How much is that Puppy in the windo….err flat screen TV

Pet care brand Pedigree and its partner charity Ampara Animal needed to drive foot traffic to animal shelters as part of the Pedigree Adoption Drive.

The brand partnered with shopping-centre electronics stores to create the Dog Channel, where the generic content displayed on the TV screens in-store was replaced with videos of dogs waiting to be adopted from a nearby shelter.

Alongside the footage was a message to customers that included the dogs’ names and encouraged people to visit the shelter. When the dogs on the screens found new homes, the display changed to indicate a successful adoption.

Why It’s Hot:

-Chimes with the brand’s quest to grow the pet ownership – and by extension the pet care market.

-It merged a digital activation with OOH in a pretty unusual and innovative way

Snickers Puts the “Video” in Video Games

 

Knowing that videos tend to run the risk of being skipped, Snickers developed a way to keep viewers engaged by developing video game videos.

In line with their “You’re not you when you are hungry” campaign platform, the first features a school-bus driver whose hunger has turned him into a WWE wrestler with incessant road rage. In the second, a hungry tennis umpire has transformed into a whining rockstar.

In both scenarios, a series of Snickers bars float across the screen towards the character’s outstretched hand, but the viewers must click the pause button at the correct moment to help the characters grab them.

If they’re successful, the WWE wrestler calms down into a bus driver, and the musician morphs back into an umpire. If not, they’ve got nine more tries to get it right.

Why It’s Hot:

  • Smart and entertaining way to engage viewers when consuming video
  • It’s another example of how platforms, such as YouTube, are flexing to service creative ideas led by agencies
  • Shows the growing trend of choosing to develop platform-digital-specific work rather than “copy and paste” TV commercials, which generally don’t perform as well

 

Gone In 6 Seconds

Australian retailer Myer hosted a flash sale using YouTube’s six-second pre-roll ad slots.

The 6 Second Sale ads feature more than 100 Myer products with discounts greater than those available in store and online by 5%. Viewers have only six seconds (the length of the pre-roll ad) to secure the deal being offered, with those that manage to click on the offer in time are taken to a pre-populated shopping cart on Myer’s site.

The campaign created using Google’s Vogon –  customization tool that lets brands create unlimited variations of the same ad by changing the text, audio or images. The targeting used in the 6 Second Sale ensures no YouTube user will see the same ad twice.

The 6 Second Sale is being promoted through Myer’s website, social channels, catalog and print.

Why It’s Hot

-It merges shopping impulse with a platform experience that times out in a very short amount of time

-Leverages scarcity to heighten the need to buy and drive sales

-Great example of a brand “hacking” a platform to drive a campaign

 

 

From Goggles to Lenses

Google just released Google Lens, and while we are mandated to go into frenzy mode, a closer look makes the unveiling a bit lackluster after all is said and done.
According to Google’s CEO,  “Google Lens is a set of vision-based computing capabilities that can understand what you’re looking at and help you take action based on what you are looking at.”

Sound familiar? It should…

The tech and use cases are not new. Yelp has long been using Monocle, Amazon has already introduced Flow, and Pinterest Lens has been around for a while. Also, this looks more like a Google Goggles 2.0 release. Since people were not ready for that, seems they have modified it to better fit existing behaviors vs. developing new ones.

What sets this apart from the rest is that, with Google being a search-driven platforms, the capabilities of the product are extended. But this may not be a good thing. While Amazon, Yelp, and Pinterest uses are more narrow and specific, resulting in the likelihood of desired results, the vastness of Google increases the chances of the results missing the mark. For example, I point it to a flower expecting to know where to buy it, and instead, it tells me whether it’s poisonous or not.

Now, what makes this unique is how it can integrate with Google Assistant, allowing users to use voice, images, or a combination of both to conduct searches. This also allows it to live across multiple Google platforms, which makes the adoption of the tech more likely.

This is where it gets interesting for advertisers. If this takes off, this gives us an entire new way to connect with consumers across all of Google’s products, and will probably force us to rethink the customer journey. While unknown, it’s exciting given new uncharted “media frontiers” don’t come about that often. From a data collection standpoint, it can also give us new (and hopefully) better way determine use intent.

Why It’s Hot

  • It’s surprising to see a tech giant unveil something so “meh”.
  • On the bright side it’s an opportunity for our brands to begin testing a new tech with a solid potential of adoption.
  • It’s a good example of a tech company pivoting to better suit existing behaviors vs. developing new ones.

Source.

Slow down baby, this is too fast…

Arteris, a road operator from Brazil released Speed-O-Track, an app that encourages drivers to obey the speed limit by messing up their music.

When a driver breaks the speed limit, the app increases the tempo of the music being played on Spotify. It does this by connecting to Google Maps data to identify the speed limit and distorts accordingly.

 

Granted, the benefits of this largely depend on people downloading the app. To encourage this, Arteris has offered a free month’s subscription to Spotify to the first 500 people who download the app.

Why It’s Hot

  • It’s an example of a brand developing tech that fits nicely with their business objectives while solving a problem for their customers
  • It came up with a nice solve to encourage adaption
  • Instead of building tech from scratch, it layered on to existing platforms, once again demonstrating we don’t have reinvent the wheel to develop something groundbreaking.

Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/fast-tracking

We Have 99 Problems, And Earth Ain’t One

Climate change has been at a fever pitch for, well, ever. Seems like every time we make a little bit of process, we take a few leaps back. While there are many reason for this I believe one of the main ones is how the problem has been framed and so does Drew Train.

In his article, he claims that how we are positioning this crisis to the public is boring and far too distant to really get people to mobilize and push for action. And it’s also kind of wrong….

Truth is earth has been here long before we got here and will still be here long after we are gone. The earth is not in danger of extinction. WE ARE. PEOPLE. The conversation shouldn’t be about saving Mother Earth, it should be about saving US.

(1:26)

As advertisers, we have the responsibility to take matters into our own hands by helping reposition the problem and find synergies within our lines of business to contribute to the cause. As a digital agency, this gets facilitated by the mere fact that technology is at the heart of a lot of the solutions to our climate crisis.

Why It’s Hot

-It’s not hot as much as it is important

-It’s a good example of how a strategic shift can solve an ongoing problem

-There are a million problems within this sector for brands to solve, we just have to look

Life in the hands of VR

Let’s keep it real. VR has us industry folks in a tizzy. All the press, Silicon Valley support, growing client interest ladders up to this being the shiny new toy. It makes sense for us to default to VR use cases that are marketing-driven. After all, the VR world is ripe for the taking because there is so much uncharted territory, almost anywhere we land will be new news. We are all VR-Marco-Polos in waiting.

Yet, there IS life outside the walls of advertising and VR is being adopted quickly and seriously. A few of the industries that have taken notice are those that tend to have high levels of risk, especially when it comes to human life.

Court: Jury members can now see a crime scene in 3D, helping jurors visualize how people and objects, such as bullets, move through space. The use of VR to recreate crime scenes and better inspect evidence has made it easier for people understand the details of a case, and in turn, has a direct impact on decision made regarding whether a suspect was guilty or not.

Military: The U.S. military often uses virtual-reality simulators to train soldiers before they are deployed with non-commercial versions of games like Virtual Battlespace 2 and Unity 3D. These simulations allow teams to practice working together in realistically replicated environments but more importantly, the immersive experience helps them better understand and retain the lessons.

Why It’s Hot

– We tend to see VR through these eyes of childlike wonder, but it’s actually a pretty badass serious technology.

-Elevates VR far beyond the “brand experience” we have gotten used to hearing about, and into a real world with serious consequences.

– It’s important to take notice of what our technologies are doing outside of our sphere not only for education but for inspiration.

-Some of the uses may not be marketable but can be very pertinent to our clients (e.g. The Army, Cigna). Those are opportunities for us to get involved in the development and implementation.

Money DOES Talk!

When we think of digital businesses and how they should market themselves, the obvious channels to promote them are, well, digital. It’s rare to see them break the mold and, moreover, do it successfully. But it happens!

The charitable app, Entourage,  which gives people a platform to organize efforts to help the homeless, wanted to promote itself and its cause. Instead of following the digital-path well traveled, it opted to use the oldest and most viral medium. Money.

€5 Bills were stamped with the name of the app and homeless people were asked to add their own hand-written notes on the bills. The messages were meant to humanize the homeless community while creating a viral effect for the app. Since the money remained in rotation indefinitely, it will continue to exchange hands and pass on the message.

Why It’s Hot:

-Campaign promotes a digital platform through one of the oldest “viral” objects in human history

-Turned an object that we all use and exchange with each other on a daily basis into a free media channel

-This goes to show “limited budgets” are no excuse for not developing groundbreaking work

Billboards, meet VR…you’re new Daddy

A Peruvian highway is prime ad space during the summer months, which forces advertisers to battle it out in efforts to capture the attention of thousands of beachgoers.

But Sodimac, a home improvement brand, set out to capture their imaginations instead by skipping the billboard approach altogether. They did so by creating a 360-degree virtual reality experience along the highway where brand representatives gave out 40,000 Google Cardboard headsets to car passengers. With their VR headsets on, passengers experienced giant-sized virtual Sodimac summer products along the road, making their road trip seem more like a Disneyland Ride, than a car drive. More importantly, they completely ignored all other billboards.

  • We don’t hear a lot about Billboard clutter and we hardly see smart digital ideas that solve for that, which this beautifully does
  • Brought VR to life in a very unexpected space and on a massive scale
  • Tech approach delivered on their brand proposition: They are experts in transforming spaces
  • VR experience was innovative, but also added value to consumers by making their drive more exciting

“Run for your life, the robots are coming”

Image result for bicentennial man

Boston Dynamics’ next generation robot, Atlas, feels almost too human, even with his clunky walk and lack of facial features. This anthropomorphic adaptation to tech has many functional implications in the workforce, as well as being an impressive feat of engineering. However, an unexpected “side effect” becomes apparent towards the end of this demo when Atlas is being knocked off balance to showcase his superior build…it actually elicits empathetic emotions from the human viewer. It feels as if he is being bullied.

This caught us off-guard – although robots are increasingly common in our daily lives, and we are even used to technologies having their own personalities (ala Siri sassy retorts), sympathy for a robot was a visceral response that was totally unexpected. The feeling was driven by instinct rather than logic.

As strategists, we know how powerful these emotions can be, and in fact, it is our job to tap into them, making us believe robots like Atlas can never replace us. Yet, a recent AdAge article makes us question the safety of our jobs in this robot-filled-future.

The author has no doubts that robotics of some kind will play a role in all jobs, one way or another, sooner than later. In this article, he suggests that the last jobs to go will be those with a “unique combination of human intuition, reasoning, empathy, and emotion”, but in spite of this, advertisers are not on the list. Coke’s recent efforts further validate his conclusion.

As of today, we don’t know what the future of our industry will look like, but we do know this: It is our job to stay ahead of all innovations and technologies and to learn everything we can about how our jobs will evolve to include our new robotic co-workers.

WHY IT’S HOT

  • The anthropomorphic applications to robotics serve a much higher purpose that just functionality – these techniques are being applied to help us embrace them (figuratively and literally)
  • Technology is evolving to a place where it is not only poised to replace humans in the workplace but is also driving us to discover a new connection to robotic objects on a mass scale
  • The future of man and machine will likely depend on being able to co-exist, which begs the question – How we can we as advertisers get ahead of the game and prepare for this type of collaboration?

Liz Medina & Rachel Schneer

 

As if though we need one more excuse to drink…

While the world collapses around us here in the States, New Zealanders are kicking back, enjoying life, and catching some surf. Right? Wrong. They are dealing with their own set of problems too. A sand drought (gasp!). Apparently, those pesky grains you keep finding in random body parts days after going to the beach are used in everything from construction to pharmaceuticals (weird). The demand is such that two-thirds of the world’s beaches are retreating.

DB Export, a Kiwi Brewery, took note of this, and the fact that one-fourth of beer bottles never make it to recycling centers and instead end up in landfills. The result? They rolled up their social-responsibility-sleeves and said “We got this”.  The brand developed a fleet of Beer Bottle Sand Machines that lets drinkers instantly turn their beer bottles into 200 grams of sand substitute in just 5 seconds, which will later be donated to one of New Zealand’s biggest producers of bagged concrete.

And how valuable is doing something good, if no one sees it, right? Which is why drinkers can also document and share the footage of their environmentally-friendly activity thanks to an in-built web camera.

It’s rare when a brand can triangulate efforts that solve an environmental challenge by increasing their product’s consumption. It’s even rarer to have it be done through such an out-of-the-box-use of tech.

Now, if we could only develop tech that puts Donald Trump to sleep for an hour for every beer bottle that is drunk…Something to work towards, People!

Why It’s Hot

  • It’s SO smart to line up brand engagement and consumption with a noteworthy social cause
  • DB Export was able to connect seemingly unrelated topics (sand drought and beers) to solve a brand and a social challenge
  • Activation enables consumers to feel good, and do good, just by drinking a cold one

 

 

The Magic Touch

Because touching isn’t exciting enough already, now Panasonic has unveiled a prototype that transmits data via skin contact. When wearing a transmitter, data is sent through a radio field that is transmitted through human skin. The technology is safe, as the currents flow on the surface of the body, not on the inside.

Currently, the tech can do simple things like change the color light of a lamp, but it can potentially have more practical uses like exchanging business information (the business cards of the future!) with a handshake or open locked doors by touching the door handle. The use cases are pretty infinite – Think, paying for your seamless order, providing medical history, starting your car, IDing yourself to an officer when you get pulled over, changing the thermostat temperature, all with a touch. Magic.

It does raise the question of how easily this can make it to steal personal data, but that’s for another post.

As of now, the technology is too big for practical use, but Panasonic is able to make the device as small as needed if there is demand for the system.

Why It’s Hot:

  • It turns the entire human body into wearable tech hardware
  • It’s the ultimate seamless digital experience
  • Makes it wonderfully easy to exchange numbers with people at bars

Gravity Can’t Bring Love Down

UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive—or BAMPFA—wanted to give their new exhibition titled “Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia” a little bump.

But Goodby Silverstein & Partners, their agency, does not know how to give “bumps”. Instead, they shot this out of a bloody cannon by developing a geolocation-based augmented-reality mobile app that lets people pepper the virtual space over the Bay Area with digital balloon hearts containing hippy-like messages such as, “Love Is in the Air” or “Free sex”. Okay, okay, to be transparent, I TRIED to upload this last message but the app wouldn’t let me. Apparently, you have to be in the Bay Area. Bummer.

 

Anyway, think of it as a Pokémon, except instead of catching the little trolls, you are making and popping virtual hearts that release lovey-dovey messages.

In addition to allowing you to spread the virtual love, the app also plays ’60s and ’70s songs like John Lennon’s “Imagine” and features a virtual tour of Bay Area locations significant to the hippie movement’s artistic and political history.

Why It’s Hot:

  • NAILS a very unique and cool use of AR
  • Provides a gamified AR experience ala Pokémon
  • App is fun and practical – i.e. virtual tours tied to the thematic of the exhibition
  • Subtly hints at a larger cultural sentiment of acceptance and hippy rebellion

Do As I Do, Not As I Say

Booking.com encouraged its 14,000 global employees to go out and document their carpe diem travel moments. After a years’ worth of documented travel across the globe, their footage was compiled into a video that places their adventurous employees at center stage and showcases their adventures in a manner that inspires wanderlust in all of us.

While this may seem like just another piece of content, it really goes the extra mile for Booking.com as it positions the brand and its staff as travel experts who drink the Kool-Aid they sell.

Why It’s Hot:

  • Adds a human touch to a purely online business, where lack of human interaction makes transactions with the brand feel utilitarian.
  • Makes viewers feel the feels in an authentic manner that inspires people to want to get lost in the world.
  • Strategy is anchored on the insight that people are more likely to trust employee recommendations based on their own experiences with a brand/product.

Crunch Responsibly

Tostitos partnered with Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving to develop a limited-edition bag that acts as a breathalyser. When alcohol is detected, red LEDs on the packet light up with the message ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’. To further help the unfortunate, or fortunate 😉 , drunkard the bag is NFC enabled so they can order an Uber by just tapping the bag.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w26ymG7xYU

Why It’s Hot:

  • Breaks through the Super Bowl advertising clutter by leveraging tech in an innovative way
  • It’s not technology for the sake of technology – it addresses a consumer need
  • Execution reinforces Tostitos’ “Party Bag” positioning within a very relevant consumption moment