February 24, 2016

VR – Tomorrow’s World or Yesterday’s News?

Although I’ve been working in “digital” for 20 years now, I still try to maintain a level of cynicism when it comes to the next big thing. It’s that little devil’s advocate sitting on my shoulder that tempers my natural enthusiasm for all things tech. But I’d like to silence him for the moment and look ahead to where VR might go in terms of being a powerful marketing tool. Just think, when Facebook appeared nobody, guessed that it would become the advertising powerhouse it is today. When I was getting “poked” by people in the early days of the platform, I didn’t say to myself “this is going to transform the ad business”. Facebook wants to make VR a social experience, even though slapping a headset on is possibly the most anti-social thing you could do. But I won’t listen to my internal naysayer. As they said in the X-Files… I want to believe. So even though VR is a novelty right now let’s fast forward five years and imagine what it might become.

3038560-inline-i-1-google-volvo

Welcome to 2021 –the age of VR. Just like the early days of the internet, the biggest success stories of VR are porn and gaming. Being able to immersive yourself in the thrill of the moment has become the key selling point for VR. But brands have had to work harder to capture people’s attention in this VR future. Way back in 2015 we had already seen some early attempts at using VR as a marketing tool. Google’s Cardboard VR was used by Volvo to deliver an amazing Virtual Driving Experience.

http://www.volvocars.com/us/about/our-points-of-pride/google-cardboard

Another brand that created some early buzz about VR was Marriott with their Oculus powered teleporter that gave a full sensory travel experience.

http://travel-brilliantly.marriott.com/our-innovations/oculus-get-teleported

Marriott-Hotels-Teleporter

We’ve come a long way since then. Here, in good old 2021, VR has become mainstream. It has helped Facebook become the most valuable company in the world and every home has at least one VR headset. Samsung, Google, Microsoft, Apple along with Facebook are dominating the VR industry. Brands have discovered how to connect with consumers in new ways, delivering compelling experiences that capture the attention, are highly social and personally relevant. OK, enough marketing blurb. What does that mean from an end-user point of view? Many of my favorite brands are offering what has become known as ARX – Alternate Reality Experiences. I get to be hang out with celebrities as if they are right in front of me. My friends are there too, they look real thanks to high definition 3D avatars that are totally lifelike. Yes, these spaces we visit are full of product placement but these are brands I actually like. They are there if I’m interested and can interact with them, but otherwise I can just enjoy the moment, as a member of Beyonce’s band or helping Sherlock solve a crime. This isn’t storytelling – it’s storymaking. I’m amazed how personalized these experiences are. But then again, Artificial Intelligence is an everyday thing in 2021, so if it wasn’t tailored perfectly to me then something would be wrong. I spend hours wearing my VR headset since this reality is much prettier than the “real” world, especially now there are no more trees or wildlife in the city. I do all my shopping in the VR mall and my handy tactile orb gives me the sensation of touching (or even smelling) what I want to buy. It uses microjets of air to project sensations onto my hands so it feels like I’m holding that pair of shoes, those headphones or touching that self-driving car.

If I get bored of being myself I can step inside the head of any of my friends. See and hear what they are experiencing, reliving their (or our) best moments in full 3D video. If they’ve bought something new then I get to try it too, all thanks to the hyper-realistic experiences that VR brings.

——————

Back to reality now. It’s 2016 and VR is still in its infancy. For it to become mainstream and for brands to find it worth the investment it has to do several things:

1 – Be affordable (Samsung Gear VR is being given free with their new S7 phones)

2 – Be worth people’s attention (because there are plenty of other distractions)

3 – Be socially engaging (otherwise it will become a platform for loners and perverts – remember Second Life anyone?)

The geek in me hopes that VR will take off in a big way. After all the investment and excitement it would be a shame if it simply fades away and ends up forgotten in my drawer alongside my Minidisc player.

See you in five years…

 

September 14, 2015

Spike of creativity

Spikes Asia just announced the winners of it’s 2015 awards. It’s part of the group that also runs Cannes Lions and usually we see the Cannes winners dominate Spikes. This year there seems to be a bit more local flavour. Let’s take a look…

The Mobile Grand Prix went to a project from South Korea. Samsung’s “Look at me” campaign by Cheil was designed to show how mobile devices could be used for good, not just sharing food selfies. The project helped autistic children connect with people around them. It also won the PR Grand Prix and several golds.

Australia and New Zealand always perform well at Spikes being two of the strongest APAC countries when it comes to creativity. This Grand Prix for the Promo & Activation category was produced for BMW by DDB Auckland. It’s a simple April Fool’s stunt that made a lot of noise…

A project for India produced by Grey Singapore picked up the Innovation Grand Prix. The Life Saving Dot turned the traditional bindi, that almost every woman in India wears on her forehead, into a life-saving tool for delivering iodine to women in rural areas. A brilliantly simple yet clever idea.

Japan has traditionally been a strong performer at international awards and this year we saw Hakuhodo Kettle Tokyo win an Innovation Gold for another project that aims to help people in need. Working with the University of Tsukuba’s Special Need School they used technology to allow handicapped children to play the piano by just using their eyes…

Check out all the Spikes winners here >

February 6, 2014

Beyond the Superbowl

Everyone talks about the TV spots created especially for the Superbowl and how much they cost. But what about digital? How did these big brands leverage social, mobile and web to capitalize on their big spending on the big day?

According to blogger David Hibbs “Hashtags won as the main CTA with over 60% of the ads using some kind of #hashtag to keep the viewers engaged beyond 30-seconds. This is a major change. Hashtags have now become the “universal” way people can use the second screen and still partake in the conversation. Even though hashtags are most commonly associated with Twitter, brands now have a way to easily connect with their viewers and customers on their social platform of preference…Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. URLs were almost non existent this year with only a handful of companies pointing customers to their homepage or social presence with a URL. While Shazam was big a few years ago, there were only a couple ads that still used this as an opportunity to extend experience”.

Some might say that Budweiser won the digital game with their Puppy spot which they released online days before the game to build the hype. With 43 million views and counting it’s safe to say they made a touchdown. But as Lincoln Bjorkman, Wunderman’s Global CCO said, “so this year’s killer digital strategy is the early release of a great ad on YouTube?”

But perhaps the real winner was Doritos with their $1 million Crash The Superbowl contest for the best Super Bowl commercial. That was the prize for fans of the brand who won the vote for coming up with the best commercial. Agencies were left on the sidelines while Doritos payed for airtime and offered $1 million to the ultimate winners. All entrants covered the casting, writing, and production of the videos themselves.

In the words of blogger Bill Faeth “this was a really smart game plan. In terms of money saved, Doritos won hands down. Still, they’ve done something even smarter than save money. The popular chip company will also earn themselves piles of social proof, and that’s something money can’t buy. When Doritos opened the competition to the general public, they received 5,500 entries. That’s 5,500 people who like the brand enough to put hard work into creating their own commercials. Of course, the $1 million dollar prize helped sweeten the deal, but that doesn’t inspire passion for the brand; it only inspires passion for the prize. Voters, also the general public (and probably Doritos lovers), can tell the difference between those who want to promote the company and those who just want to cash in. If you think this might not be the case, just take a look at some of the finalists”.

Crowdsourcing is something of an old idea but obviously it still works. If the result is content people want to share then everyone wins. Beyond Doritos there was not a lot of innovation around marketing the Superbowl. The one standout example of innovation would be H&M. As AdAge reported, “they aired a 30-second spot during the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII that let viewers with certain Samsung smart TVs use their remote controls to engage with the commercial and buy products from David Beckham’s Bodywear line.

The interactivity didn’t take viewers out of the regular broadcast stream. A small part of the screen presented a pop-up menu while the ad ran on the larger part of the screen. The pop-up menu offered product information, the ability to send that info to another device and the option to buy the product directly. The ad would still be interactive and shoppable for consumers who rewind to it using their DVRs”.

Obviously this technology was limited to a small number of people with the right TV but points the way forward when all TVs are connected.

Apparently the game itself was pretty dull and not all the ads were inspiring either. But there was still enough creative inspiration around this year’s Superbowl to get everyone talking.

Sources: www.responsys.com www.business2community.com adage.com

September 25, 2011

Spikes digital winners

The dust has settled and the advertising folk have left Singapore to be replaced by the Formula 1 fans for a weekend of noise and mayhem. Not much different then.

Let’s take a look at some of the digital campaigns that were awarded at the festival. The Grand Prix went to Colenso BBDO New Zealand for their Doggelgänger project. Their idea was based around human to canine pairing software, designed to connect homeless dogs to their human doubles. This state-of-the-art software analyses your features, and compares them with a nationwide database of real dogs looking for adoption. By partnering with shelters across the country, Doggelgänger has given homeless dogs everywhere the very best chance to set up that vital first meeting in the journey to finding a new home.

Gold went to several projects already featured heavily in previous awards including Uniqlo Lucky Line and Sour/Mirror – both from Japan. See the Cold, also from Japan, was developed by McCann and used people’s tweets about cough, fever, runny or stuffed nose, chills, throat, and headache to build a picture on the website of where the cold is, how it’s moving, and what its symptoms are. Sicknesses can be tracked day and night, symptom by symptom allowing pharmacies to stock the right amount of the right drugs at the right time: before the cold hits. And consumers can buy remedies they’re about to require.

Japan dominated silver too with some brilliant campaigns. Hakuhodo gave us the Samsung Space Balloon Project for the Galaxy SII. It was the world’s first LIVE communication challenge set in space. It’s also the world’s highest media development linked with many SNS sites and USTREAM. They live-streamed the 90 minutes flight of the GALAXY S II headed to space on a meteorological balloon. During the flight, they showed more than 3000 messages and icons of hope and dreams to encourage Japan on the beautiful display of GALAXY S II, live. SBP gathered an USTREAM ASIA record 380,000 unique viewers, 98000 tweets, and in the same month GALAXY S II’s share in Japan reached number one.

One of the few non-Japanese winners came from Soap in Australia. Their brief was to create an online promotion/platform for PAC-MAN which could help build awareness for upcoming products and showcase the power of HTML5 on Microsoft’s newly released IE9. Their “simple and catchy idea” was to let the global PAC-MAN community create & play their own maze to become part of the “World’s Biggest PAC-MAN” game. The ever expanding maze provided endless fun for PAC-MAN fans worldwide. There were 1.5 million visitors in the first 3 weeks, countless amounts of positive press for both clients and one huge hosting bill. All without any media spend.

Back to Japan for another silver winning project. Dentsu were asked by Ezaki Glico to change the image people had of their biscuit products as being cheap and childish. They developed the “smile chocolate factory”, a special production line in the real factory using high technology in biscuit and chocolate processing. People could make original chocolate biscuits by sending their smile via a website. The system analysed the face, generated the portrait sketch and drew it with chocolate on the biscuit. People could see the production line of “smile chocolate factory” in realtime with a webcam.

You can check out all the other winners here along with the best work from all the other categories. With this being an Asia Pacific award you’ll get to see some interesting work that might have been overlooked in other festivals. Until next year…

June 15, 2010

YouTube 3D

You may already have seen this 3D video projection for Samsung that happened recently at the historic Beurs van Berlage buildingin Amsterdam. To promote the brand’s new 3D LED TVs, from June 7th, the projection was integrated into the first game-take-over on YouTube, where a seemingly-standard video of the projection is embedded in a YouTube page that cracks while butterflies start flying out of the projection. A video game ensues, in which you rack up points by clicking on the butterflies, and the new dimension of Samsung 3D takes over the page.

If it is still live you can see it here on YouTube.

April 16, 2009

Viral can be bad for you.

In the past couple of days there have been several viral sensations. Some good and some bad – especially for Domino Pizza who will be in damage control mode for months after two employees posted videos on YouTube where they added their own ingredients to the food. Meanwhile Susan Boyle, a plain-looking woman from Scotland tapped into the emotional void of a nation by singing her heart out on Britain’s Got Talent. At the last count she had over 11 million views of her video. On his blog Giles Rhys Jones talks about how “viral agencies are the new ad agencies”.

His example of the Samsung LED sheep shows that you can capture a lot of attention in a short space of time. Will those viewers go out and buy a Samsung TV? Or will they just click to the next video of some idiots farting on a sandwich? When viral viewing can have a measurable result on sales then we can declare the end of traditional agencies. In the meantime agencies just need to stay on top of the trend but not throw out the baby with the bath water. Mmm, that sounds like another viral video.

Read the blog post from Giles >