January 18, 2015

Cardboard driving

With Oculus Rift being still expensive and better suited for events we will be seeing a lot more uses of Google Cardboard to deliver engaging virtual reality experiences. R/GA and auto brand Volvo recently created a virtual reality experience using this low-cost VR head-set to maximise excitement and interest in the new XC90 before it hit the dealerships. The experience takes users on a virtual test drive through scenic countryside, with different episodes featuring different locations and weather conditions. A limited number of branded Cardboard headsets were given away via the campaign website. Fans also had the option of buying and building their own Google headset. Once assembled, users slide their smartphone into the viewer of the headset before starting the app, which works on both iOS and Android. (via Contagious)

October 8, 2014


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

May 14, 2014

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.

June 25, 2012

Cannes Reinvented

When the Cannes Lions changed their mantra to being a “festival of creativity” it was because of the sea change that digital was stirring where the word “advertising” was quickly becoming rather meaningless. In many ways “digital” is an obsolete word today since it has become the electricity that runs through every aspect of our life. With this year’s Cannes Lions we’ve reached that tipping point when every brand and every agency uses the power of digital to connect consumers with brands – sometimes literally.

As we can see from the Titanium Grand Prix winner for Nike + Fuelband. It goes beyond communication and becomes communion. Between consumers and the brand, with the product and with each other.

Almost every winner in every category has digital running through it. In Branded Content & Entertainment the Grand Prix when to Chipotle with their film using a digital-first strategy, first launching on YouTube with no paid media support. The launch was supported with an earned media plan and the social media assets of Chipotle, Willie Nelson and Coldplay to a collective audience of 21m Facebook fans.

In the Direct category a huge percentage of the Gold winners were digitally-centric including this project for Montblanc. This international campaign conceived for the web and a worldwide audience and target, was designed to build maximum awarness for Montblanc as a watchmaker brand. The simple idea was to ask people to create a 1-second-long video that celebrated the fragile beauty that can be found in this small unit of time. They teamed up with film-director Wim Wenders and challenged people to capture beauty in a 1-second-long video, creating the shortest ever short-film contest. People competed online at montblanc-onesecond.com by uploading their one-second videos of beauty.

It’s the same story in Promo & Activation. Many of the top winners were either infused with digital goodness or relied on digital channels to get their message out there. Mobile is also becoming a great tool for activation and in this project George Patterson Y&R Melbourne has created the first medically diagnosable advertising for the Australian Defence Force.

These are exciting times to be in the “advertising” business. There are so many amazing possibilities right now thanks to the power digital gives us. The biggest challenge is finding the most relevant and meaningful idea. Because at the end of the day that’s what counts. It’s not the technology itself but what you do with it. Digital may have transformed Cannes but big ideas still rule.

June 21, 2012

Cyber Grand Prix – this is the new digital

Another year and another wake up call for the advertising industry. Everything is now digital but not how you think. From the Outdoor Lions to PR and Promo, everything has digital running through it – because that’s how it should be. It reflects the reality of the world we live in. The internet is like air. Who can live without it today? Anyway, the Cyber Lions were announced and we have two worthy winners. Twitter still seems to be on the rise as a great marketing tool (maybe because they don’t have a CEO who is a tool) and this project for Visit Sweden was a risky idea that really paid off. As reported on AdAge, “the Swedish Institute’s “Curators of Sweden” campaign, launched at the end of 2011, handed over Sweden’s national Twitter handle (@Sweden) to Sweden’s natives in order to showcase the diversity of the Swedish national character, in effect, launching “The world’s most democratic Twitter account.” Each week, a new curator was chosen to man the account, including a writer, teacher, priest and lesbian trucker. The campaign sparked recent controversy for featuring an irreverent young mother named Sonja Abrahamsson who expressed anti-Semitic remarks but also inspired (American) comedian Stephen Colbert petitioning to be the first non-Swede to take over the account”.

The other winner is was the work done for Nike and their Fuelband. It takes the Nike + idea to a whole new level. Haven’t found the case video yet but R/GA  developed an “immersive media launch event and participatory art installation around the concept of ‘what fuels New York’. This evolved into a day of high energy missions and cultural activities all over the city, where the influencers were broken into teams and competed to earn the most fuel points. As a launching ground for the missions we created a futuristic departure space with motion-activated interactive light installations and leader boards displaying real-time fuel data. The FUELWALL interactive light installation became the inspiration for a series of responsive LED wall installations that we created in conjunction with Nike+Fuelband launch events”.

June 26, 2011

Apres Cannes – trends for the coming year

As the dust settles and the sun sets on the Cannes Festival of Creativity (significantly this year the word “advertising” has gone) it is worth looking at the Cyber Lion winners to get an idea of some of the trends we might see for the year ahead.

Three grand prix winners this year and they couldn’t be more different. First up is The Wilderness Downtown from Google Creative Lab showing that being creative with code can result in powerful emotions. This is digital marketing as art, helped enormously by the music of Arcade Fire. Could this be the start of a new wave of emotionally driven digital campaigns that are highly personalized?

Secondly the accolades keep coming for Old Spice and the responses campaign by Wieden + Kennedy. Not really a complex digital campaign but one that really capitalized on the popularity of its star. In their own words they “created an interactive experience in which our Old Spice Guy personally responded to fans on the Internet in real time. Instead of using traditional paid media, we leveraged social platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter—ultimately creating an effort that would become one of fastest-growing and most popular interactive campaigns in history”.

After two Grand Prix winners that succeeded through engaging with the audience personal level we have a third winner that shows creativity in how we can turn word of mouth into a powerful currency. As winning agency R/GA explain – “Pay with a Tweet is the first social payment system, where people pay with the value of their social network. We launched Pay With A Tweet with the release of our book “Oh My God What Happened And What Should I Do?”. It’s simple, people who have something to sell simply add the Pay With A Tweet button to their site, and people simply click on the button and tweet about the product. They are then able to download it: a book, album, or whatever. What began as a promotion became a whole new way to trade content online”.

One thing to remark, all three grand prix winners were from the USA while in other Cannes categories we see countries such as China, Korea and Romania taking the top spot. Does this show that in digital only clients (and agencies) in the US are being brave enough to try new things? Budget could also be a factor. Hopefully the examples of these successful US campaigns will inspire other countries to put more money into digital and allow daring creative ideas to see the light of day.

In a follow up post I’ll look at the other winners in Gold, Silver and Bronze to see what other trends are emerging.

May 17, 2011

One Show Interactive 2011

So the winners are in and they are worthy. Here are some of this year’s gold award winners. No doubt we’ll be seeing much more if these projects as the awards season continues…

Google Chrome Fastball

To promote a fast browser to an audience that’s immune to banners and doesn’t even know what a browser is, BBH created Chrome FastBall, a race across the Internet. This first YouTube game of its kind demonstrated how your web experience is faster and easier when using Google Chrome.

Uniqlo Lucky Line

To get people excited about a new store opening Dentsu invented the “Lucky Line” where people could join the queue via Facebook and Twitter to get discounts when the store opened.

VW True Life Costs

To address the misconception that the car brand is expensive DDB UK created a website that provided an engaging, easy to understand analogy of Volkswagen’s impressive ‘whole life costs’ affordability.

IKEA Unbox the banner

As part of the spring campaign for discounted products from IKEA, Grabarz & Partners developed an online promotion that was true to the IKEA philosophy: save money by assembling it yourself. Check it out here.

Nike + GPS App

Five years ago, Nike put a chip in a shoe and changed the sport of running. Today, they’re doing it again. Introducing the Nike+ GPS app: Now, runners can join the world’s largest running club by simply downloading the app, whether laced in Nike shoes or not. Nike+ is in your pocket, ready for a run anytime. Running outdoors, GPS tracks your run—indoors, the accelerometer detects movement. Any friend who “likes” or comments on your Facebook status gives you an audible “cheer” via your headphones. Developed by R/GA of course.

There are lots more gold winners (if you can get the One Show website to scroll – I couldn’t) plus don’t forget to check out the silvers and bronzes too. Lots of inspiring stuff there.

March 11, 2010

Week of Tweets # 9

Another week, another bunch of Tweets cherry picked from the past week or so…

RT @LBiLondon: Digital world’s top thinkers share their visions of the future with the BBC from 8 to 19 March http://www.twurl.co.uk/155/

  • No idea why I wasn’t invited but go check out speakers such as Martha Lane Fox, Steve Ballmer, Eric Schmidt, Jimmy Wales, and others.

Great collection RT @pyesawichjr: RT @RGA: 15 amazing interactive installations: http://bit.ly/9g1fpn

  • Digital is escaping the confines of devices and being used for amazing effect by artists in public spaces.

RT @Adverplanner: Bank Run: iPhone App extends into Interactive Movie – control the outcome through your phone http://ow.ly/1eqvK

  • Interesting project that combines on screen video and an app. A taste of future TV?

Interesting read RT @Razorfish: Digital agencies embrace business reinvention http://bit.ly/9qJHuS

  • Agencies like Razorfish and R/GA are  now able to “move up the ladder with clients while developing a track record for delivering technology to advance businesses. The ideal is a client that invites shops in to craft a plan to take advantage of digital technology to move the business in a new direction”.


Inspiring people. The 2010 Creativity 50 – I’m not on the list and neither are you – but check it out. http://bit.ly/99HnUW

  • Great people, amazing stories – get inspired by Alex Bogusky, James Cameron, David Droga, Michael Lebowitz and more.

Great story RT @wired: 10 Years After: Wired mag takes a look back at the dotcom boom and bust http://bit.ly/d0Y90h

  • It was tough at the time but it had to happen. The web has grown up a lot since.

RT @ChristianHughes: RT @contagiousmag: Google’s Tom Uglow’s presentation from The Future of Advertising event www.bit.ly/22youtubeslides

  • Very inspirational presentation. Below is just one clip you’ll find there.

and finally…

Do the Cannes Cyberlions have their own version of the Razzies? This would win big time – http://www.walk-outs.com