April fool campaigns you may have missed

This is a bit after the horse has  bolted (or should i say finished the Grand National) but here’s a few gems of April Foolery you may have missed:

LYNX ZERO

As a parody to Coke Zero, here at TMW we came up with this great campaign for Lynx (even though i can’t take any credit for it!)

Lynx Zero is a new range of sprays, shower gels and hair products for men in relationships. The range is understood to contain absolutely no ‘Lynx Effect’ – the brand’s infamous ingredient that has made guys irresistible to the opposite sex for years. The new range claims to boast all of the Lynx flavour but just have less effect on the opposite sex. So lads in relationships – or even single lads who simply want a day off – can still look good, smell good and feel good… without getting in trouble.

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lynx-zero-paper

lynx-zero-site

DUREX BANGS

TMW also developed this nice idea for Durex Facebook.What better way to stop the sound from overly-amorous neighbours than a pair of sex-noise cancelling headphones.

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BMW P.R.A.M.

Just to show I’m not completely biased here’s a non TMW example! BMW UK who ran an ad campaign for the P.R.A.M. (Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile) to link in with the imminent royal birth. The ad featured in the Daily Telegraph, on the BMW UK website (now removed) and the BMW UK Facebook page.

bmw-pram-ad

If you want to see April Fool campaigns from earlier years, click here (2009) or here (2012)

And you thought Philips Carousel was impressive…

I really enjoyed Philips Carousel when it came out 12 months ago and felt it thoroughly deserved all the accolades, not just because of its inventive cinematography but also because it showed just how powerful online video can be as a brand building and buzz generation exercise when executed well.

So like the rest of us, I was looking forward to the next iteration of this campaign and pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed!  Instead of approaching one director, Philips have teamed up with five directors from Ridley Scott Associates and challenged them to create a cutting-edge short film in any genre they liked.  The one stipulation they had to follow was that they all had to use exactly the same script!  It’s quite an ingenious way to articulate the core proposition that there may be numerous ways to tell a story but only one way to actually watch them – on a Philips TV.

For your viewing pleasure I have included all five films below or you can view them in HD in the Parallel Lines microsite here.  Enjoy.

One of the things I particularly like about this campaign is the way they’ve seamlessly integrated multilple disciplines and digital platforms to maximise the social capital of the campaign.   Each platform within the mix fulfils a very specific role to the overall campaign whether that’s to build anticipation or hype around the launch event, encourage consumer participation and collaboration or facilitate the conversation in social media to extend the overall life of the campaign.   I’ll attempt to explain each role in turn from what I’ve gleaned so far.

Building anticipation through blogger outreach

So to build anticipation for the launch, Philips have undertaken a blogger outreach campaign where they’ve sent out intriguing boxes to influential film bloggers.  Inside each box was a note from RSA Films founder Ridley Scott inviting them to work out what the script is and attend the premiere screening.

Hosting the event on YouTube

To celebrate the premiere on 8th April, the homepage of YouTube featured the first ever media player in cinematic 21:9 format featuring scenes from the ‘Parallel Lines’ trailer.  From here consumers could access the dedicated Philips Cinema YouTube channel where the films can be watched on Philips unique ‘Ambiplayer’.

Encouraging participation through crowdsourcing

This year, they’ve also introduced an interesting crowdsourcing element to the campaign where consumers are invited to submit their own short film via their own branded contest channel on YouTube.  I think this is a very clever idea.   No doubt most submissions will be complete dross but I’m sure we’ll see some very intriguing and original interpretations from budding film directors, keen to get the exposure in front of their peers and Sir Ridley Scott!

Extending the life of the campaign through Facebook.

Finally, Philips have also created a dedicated Facebook page to support the campaign which is proactively moderated to produce lively debate and keep the conversation going.  It’s  already attracted a captive audience of 50,000 fans and shows promising signs that it will capture the buzz and generate further excitement around the campaign, not to mention a healthy pool of potential new prospects.

Credits: The Parallel Lines project was developed at DDB London. Digital agency was Tribal DDB Amsterdam.  PR Agency was One Vision.

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

Philips Carousel stops everything in its tracks

[UPDATED: This film advertisement received a Grand Prix at the Cannes International Advertising Festival 2009 (Film Lions category)]

Philips have launched an impressive interactive campaign to promote the latest product launch in the television market – the CINEMA 21:9.

Considering this product is designed to appeal to movie aficianados it makes perfect sense to create a short film and seed this on video sharing sites to create buzz. But you really have to watch the film to see how they’ve taken this to the next level.


Created by Tribal DDB, Stink Digital and Director Adam Berg.

As well as seeding this short film, Philips have created a Carousel trailer in the form of rich media takeover banners to drive traffic to the site.

The website is worth checking out too. As you can imagine, the epic film plays a central role where they’ve tried to simulate the cinematic experience online but there are some other additional touches which are worth noting.

The preloader doubles up as a credit sequence to continue the movie theme. They’ve also integrated some neat interactive video hotspots embedded in the film so that the viewer can stop the film in its tracks and be transported to a behind-the-scenes narrative from the director and special effects team.

All very impressive. Now where did I put that popcorn?

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Credits: Campaign created by Tribal DDB Amsterdam and Stink Digital.

What do all these successful viral videos have in common?

There are some fabulous viral videos which are gaining traction at the moment.  Samsung’s extreme shepherding creating unusual light displays; Honda’s Let It Shine campaign where they use multiple car headlights as a canvas to create wonderful moving imagery; and last but not least, there’s the Cadbury’s viral campaign which has raised more than a few eyebrows!

So what do all these have in common?  By and large, we know that viral video only gets disseminated on a mass scale if it’s entertaining. If it’s merely informative rather than entertaining, consumers may view the content but are less inclined to share.

So what makes something entertaining and therefore more viral?

Humour and originality obviously play a key part but those are not the only ingredients. What the above campaigns all have in common is integrity and authenticity.

The LED sheep and the Honda lights would have been a lot easier to produce in CGI but it’s the passion of the creatives to retain the integrity of the original idea in spite of the obvious challenges which makes these so entertaining.  Even the Cadbury’s eyebrows campaign has a simple realism to it. They could have easily diluted the idea by casting young professional actors and placed them in an overstylised environment but the fact that this is just a couple of kids in a make-shift studio almost certainly adds to the charm and has sparked a whole flux of imitation videos on YouTube to add to the overall buzz.

This approach is nothing new. The Honda Cogs campaign and Bravia’s ‘bouncing balls’ campaigns all adhere to the same principles of authenticity.  Whilst this kind of approach is not the only recipe for viral success it does seem to be a dominant factor behind an increasing number of successful viral videos.  Long may it continue.