Why I like it: For all the undeniable promise of technology, it’s still somewhat unusual to see a high-tech installation that closes the loop so well. Far from being self-obsessed with the technological “wow” factor, this one is based on a real insight in the category (we all default to the same neutral, boring colors) and puts the technology to use to change that behaviour. Of course what is most crucial is that this happens at the store, and so the fun moment is connected with a compelling opportunity to buy. And thus the loop from insight, to action, to sale is closed. Solid!
Why I like it: Very cool. So obvious, and yet someone has to be the first to think of it and actually do it…so good for them! These types of ambient ideas, (where you “borrow” something in the environment and re-purpose it to convey your message in an eye-catching manner,) tend to be quite effective when done right. But rarely have I seen such a perfect fit…the image on second 54 is a priceless home run at conveying “great grip on wet roads”! On the negative side – this idea is so crisp and simple, that to take one and a half minutes is a bit much, when 15 seconds would have sufficed. And while we’re at it, let’s declare a moratorium on the following when it comes to case study videos: a)”Construction shots”, where we show guys with drills erecting the structure; b)”They love it! shots”, where we show by-standers taking a picture with their phone; c) and the part where, after mentioning some initial results, they transition into “but most importantly…”, “and even better…”, “but most of all…” etc. These have become case study clichés that detract from the overall effect.
Why I like it: Loved it. And so simple (yet so hard…) Take a cool, distinctive product feature and design a challenge around it, forcing the product to literally be in the eye of the participant. And then, execute the hell out of it: The suspense, the use of humor, the extremely effective use of music, all building to an exciting and satisfying finale. Something worth watching, worth smiling over, and maybe even worth sharing. All in a good day’s work for Samsung and the folks at Heimat.
Client: XBox Forza Horizon (car racing video game)
Name: “Streets of Toronto”
Category: Ambient/viral video
Why I like it: It’s a super-cool, branded music video. Awesome track, amazing cars, beautiful slow motion visuals, great sound design, fun to watch – what’s not to like? Oh yes, the actual idea was good too: for gamers, the “player 1” and “player 2” device is instantly recognizable as a video game convention and would definitely catch the eye if seen live, on such unusually awesome cars rolling through your city – it’s the type of thing you’d take a picture of on your phone and send it with friends. But more broadly, there are two lessons here: 1) I think this puts to bed any doubt that the “case study video” has become THE means of truly amplifying activations/events/ambient stunts. It’s increasingly unimportant how many people are actually there live, as long as you can get great footage that you can control, optimize, and ultimately serve up to the many more people who will see it online. The bigger that ratio between live/online is, the more successful the overall action (for the 007 stunt that Coke Zero just did, I’d estimate it was 200 people live for 10 million online – not bad!) 2) Until fairly recently (1 year ago) there wasn’t a big awareness of this – only a few agencies understood it and while they scored big with user engagement and awards shows, the others lumbered along believing that activations were limited in scope. Now…everybody gets it, and everybody is scrambling in the same direction. Good for us! Who’s next?
Why I like it: A delightful idea, executed very, very nicely with the right touch of humor and style! Picture the brief – your French Railway client has opened up a high-speed service connecting Lyon to Brussels and they want to raise some awareness and buzz, and don’t have much money. How do we get people in Lyon to “think Brussels”? I won’t spoil it, see for yourself – but I’ll highlight two elements that stand out to me: One is that this idea is so logically linked to the product/service being sold. It makes logical sense…it’s all a metaphor for instant connection to Brussels, and guess what now there’s a train that can do almost the same thing. It’s not only about the execution, but about how the benefit is at the core of the idea. At work last month we’d considered something extremely similar for another client, but ultimately dropped it because we felt it didn’t connect…the execution was popping more than the brand/benefit – and that’s not enough. Two, as I said before with the Sprite video from Ogilvy Sap Paulo, the resulting FILM from the action is actually better than the action itself. It’s a new form of creativity, with actually a much broader audience than the actual stunt! If before most of the energy and talent went behind the original event, leaving some junior producer to handle the “case study video”, nowadays we have to balance it out…if not actually invert the ratio. Agencies and clients that do are leveraging the digital and social media properly, and probably cleaning up at awards/efficacy shows too. Agencies and clients that don’t are probably putting together nice ambient stunts seen by…200 people. Not enough. Tres bien for our Parisian friends on this one!
Why I like it: Ah, yes. this is what happens when an agency doesn’t settle for executing the brief, but goes further. In this case, the flipped things on their head and instead of “bringing the people into the store, they brought the store to the people”. It might seem like a nice stunt, but it was done during Italy’s most important design expo. The people at the expo are exactly the type of influencers that take a small, inexpensive “stunt” like this one and amplify it to make the brand talked about and famous. Great thinking, and superb execution from a small Milan agency which we had previously featured for another (more conventional) ad for IKEA. This one has awards in its future – Bravo!
Why I like it: Technology is best leveraged by bringing a product/brand story to life in a relevant and interesting way. When this happens and you have a perfect mix of story and technological “wow”, it’s a beautiful thing. Now, if you have cool technology but it doesn’t link up the story, it’s a huge waste of time. In this Mercedes stunt, the link is there (the car is “invisible” to the environment because of its low emissions), although frankly it feels a little forced to me. But there is a third corollary: when the technology is so, so awesome and innovative, you can sometimes get away with it because it will generate tons of buzz and attention just on its own, and the brand will benefit in one way or another. This is what is at play here. It’s all so jaw-dropping that you walk away thinking that Mercedes is pretty cool. Not precisely the brief…but not a bad thing either. Overall I give this high marks because of its courage. To go from idea to reality involves a ton of work, and they took a chance and went for it – based on the web traffic that the video is getting, I’d be they got their money’s worth. Cheers to the first German entry in a long while!