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!??

March 19, 2012

SXSW interactive winners

Let’s check out the winners of this year’s SXSW interactive awards. No doubt they all celebrated with a blow-out barbeque (one of the big reasons I’d like to go next year.

In the Activism category the top prize went to Slavery Footprint created by Unit 9. Hopefully the pressure of winning won’t result in them running through the streets of London naked.

In the Music category Tribal DDB Amsterdam with Stink Digital walked away with the trophy for their Obsessed with Sound project featuring the Grammy Award-winning Metropolitan Orchestra. I met up with the Stink team recently and was very impressed with their approach to collaboration.

I like the categories at SXSW. For example – the Amusement category where the prize went to Lego’s Life of George by Bilund in Denmark.

Winner of the Experimental category (and Best of Show) was Take this Lollipop by Tool of North American. The best way to experience it is to login yourself with your Facebook ID. So creepy. They did an amazing job seamlessly integrating Facebook content. If you’ve got kids show them this!

Another big winner for Tool was in the Motion Graphics category with their Interactive Video for Ellie Goulding’s song “Lights”. This creative experiment with WebGL is a wholly immersive, musical journey. It presents a stunning visual interpretation with a techno-celestial light show where viewers can soar through the music, and mouse their way through the virtual environment, while real-time Twitter comments integrate into the visuals. Read the “making of” article here.

Digital campaign of the year went to the Tesco HomePlus subway QR code supermarket that I’ve featured here before. I was in Korea recently and found out that it was actually a total scam entry when it first won at Cannes. It was basically a full-scale mockup. They did run it for real later but it just goes to show that you can lie through your teeth and still win a Grand Prix.

Check out all the SXSW interactive winners here.

March 14, 2012

SXSW – where innovation gets unboxed

For the past few years SXSW has slowly grown in stature to become one of the premier global events for innovative ideas and a launch pad for the next generation dotcom businesses. This year, more than ever it is a magnet for brands, marketers and agency folk looking for the next big thing. Let’s take a look at what’s been going down…

Marvel ReEvolution

The iPad has been a shot in the arm for graphic novels (I won’t say comics) and now we see things going even further as Marvel move into the AR arena. To quote their website, “An industry first, the Marvel ReEvolution seamlessly brings the worlds of print and digital media together for a comics experience like no other. The first two elements of this exciting new initiative were revealed as Marvel Infinite Comics, a new comic book format, and Marvel AR, the first major augmented reality app from a comics company. And fans will not have to wait long to get in on the action as they will both be released with the hotly-anticipated AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 on April 4, when the two biggest super heroe teams in the world go to war!”

In this interview Marvel editor in chief Axel Alonso talks to Forbes’ Tomio Geron about the comic book giant’s announcement at SXSW.

Other major brands have been present at the event including Pepsi, Virgin Mobile, American Express with their exclusive Jay Z concert and Kraft. Each one hoping for a bit of SXSW magic to rub onto them as they meet up with the developers and entrepreneurs creating the next digital revolution. You can read more on AdAge Digital here.

HOMELESS HOTSPOTS

Meanwhile BBH were on the cutting edge of good taste with their Homeless Hotspots. They recruited 13 homeless people and gave them 4G wifi hotspots that people could use for a small donation. The feedback has been mixed but it certainly was a talking point.

BEAMATRON

Of course SXSW continues to be a place for experimentation as this project from Steve Clayton shows. Hrvoje Benko and Andy Wilson presented their Beamatron, an augmented reality concept that combines a projector and Kinect sensor on a pan tilt moving head – of the kind you may find in a nightclub. The setup utilizes KinectFusion to build a 3D model of a space and enables projected graphics to react in physically appropriate ways. For example a virtual car can be driven around the floor of the room bumping into actual obstacles and running over real ramps.

No festival is complete without its own awards so check out the finalists for the SXSW Interactive Awards here. I’ll follow up with a post about the winners.

March 2, 2011

Month of tweets #2

Spring is on its way (supposedly) and it’s that time when I take a look back at some of my favourite tweets of the month.

Feb 1: All in one place… RT @mariegoupry: RT @kevinjosselin[Compilation] 10 Incredible Interactive YouTube Videoshttp://su.pr/1SJp7w

  • This kind of thing is great for internal training (ass kicking) to get people thinking about new ways to use online video.

Feb 8: Beautiful… RT @ScottSeaborn: Creative Review: Mulberry says it with (digital) flowers: http://bit.ly/gZiy2r

  • There were a lot of dull online campaigns for Valentines (like Barbie and Ken) but this one stood out as being something special…

Feb 9: Fascinating article… RT @frogdesign: The Art of Creating Emotional Attachments to Digital Objects http://bit.ly/gRVlk3

Feb 12: When the readers become writers (or the evolution of advertising creative) – great presentation by @edwardboches http://slidesha.re/etrmXn

  • If you don’t follow Edward Boches then you are missing out. He is Chief Innovation Officer (formerly Chief Creative Officer and Chief Social Media Officer) at Mullen. This is just one of his inspiring presentations…
—–
Feb 15: Like it… RT @ericphu: Another nice, simple campaign for KLM
  • KLM are using the viral video from really well to spread their message. After their Surprise video this one continues to show how good their service is (shame it isn’t true:)

Feb 22: PHD birthday ad invites marketers to up their game – on Brand Republic http://bit.ly/gsJJui

  • OK, kids don’t really talk like this but the thought is very powerful. Are we going to be ready for these spoilt brats when they become consumers with their own monthly paychecks to blow?


Feb 22: Google Zeitgeist: Great Minds of Our Time – great post on Brainpicker… http://bit.ly/h3INF3

  • If you are looking for some inspiration check out these videos featuring people like Lee Clow, Alex Bogusky and Salman Rushdie

Feb 28: Sweet… RT @adenhepburn: Here is a great use for AR – Ford C-Max Augmented Reality Billboards http://bit.ly/hlDl5i


and finally:

Feb 28: This boy will go far… well to SXSW at least. RT @brunoclement: The World’s Greatest Opportunity http://slidesha.re/i1vRdO

  • How do you get other people to pay for your trip to an expensive industry conference. You just need a smart idea.
March 31, 2010

Week of Tweets #10

Oops, slipped a little in my weekly updates from the world of Twitter. It does mean that I have a few weeks to pick from so this should be good…

Interesting article – TV + Twitter @time: http://bit.ly/cdrmrW

  • Seems like Twitter is the new water cooler. But rather than “did you see that show” it is “I’m watching this great show, tune in with me and let’s chat in real time”. This effect contributed to the fact that the 2010 Super Bowl was the most watched U.S. TV show ever, surpassing the finale of M*A*S*H. This year’s Olympics far outrated the 2006 Games. The Emmys, Grammys and Golden Globes all increased, and on March 7, about 41 million people watched the Oscars, 5 million more than last year. Read on >

mobilemania

Thanks for sharing! RT @digital_london: Wunderman’s Mobile Mania: A Manual For The Second Internet Revolution: http://bit.ly/aprzBc

If you’ve been around as long as me you would have heard “this is the year of mobile” for about 10 years now. Maybe this time it’s true. This great manual from Wunderman spells out what to expect…

Phew! RT @AdweekDotCom: Old Is the New Young: Adults keep adolescent values – teens maintain a more ‘adult’ outlook. http://bit.ly/cleNap

  • I’ve actually noticed this with my own teenage daughter. She is sooooooo sensible. She really keeps us straight. I hear her say “what is that terrible music you’re listening to” or “please grow up. This article looks into this strange trend.

A 12 year old boy in my daughter’s class just made an iPhone app for the school. I now feel officially old.

  • OK, so the app could be better. But he did something I can’t do. So after being relieved that I’m the “new young” I suddenly feel ancient.

Careful brands, its a jungle out there! RT @simonmainwaring: Nestle’s social media meltdown. Lots to be learned here. http://bit.ly/cSO48S

  • The world of social media can be a minefield. Especially if your product costs the lives of cuddly hairy animals…

Time to change – RT @parsonsdigital: Why Today’s Ad Agencies Won’t Cut It Tomorrow: http://bit.ly/b1oRXX

  • There is so much talk about how the traditional agency is on its way out. I think they are smart enough to move with the times. Maybe they could move faster but they are not the quartet playing on the deck of the Titanic. Ad agency people are first on the boat.

ipad_179145xWill ads on the pad take off? NYTimes: Advertisers Show Interest in iPad http://s.nyt.com/u/Q_m

  • This weekend is the beginning of a new era in hyperbole. World-changing, magical, paradigm-shifting… Advertisers just want to know how to use it to sell more stuff. Let the fun begin.

Inspiring… RT @hellokinsella: Some nice stuff here. 2010 MediaGuardian Innovation Awards winners: http://bit.ly

  • This is the third year of the Megas (MediaGuardian Innovation Awards). These awards “recognise those at the pinnacle of achievement in media innovation. The finalists and winners represent thinkers and doers in UK media who act as a catalyst for change and inspire others with their ideas and actions”. Check out the winners. They are (dare I say it?) mega…

Great video interview. RT @darrylohrt: How Pepsico embraces digital – with @jkarpf & @boughb: http://bit.ly/byrsov

    RT @BBHLabs: Something for Saturday morning – our recap of SXSW, the highlights & themes; a @BBHLabs post – http://bit.ly/a34N0b

    • If you followed anyone on Twitter attending the event you would not have garnered much information. The best I got was from Lars Bastholm who ended up in a BBQ coma. But this article from BBH sums it up nicely.

    RT @BBHLabs: New Forrester report out: Future of Agencies: focus on Ideas, Interaction, Intelligence; @AdAge reviews: http://j.mp/cW1SQZ

    • Agencies should be ashamed if it takes a client to drag them into the 21st century. But that is what is happening. Read on

    I always end on a smile (that sounds a little rude).

    Nice RT @adland: RT @kylevanblerk Augmented reality before there was AR. Flipbook that creates a rainbow in your hand. http://bit.ly/avCoYm

    • Yes, there is more to life than digital.

    rainbow3

    Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

    http://twitter.com/digitaladman