May 16, 2017

Clicking for gold

The awards season is kicking off again and one of my favourite award festivals has announced the winners for 2017. Let’s look at some of the gold recipients from The One Show…

I’m sure that I have featured this as it won big last year at Cannes. It was probably not eligible for last year’s One Show which is why it’s still picking up gold in 2017. It’s great to see Virtual Reality done differently. No headsets in sight. Just a bunch of excited school children having a collective experience thanks to the power of digital. Created by McCann New York + Framestore for Lockheed Martin, this also won Best of Interactive. It’s always great to hear the stories behind brilliant campaigns so check out this article from 2016 in Adweek.

Education seems to be the trend for award judges, judging by this next gold from Hello Monday for National Geographic. Incredible footage allows anyone to experience life as a bear in Yellowstone park. You can see the case video here. Below is a description of the project from the agency…

“Working with National Geographic’s team of editors, journalists, producers, and researchers, we’ve gathered this incredible footage into an engaging online narrative focused on the distinct paths that each bear roamed. Utilizing the geo-coordinate data captured with every 20-seconds of footage, we’re able to pinpoint the bears to the exact geography of Yellowstone. Combined with expert analysis from researchers Kerry Gunther and Nate Bowers, delivered as intermittent audio captions, we gain a deeper understanding of the bears’ activity as uncovered by the POV footage and their unique characteristics. And, of course, Hello Monday couldn’t resist adding the extra hand-touch with watercolor illustrations and pencil-drawn portraits depicting the beautiful, mysterious life of each bear.”

All the other gold winners went to gaming projects. The first is for TBWA\Chiat Day and their Gatorade Match Point game with Serena Williams. Released just in time for last year’s US Open, this  Snapchat game honoured the amazing legacy of Serena Williams. Titled Serena Match Point, the 8-bit game was available on ESPN’s Snapchat Discover channel, and featured 22 levels — one for each of the record-tying 22 Grand Slams that Williams has won. The game let users play as Williams against a range of different opponents, and featured simple controls. You just needed to tap one of three on-screen tennis balls to serve, and tap left or right to return the opponent’s shots. If you missed three shots in a row, you go back to the beginning of Williams’ career.

You can try playing the game by clicking this link.

Next is a project that uses gaming for a good cause. Sea Hero Quest by Saatchi & Saatchi for client Deutsche Telekom.

The game has been played by over 3 million people and has become largest dementia study in history. Sea Hero Quest, a collaboration between Alzheimer’s Research UK, Deutsche Telekom, game designers Glitchers and scientists, has generated the equivalent of 9,400 years of lab-based research since its launch in May 2016.

Experts hope to use the data to create the world’s first global benchmark for spatial navigation, one of the first abilities affected by dementia, and to develop the game into an early diagnostic test for the disease.

Finally, in these dark times we live in it’s fun to imaging the end of the world as we know it. This project for Ubisoft by BETC Digital Paris does just that.

The full story behind the campaign can be read here. But if you are too lazy to read it all, in summary “this choose-your-own-adventure style online experience, darkly dubbed an “end of society simulator,” plays on our secret desire to learn the answer to the question, “Will I survive the crisis that extinguishes 99 percent of humanity? ‘Collapse’ plunges you directly into the action. It kicks off with a creepy message: “You have been infected with an unknown breed of smallpox. You are patient zero. Because of you, a worldwide pandemic is about to start. Based on real data, discover how long it takes for our world to collapse.”

Fun for all the family.

March 14, 2016

SXSW – OMG or WTF?

ARC

If like me, you’re one of the people wishing you were at SXSW in Austin Texas (and not just for the BBQ), let’s take a look at what is happening this week that is truly innovative or utterly nonsense. There is a fine line between “what if?” and “so what?” that we all have to tread when we’re in the cutting edge game. Without exploration there are no breakthroughs but along the way there are so many ideas that leave you wondering “what were they thinking?” For those of us working in the commercial reality of marketing communication, we desperately want to propose the latest innovations and help brands do things first before anyone else – but often can’t justify it. Clients want to know what the ROI is. Not easy to provide when something has never been done before. It takes a brave client to go where no other brand has gone before without guarantees.

Let’s put aside the practical world for the moment. What interesting things have been happening at SXSW that could become future trends? For me, one of the surprising stars of the show has been Deloitte Digital with ARC (Audience Reactive Composition) that enhances the experience of festival goers through an “exploration of the future at the intersection of light, music and technology”. To me it looks like the interior of the Tardis from Doctor Who which is always a great place to start.

At first glance it could come across as something only Bjork might love but few others would appreciate, but take a step back and there is an interesting exploration around moving away from interacting through screens alone and giving people a more physical, tactile way to experience technology. In an interview with its creators Dave and Gabe, they talk about how “we are very visual as humans, but our muscle memory and tactile intelligence is incredibly powerful. The future of digital technology and interaction should speak to those physical properties”. Definitely an area which could develop into new ways for brands to interact with consumers. Find out more here: http://sxsw.deloitte.com/

japanhouse

One participant at SXSW that intrigues me (and definitely worthy of an OMG) is Japan House. I’ve always had a thing for Japanese innovation and Japan House continues to push the boundaries in strange ways that only the Japanese have a knack for. Just their description alone says it all as they “invite you to re-explore with us the eternal mystery of human nature. What constitutes human nature? What form will the extension of humanity take?” Go along for a taste of tomorrow’s world with robots, AI, new forms of mobility and 3D printed human organs. Find out more http://jpnhouse.com/

Still in the land of the rising sun, Sony is showcasing a lot of new tech with their Future Lab Program. While the name may not be very creative, what they have put together shows how much Sony is still a true innovator. One of the projects is simply known as “N” and is essentially (to quote 9to5google.com) a “neckband-like device that provides a cloud of audio that you can hear without the need for headphones. With no headphones attached to your ears, you can wear the device while running, biking, or driving without needing to worry about safety issues. The device also has motion sensing and GPS location tracking capabilities”. Get the full story here > http://9to5google.com/2016/03/13/sxsw-sonys-future-lab-shows-off-its-n-audio-based-wearable-other-projects/

One brand that is working hard to be seen as more innovative is Gatorade. Ahead of SXSW they launched a challenge called Bolt Breakers where tech companies such as Google and Twitter were invited to imaging how technology could help young, competitive athletes. The results can be seen at SXSW. The full story behind the initiative can be read here on Adweek. Not wanting to be left behind by other sports brands like Nike and Under Armour, Gatorade is really looking to transform itself to be known as a forward-thinking company dedicated to using innovation to help fuel performance.

The SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards is another chance to see what the future might look like. It really covers a broad spectrum of topics that you won’t see at other festivals. From Health, Med & Biotech to 3-DIY (best use of 3D printing tech), New Economy to Audio, Responsive Design to Visual Media and Wearable tech to name just a few. My favorite award is called SCIFI NO LONGER which recognizes achievements that before 2015 were only possible in science fiction. Check out the shortlist now and the winners after March 15 http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/awards/innovation-awards

3057747-slide-s-1-budweiser-goes-to-sxsw

I will end with what I think is a perfect example of a WTF moment at SXW. Budweiser is using the event to launch “Tackle Impossible: a Force for Safer Roads”, a U.S. initiative to “ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of young adults to tackle global road safety and help find innovative solutions to the problem of drinking and driving”. Good one, that’s like Burger King promoting veganism. Wassssuuuuuppppp!??