Cyber Lions Grand Prix winners at Cannes

The Cyber Lions category at the Cannes International Advertising Festival covers a wide range of interactive marketing from websites, microsites, interactive campaigns, online advertising, rich media banners, mobile advertising, interactive tools, email marketing and viral videos.

This year there were three worthy winners who received a Grand Prix within this category.

‘Best Job in the World’ Campaign for Tourism Queensland

best-job-in-the-worldLet’s face it, we’ve all seen the typical tourist ads with beautiful, white sandy beaches, stunning aqua marine life and cliche couples walking off into the  sunset.  Whether it’s inviting us to visit Malta, Turkey, the Greek Islands or the Maldives, the final destination is almost interchangeable as it’s all based on the same consumer insight or creative treatment.

So it’s refreshing to see Tourism Queensland adopt a radically diifferent approach to make their modest marketing budget go that much further.

If you haven’t heard about this campaign yet you clearly love your job too much to even notice! Basically, instead of going down the traditional route, Tourism Queensland decided to place recruitment ads in various global media for a 6 month paid contract on Hamilton Island, describing it as ‘the best job in the world’.

Needless to say it wasn’t long before this campaign went viral.  What a great way to raise awareness of this beautiful destination whilst indirectly communicating the island’s key features. As an aside, I met a proctologist last week which must surely be the worst job in the world!  Given the choice, I think I’d much rather be a beach bum than a bum specialists!

Credit: Campaign created by Nitro

Fiat Eco:Drive campaign

The Fiat Eco:Drive system is an innovative application to help drivers reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions. Fiat drivers essentially have to download and install the Eco Drive Adobe Air application on their computers, sync a USB stick with the app and then plug the stick into the Fiat’s Blue and Me port. After driving somewhere, you can plug the USB stick back into your computer to upload all your driving data, whereupon it’s analysed to give you recommendations on how to improve your driving habits and ultimately your fuel efficiency.

Credit: AKQA London, UK

Warner Brothers ‘Why So Serious’ campaign for Dark Knight

I’ve always been fascinated with Alternative Reality Games ever since McKinney’s ground breaking Audi Heist a few years ago.  The amount of preparation, organisation and planning which goes into these sorts of campaigns  is absolutely mind-boggling and I particularly love the way it blurs the lines between the virtual world and reality.

For the launch of the film Dark Knight, Warner Brothers launched a meticulous ARG campaign to build buzz around the film, engaging 10 million participants in the process. Rather than try to explain it here, your best bet is to watch this video. Pure genius.

6 top marketing applications for Augmented Reality

Mini press ad

Augmented reality (AR) is a fascinating field of computer research which combines the real-world with virtual reality and computer-generated data. This leading edge technology is being increasingly adopted within the interactive marketing arena, so I thought it might help to provide a summary of the different applications I’ve come across to date.

1.  Lead generation

Now that we live firmly in the digital age, you may be forgiven for thinking the traditional print ad just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore!  Take the Mini Cabrio Augmented Reality campaign, for example. As part of the model launch they created a full page print ad which contained simple instructions on how to transform the page into a 3D virtual model of the car.

They placed the ad in three German automotive magazines including Auto, Motor und Sport, Werben & Verkaufen and Autobild.  You can check out the results in the video below or if you want a go yourself you can print out a PDF of the ad. The campaign was created Buzzin Monkey and die agentour GmbH.

2.  Brochure Fulfilment

The following example demonstrates how versatile AR can be as a way of making brochure fulfilment more engaging and interactive. Here, consumers can fully interact with the brochure to change the colour of the car and even review the interior in 3D.  Might make you think twice before churning out yet another 6pp DL fulfilment leaflet!

3.  Buzz generation/WOM

Some times it’s not the actual product itself which is dramatised but rather a conceptual idea designed to create buzz or word of mouth for a particular campaign.  For example, to help promote the latest Star Trek movie, they created this holographic tour around the USS Enterprise, including basic interaction such as firing laser guns or experiencing warp speed. I’m sure any geeky Star Trek fans are simply going to love this.

Samsung have also just launched a spoof online campaign for the Samsung Mini Notebook N310 where they superimposed two ‘morphic’ characters onto some camcorder footage previewing the notebooks at some tradeshow.    This is perhaps the most passive application of AR as there’s no user interaction as such but it still demonstrates how the technology can be applied to dramatise a particular campaign idea.

4.  Event marketing (Product Demonstration)

AR obviously comes into its own when you need to demonstrate a product, particularly if the product is too complex, large or expensive to present in the flesh.  So the sort of industries this may appeal to include automotive, construction, interior design, fashion, luxury hotels and financial services to name but a few.

Infiniti, the premium car brand, for example, created an interactive kiosk last year where passers-by could literally control the angle and perspective of the 3D moving vehicle by adjusting the card in front of the screen.  Ironically, this would have generated far more consumer engagement and buzz than simply showcasing the car.

5.  Point of sale (Product Visualisation)

Some times it’s hard to envisage what a product may end up looking like when it hasn’t yet been assembled.   This was the problem faced by LEGO whose products are obviously composed of tiny individual pieces.

To overcome this, LEGO, in partnership with AR specialists Metaio, installed interactive terminals in key shopping locations so that children could hold the LEGO boxes up to the screen and see a 3D animation of the product inside the box. What a great way to get kids excited about your product.

Lego Digitalbox

iLiving, a furniture manufacturer, has also cottoned on to the fact that they could apply AR technology to help customers visualise how iLiving furniture may look in their own living room.

This simple example from Rayban effectively demonstrates how product visualisation can help to facilitate the buying process for consumers who are shopping online.

6.  Mobile applications or utilities

While the idea behind AR has been around for a while, it is the number of mobile phone apps utilising it that have really pushed the technology into the limelight. Wikitude AR Travel Guide is an application specifically for the Google Android that turns Wikipedia into a location-based service. This means you can point your camera at anything around you, and using GPS to get your whereabouts, the app is able to pick up info about places of interest in your area so you can get clued up. Genius.

WWF have also incorporated AR into mobile phones with this innovative awareness generation campaign.

Summary

The above examples hopefully show the versatility of this technology and how it is starting to be adopted across multiple platforms, whether that’s via print ads, brochures, websites, interactive kiosks or even mobile phones.

The challenge for marketers is not to let AR dictate the idea but rather start with clear marketing objectives, consumer needs and insights, a campaign proposition and a perhaps the seed of a creative idea and see whether AR can help to bring this all to life.  At the end of the day there’s no point incorporating this technology unless it provides a clear, demonstrable benefit for the consumer and addresses your core marketing objectives. However, I hope that by identifying 6 clear applications for brands that this gets the creative juices going!

Finally, I’ll leave you with this interesting example which sadly doesn’t quite sit within any of the above categories but worth sharing anyway.  It shows just how far one can take this technology with a little bit of creativity and inspiration.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Drumming – Augmented Reality“, posted with vodpod

Fiat Punto combines virtual gaming with the real world

Every now and again one comes across an ambitious interactive campaign which has so many technical challenges and potential difficulties that you’d understand if the initial idea never made it off the starting blocks.

So you have to admire this Brazilian campaign created by Agencia Click for Fiat Punto who have ingeniously managed to create a virtual online racing game with a rather unusual twist. Instead of your opponent being another online gamer you are actually competing against a real racing driver on an actual circuit.

Using various data feeds, GPS tracking, on-board cameras and CGI modelling they have managed to integrate the real car into the virtual racing game so that one can effectively test one’s driving skills against the professional driver.

I can’t tell how they organised the online event as the T-racer website is mostly in Portuguese I’m afraid. However, they did manage to maximise publicity for this campaign by creating a life-size simulator and convincing Big Brother to use this for one of the challenges in the show. Not a bad way to generate some extra PR!

Online contestant
online

Simulator on Big Brother
simulator

The professional racing driver
real car 2

The real car
real car 1

The real car as seen by the online contestant
simulator screen

Viewpoint

We’ve all seen racing games before.   But what sets this campaign apart is the way it succeeds in blurring the lines between reality and the virtual world to create a new consumer experience which captures the public’s imagination.

What I also like about this campaign is how it seamlessly combines interactive marketing, digital live events, experiential marketing and PR all rolled into one! Not as easy as it sounds.

It takes agency dedication, commitment, meticulous planning and technical expertise, not to mention a brave client to see something like this through to fruition.  So I was pleased to see it’s won Grand Prix at Wave in recognition for their efforts to go that extra mile.

You can watch the video here if you want to know more although you may need to brush up on your Portuguese first!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Fiat Punto T-Racer“, posted with vodpod

Is this the best widget out there ‘right now’?

sprint_widget1

Sprint, the US wireless telecommunications network, have created an interesting online widget to promote the ‘Now Network’ mobile broadband service.  It works by aggregating a number of interesting statistics and live feeds to communicate what is actually happening around the globe right now.  The stats range from the number of flights currently airborne to the number of post-it notes being manufactured at this moment in time – all brought to life with some entertaining flash animation.  If you’ve got a second (literally) and curious to find out what’s happening right now, click here

The  concept integrates well with the new TV spot which presents various metrics of digital communication at any one time.

Many widgets, in my view,  fall short in delivering a suitable return on investment, requiring a lot of upfront investment with limited shelf-life but I suspect this particular example will gain in popularity as more people find out about it, helping to build awareness for the brand as well as drive valuable traffic to their website.

Unfortunately, the one important statistic which Sprint failed to include is how many people are actually interacting with this widget at this precise moment in time!

Fiestamovements: Innovative buzz campaign

fiestamovement

In advance of the US launch of the new Ford Fiesta in 2010, Ford has already kick started an innovative buzz campaign which draws on an impressive array of social media. The car manufacturer hopes to create significant word of mouth by recruiting a number of socially connected, tech savvy individuals and getting them to trial the car for free over a 6 month period. In return for the loan of the car, free insurance and petrol, they’re encouraged to document their experiences in a variety of social media channels.

Phase 1: Recruitment drive

The recruitment drive to find suitable ambassadors was a masterstroke in interactive marketing in my view. Instead of targeting the blogging community covertly they opened it up and invited the general public to apply.  The application process included submitting a short video clip as to why they should be considered as one of the few Agents of Ford Fiesta.

As many as 4000 people applied, creating significant interest within social media before the main campaign had even started. All the applications can be viewed on  YouTube.  According to the Wall Street Journal, these applications have been viewed online as much as 640,000 times.   This amusing application below generated 37k views but if you think that’s impressive there are reports of an aspiring rap artist Tim Chantarangsu attracting as many as 285,000 views. Respect!

Phase 2: The Campaign – Monthly Missions

As of today, all 100 Agents will be in possession of their new cars where they will be asked to complete monthly missions and record their experiences in the process.  It will be interesting to see what tasks they have been set as the campaign unfolds.

In parallel to this launch, Ford organised a Fiestamovement taxi service today in NYC where people could book a free taxi ride via Twitter. You can follow the buzz created on #fiestamovement.   Whether this was the first mission of the campaign is unclear but it goes to show how Ford has fully embraced the microblogging platform into its marketing mix.

Phase 3: Leveraging Word of Mouth

“It’s all part of a plan to build excitement and spread the word about the arrival of the new Ford Fiesta to the next generation of customers,” Sam De La Garza, Ford’s small car marketing manager, said in a statement.

To this end, Ford have created a campaign microsite at Fiestamovements.com which acts as the Social Media Hub.  Essentially this is the place where all the social media content produced by the Agents over the next 6 months will be  aggregated under one roof, making it easy for people to follow the campaign and their favourite Agents.

To maximise WOM, Ford have clearly chosen their applicants careully not just based on the merits of their video submissions but also because they were considered opinion leaders and digital storytellers. You only have to look at their profiles to see that most of them already maintain a blog or have an established presence in social networks such as Facebook, myspace and Twitter.

Phase 4: User testing

Ford says that not only will the program build hype ahead of the Fiesta’s launch, but it will also provide the automaker with useful consumer feedback prior to the official launch, presumably allowing for detail changes when full production models reach showrooms.  Whether that’s true or just marketing spin we’ll have to wait and see but it neatly completes the loop in what promises to be a pioneering campaign for buzz marketing.

Summary

This campaign is a huge gamble for any brand but especially for a brand such as Ford which is feeling the brunt of the current economic downturn. Whether it succeeds in maintaining positive buzz for the next 12 months up to launch remains to be seen but for sheer bravado and placing such faith in social media,  we salute you.

Another mini triumph

Press ad

Mini‘s latest global campaign for the new Mini Cabrio is a great example of how you can create a powerful campaign by turning a conventional insight completely on its head.

Most  advertising for cabrios tends to resort to the traditional approach of showcasing the car on the open road in glorious sunshine with the roof down.  But not Mini.  They’ve ingeniously recognised that drivers love the open-top driving experience so much that they’ll keep the roof down come rain or shine.  This paves the way for the  ‘Always Open‘ big idea and a humorous creative strategy which takes this insight to the extreme.

You can see more examples from this campaign in the Inspiration Room

Persil famously used a similar approach of turning a conventional insight on its head with their ‘Dirt is good’ campaign.  Some times the best insights are actually the inverse of the status quo – you just have to think of it first!