Recently we’ve been seeing some very interesting examples of brand communication based on smart technology ideas. I’ve already mentioned the award winning Fiat Eco:Drive by AKQA in previous postings. In his recent blog post, “10 things to do for digital agencies”, Jerome Courtial suggests that we bring technology out of the technology department. He explains how the Fiat idea came from technologists who found the data and just thought it’d be cool to do something with it. And then got helped by planners and creatives to make it what it is now. Jerome also links to an interesting blog post from earlier this year entitled “creative technologists in brand advertising” where Scott Brinker says that “the elevation of technology talent in the agency world represents a tremendous opportunity for agencies — who need to address the disruptive innovation of online advertising with bold changes — as well as opening new career paths for technical professionals, especially those who blend engineering disciplines with creative and marketing business savvy. Marketing and computer science together in the spotlight”.
Take a look at the Chalkbot that accompanied Lance Armstrong during his recent Tour de France. Again, a group of technology guys come up with a brilliant idea that becomes part of a bigger marketing campaign. It’s a tradition in the Tour De France is for fans to write messages of encouragement on the road in chalk for the riders as they go by. Nike took the innovative idea of the Chalkbot making it possible so that anybody in the world can submit a message and have it written on the road. IAn internet-connected chalk tool that will etch people’s messages that have been submitted via Twitter or the website. Bannerblog describes it as “a great merging of the digital and physical worlds. Or a bridge between the two perhaps. It’s also a great example of how good digital ideas are light enough to travel around social networks, rather than the meat of it being based in a microsite”.
There are other interesting examples too such as the Absolut Machines project by Teenage Engineering. Launched in 2008 this live installation allowed online visitors to control a choir of robots. While this was more artistic than commercial it showed how technology-led creativity can produce something truly memorable. So bring the technology guys out of the basement. They may smell differently and communicate is a strange language but they might just provide the spark for your next big campaign idea.