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…

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.

May 31, 2010

Art direction and digital

Following on from my series on the David Ogilvy book “Confession of an Advertising Man”, I should be covering the chapter How to write potent copy. But I am skipping to the one after that while waiting for a copywriter colleague who is helping me put something meaningful together. So we will be covering How to illustrate Advertisements and Posters.

David Ogilvy devoted a whole chapter to creating illustrations/images for advertising. He believed that they “should work as hard to sell the product” as copy and headlines. In the book he states that the subject of the illustration is more important than the technique. That they must “arouse the reader’s curiosity”. He refers to “story appeal” and talks about the eye patch that he put on the star of the Hathaway campaign – one of Ogilvy’s classic success stories.

What would he make of art direction in the digital age? Perhaps he would be horrified by the motion graphics and rule-breaking nature of online communication. Or maybe he would love the instant results of digital campaigns and would forgive their flashy visual nature. Let’s look at what kind of art direction works well today…

The first challenge is how to define digital art direction. With more campaigns using the same visual assets on and offline it is becoming harder to isolate specific examples of pure digital art direction. Then you have multiple disciplines within digital art direction such as interface design, animation, motion graphics and more. Probably the best place to start are the D&AD Awards that champion art direction above the idea behind the piece itself.

In terms of Interface and Navigation there are many projects that forgo the rules of simple usability for a more experimental and experiential approach. One of the 2009 winners was 12 CAMS, CREATE YOUR RAINBOW for the band Radiohead. By integrating video footage and a clever interface they created a way for users to interact extensively with both media. Every user’s action was recorded as a piece of a rainbow. At the end, the resulting rainbow containing everyone’s feelings into one piece of art.

This style of art direction relies heavily on the data-centric nature of the web and uses data visualization as its main design theme. Even the video footage was extremely pixelated that adds to the glitchy nature of Radiohead’s music.

Good design online should make people want to explore. Take this award winning campaign site from Poke London for Orange which brings to life the advertising concept that good things should never end. Many people believe that the best websites should never make people scroll. This one scrolls forever. Along the way you will learn things about the product and be entertained too.

Uniqlo have continued to build an instantly identifiable brand image partly thanks to the work they’ve done online. They have created their own unique language that goes from the style of typography through to the videos that mix seamlessly in their websites. Not only is the design a masterclass in simplicity but the thinking that goes into their digital work really makes them stand apart.

When it comes to graphic design, one big trend in digital is the Apple school of art direction featuring white spaces, highly polished images and (of course) reflective surfaces. Take the Heinz “Talk to the plant” project from Daddy. Every pixel is polished to perfection. The 3D animation of the plants is beautifully rendered. It makes you want to lick the screen.

Another trend is non-design. When design is reduced to a minimum to take down any barriers between people and what they are looking for… it creates a whole new approach to art direction. How more minimalistic can Google’s homepage get? Now they even have navigation hidden on first load then it slowly appears. A great example of non-design is the Modernista website. Or rather a floating navigation that guides you to content about the agency wherever it may be online. There is no actual website. Try selling that to a client.

So unlike David Ogilvy’s book there are no real rules any more when it comes to art direction. But it has to be noticed by the audience and be true to the brand. Designers, you have more freedom than every before. Use it wisely.