM Proximity of New Zealand who won the platinum award for best overall campaign for Yellow Chocolate. This amazing project for Yellow Pages also won a gold at Cannes and demonstrates a new way of thinking within agencies. These are the same people who brought us the Best Job in the World. Talking to the team afterwards they were telling me how that campaign and this one for Yellow Pages has completely transformed their agency. Now they approach projects in a completely new way compared to more traditional agencies. All the key people have an equal place at the table from the start where they develop the core idea that answers the client’s challenge. Then the campaign is built around the idea using whichever media is right for that audience. Sounds easy but few agencies work this way.

There must be something in the water in New Zealand (literally in this case) as there were other great winners such Tribal DDB with Live Rescue. To demonstrate the huge task the NZ Coastguard has finding vessels lost at sea, they capsized a boat, stranded 4 people in the ocean, and challenged New Zealand to find them, and save them, in a live-rescue event. Real-time ads drove people online to a search plane simulator to the race against the clock to find the missing boaties. GPS on the boat fed its location into the simulator, which also updated according to current weather conditions and the fading light. Volunteers soon realised they were faced with a hopeless situation, a feeling all too familiar to the Coastguard.

Moving a little further north we had a gold winner from Leo Burnett Sydney for best use of social media. Canon Photochains was developed to promote the Canon EOS DSLR camera range. It won a handful of awards at Cannes International Advertising Festival. The campaign used national television, print and online advertising to invite photographers of all skill levels to upload photographs to a chain started by Canon on the World of EOS website. Once online, people could also start their own photochains, or join those created by others.

OgilvyOne/Neo@Ogilvy Singapore won gold in the retail category for their Nike Trackball concept. Their brief was to “create something as unique and original as the new Nike CTR360 football boot that was to hit the shelves”. They created an interactive in-store experience where ball control and product knowledge of the Nike CTR360 was “both seamless and seductive”.

A special mention has to go to Amanda King, president of Tribal DDB Asia-Pacific, who was named Digital Agency Head of the Year.

Check out the full list of winners here.

November 14, 2010

Week (or a month rather) of tweets #20

OK, I have a good excuse for not updating my blog with the best of my recent tweets. I did move to China which to be honest does sound as bad as “the dog ate my homework”. It does give me a lot of tweets to choose from so hopefully this summary will be a good one…

Wow RT @brainpicker: A highly unusual yet utterly inspirational move – #TED awards annual $100K prize to street artist JR http://is.gd/g9hjG

  • Yes, this isn’t very digital but it really is inspired me to see how someone can use his creative skills to say something meaningful.

Clever idea… NYTimes: Ads That Let You Check In at Your Favorite Billboard http://nyti.ms/bIGZLM

  • We are seeing more and more examples of physical and digital coming together whether it’s Facebook or Foursquare appearing on billboards. Ultimately it’s all about one seamless user experience.

Art for the app generation… RT @intersphere: Augmented reality artwork invades the MOMA in NYC

  • Yes they look stupid but it is art after all.

Great article…RT @thisismolotov: Turning Branded Contests Into Branded Content http://bit.ly/9f3vjr

  • Some really great examples in this blog post from Mitch Joel. He says “Social Media does many cool and interesting things when it comes to content, but it’s also an incredible driver for contests. This often forgotten medium is in desperate need of rejuvenation, and all of the moving parts are now available through both online and mobile channels to make it happen”. As someone who started his career doing promotional campaigns I love to see examples of branded contests that really engage people online, via mobile etc.

Game on… RT @GaryPHayes: Urban Gaming – Augmented Reality Style « The Future Digital Life

More Muji magic with a range of iPad apps – check them out – http://bit.ly/a1XrLo via @chloalo

  • When a brand like Muji applies its design philosophy to a range of branded apps for the iPad you can only expect something wonderful. Click here to see the whole range.

Media surfaces: Incidental Media… Fascinating ideas from Dentsu & Berg. http://bit.ly/9xhWUM

  • This is “the first of two video sketches illustrating some of the ideas and principles behind Dentsu London’s communications strategy Making Future Magic”

Cool! RT @edwardboches: The art of social media: Goodby, Silverstein idea for the Dali Museum in St. Petersburghttp://bit.ly/9ZUaKi

  • Some amazing examples of how museums and galleries are harnessing “new media” to attract people to visit more and to deliver a fresh experience. Just love the Hipstamatic Dali concept.

Incredible project – check the making of… RT @nickburcher: Ralph Lauren 4D Projection London, New Bond Streethttp://bit.ly/bO4uMO

  • We are seeing more and more 3D projection mapping projects these days from buildings to cars and shoes. But this making-of video shows how ambitious and complex some of these projects are becoming. Amazing result too.

and just to end with a smile…. or a grimace:

Finally, something more annoying than mime artists 🙂 Watch out for another T-Mobile flash mob http://youtu.be/NB3NPNM4xgo