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Contagious Extracts_issue_27 Wildfire Social Media vs TV Skittles Case Study

Contagious Extracts_issue_27 Wildfire Social Media vs TV Skittles Case Study

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Published by: Lars Samuelsen on Jun 19, 2011
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do Try before you buy.06 18 20 22 24 28 36 40 48 60 66 78 86 92 96 98 NEWS / QUARTERLY ROUND-UP TV’S TWO-SCREEN FUTURE Heineken’s Star Player app An oficer and a pirate / By Ben Malbon Turning intelligence into magc Contagous brand ideas from around the world OPINION / THE CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER INTERVIEW / SIR JOHN HEGARTY WILDFIRE DEBATE / TV VS. Simon Mainwaring Stories plucked from the pop culture ether CANNES LIONS / PREDICTIONS SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED CASE STUDY / HTC HOT TOPIC / PROJECTS NOT CAMPAIGNS CASE STUDY / SKITTLES COMPANY FOCUS / GOOGLE CREATIVE LAB RETAIL DESIGN TRENDS PROPHET Think. SOCIAL MEDIA WILDFIRE Grant McCracken vs. evolved / By Mandy Saven An age of exposure / By Faraaz Marghoob Two nights in Siberia Future talent Salute the rainbow Ideas born to live. not built to die Voice of the people Little brands. big thinkers Contenders for the mos precious of metals THE MARTIN LINDSTROM COLUMN UPSTARTS . make.

(80% of American CEOs think their produc is diferentiated. like oil. In cluttered categories where brands sruggle to sand out.’) The universal power of sories came through loud and clear. but only 8% of their cusomers agre. For those brands propelled by Pareto’s 80/20 rule (80% of revenue is generated . This means that the future is a team sport. co-founder of New York’s co:collecive. acion and participation become more efecive than tradiional persuasion techniques. Some central themes emerged. he suggesed.and that. Nick Broomfield. Speaker Ty Montague. cusomer data neds to be refined in order to be efecive. CRM specialis and partner at UK’s the Cusomer Framework. drew gasps when he sated that there were two million brands in the world in 1997 and EIGHT million now. recommendations will drive performance better than communications. be execution agnosic and get used to creating content that lives in perpetual beta. Agencies will have to: collaborate more. learn to make more suff. Montague quoted Muriel Rukeyser (‘the universe is made of sories. not atoms’) to show why the brands wih the bes tales and cultures (both internal and external) always win. believes that ‘Data is the new oil’. 150 of that country’s fines advertising brains gathered in Ontario’s bucolic Blue Mountain resort to debate how bes to reenginer and recalibrate the marketing indusry. (‘People are now the only medium that matters. One was that mos businesses are not built for today’s networked world (apparently 75% of CMOs plan to reorganise in 2011).) This means that as social media and relationship marketing blossom.editorial / spread the word / Ediorial / In May I chaired the annual FutureFlash conference that Contagious curates on behalf of Canada’s Insitute of Communication Agencies.

e. In an always-on world. founder of Percolate. in a conference devoted to ‘Rebirth & Reinvention’. His advice to brands is to be generous and prolific wih content: ‘Behave like Velcro – put out lots of litle hooks to increase the chance of sickiness. advertising inventory) versus the transient (the ebb of social media chatter). Noah Brier.’ This is adman as options trader — placing lots of small bets and scaling up those that pay of.’ / Paul Kemp-Robertson / Ediorial Direcor / . talked about ‘Stock & Flow’: The durable (i. brands can’t jus ‘launch and leave’. he says. not built to die (sealed media plans). apparently wants a ‘one to one relationship wih seven billion people’. it was a line from that 20th century sage Bob Dylan that bes captured the audience’s appetie for innovation: ‘He not busy being born is busy dying. This is why Bob McDonald.’ Broomfield’s advice is to follow the Obama elecion principle: Identify your advocates and influencers and then put them to work on your brand – involve them in publicfacing decisions and they will fel valued. TBWA’s David Le talked about the shift to projecs rather than campaigns. Tongue planted firmly in chek. CMO of P&G.0 is more about conversations – lisening then responding as opposed to acing and then measuring. Agencies ned to create ideas that are born to live (social). Brands therefore ned to ac as publishers. he says. Human ediors are the heroes in this new world. Ironically.contagious 04 / 05 by 20% of cusomers) the future means that transacions will be motivated by interacions: ‘CRM 2. He thinks agencies should be judged by outcomes not outputs. to contextualise the world wih their content and opinions. Goodby Silversein’s Gareth Kay claimed that ‘srategiss are the new Don Drapers’.

The app then cross-references the data with locations of electric vehicle (EV) charging points in and around cities. www. helping to pinpoint more detail about when. redeemable at major retailers like target and cvs. The audio fingerprinting technology that IntoNow uses will then recognise the ad’s soundtrack and download a voucher to the user’s phone. before calculating whether an EV would suit them. www. IntoNow informs the brand whether the ad is being watched live or time-shifted. created the Expedition Week website. And Expedition Week-inspired characters. New York. A camera attached to a robotic model train transported viewers inside miniature sets such as Victorian London. Stockholm on a new service called ringback tones. in West Reading. com/expedition could navigate their way through the set. neatly coincided with the unveiling of the manufacturer's first electric vehicle. During their journey. which launched in January.com/special/pepsi/u -------------------------------------------comviq / ringback tones ringtones receive a musical upgrade onLine / M&Ms / Go nuts. Players hit the Danish M&Ms site. such as a Roman gladiator. M&Ms took over the internet in Denmark with a smart bit of programming courtesy of BBDo in Copenhagen. where people can compare their driving data-set to national averages. drag a spaceship bookmarklet into the browser bar. Similar to UniQLo’s Lucky switch effort from 2010 – which turned webpages into clickable brand tabs offering in-store coupons – the space heroes game transforms any site into an interactive game of Asteroids. and ‘check in’ during the Pepsi Max commercial airing in the US. where and for whom the ad is most effective. national Geographic channel launched Mission expedition.m-ms. and how many times they stop and start. Comviq partnered with popular Swedish artist veronica Maggio. To launch the service. For up to a minute.comviq. contagious 12 / 13 pepsi Max / watch tv for a Free pepsi pepsi has partnered with social TV app intonow to offer a free 20oz bottle for TV watchers. The tie-up is the first branded initiative for the nascent app. www. if they turned out to be one of the artefacts of the day. Pennsylvania. Using GPS. The launch of BMW EVolve through Kirshenbaum Bond senecal + partners.bmwactivatethefuture. allows mobile phone owners to select the ringtone music that their callers hear when they make a phone call. Mission Expedition was created by Pittsburgh-based interactive firm Deeplocal.natgeotv.com/expedition -------------------------------------------- . an interactive experience running daily from 28 March – 9 April. they could photograph artefacts which they could win. These can be shown off by connecting to the accompanying website. Viewers download the app. www. The service. As well as capturing demographic information about the user. their destination.dk/spaceheroes -------------------------------------------national Geographic / Mission expedition navigate a model adventure Swedish mobile operator comviq partnered with Universal Music and Forsman & Bodenfors.intonow.natgeotv. each participant who logged onto www. whose new single was made exclusively available via Ringback Tones. it amasses location-based data on people's driving habits – including how far they travel. interacted via tweets. then click to start play. www.se -------------------------------------------BMw / evolve app BMw’s new evolve app is designed for use during every car journey. while interactive design boutique neopangea. the user’s network is alerted to the deal. in April. to which 56% of callers signed up. Activee. peanuts cheeky bookmarklets invade websites In April.com To celebrate expedition week. Thanks to its social nature. Drivers can also collect different badges for driving in environmentally friendly ways.

IKEA's ad agency. Then it gave out modified Wii controllers. Users could navigate the 40. erected screens featuring giant T-shirts across the country. effectively giving Amazon a retail version of Facebook Like.com/wishlist oUtDoor Ariel / stain Zapping wii Game Giant-sized stain removal Microsoft has delighted 1980s nostalgics with the world's Biggest pac-Man. designed to look like bottles of tomato sauce.ikea. worked to improve road safety with an outdoor projection called transparent walls. Live video was projected from one side of a building onto the other. Once shoppers have downloaded the extension.cn -------------------------------------------Mercedes-Benz / transparent walls Mercedes-Benz. www.com. Over 2. How does it work? When shoppers see something they like. the online retail giant is able to gather vast swathes of new data about their customers' shopping habits from all across the web. pill&pillow Hong Kong.se to give people a sneak peek at the store and win prizes. Sweden. a map comprising thousands of user-generated Pac-Man levels. Those with the condiments waved their bottles to create huge stains that were projected onto the T-shirts.com. partnered Google Street View rival hitta. through saatchi & saatchi china in Guangzhou and interactive production house. To add their own. giving them more time to react to dangers. with Jung von Matt/elbe in Hamburg. Forsman & Bodenfors in Stockholm. This meant that people driving past could literally see what was coming from behind the wall. Transparent Walls was an interpretation of PreSafe.mercedes-benz. making it look transparent. www. http://worldsbiggestpacman.pg. not just its own sites. Created by digital agency soap creative for gaming giant nAMco BAnDAi and Microsoft Australia to showcase the power of the Internet Explorer 9 browser. www.se -------------------------------------------- Ariel china not only showed off its new powerful liquid.000 sq metre store online (getting a good look at IKEA's familiar retail layout and merchandise) to find competition spots and then click for a chance to win IKEA goods.news / quarterly round-up Microsoft ie9 / world’s Biggest pac-man tech giant creates retro gaming hit Amazon / wish List chrome extension A Google chrome extension for Amazon wish Lists is significant for its ability to repeatedly steer shoppers back to Amazon.com . they click the ‘Add to Wish List’ button. it also achieved the impossible and made laundry fun with its Stain Zapping Nintendo Wii Game. Firstly. Simple gameplay combined with the largerthan-life scale generated impressive results for the brand: awareness of Ariel liquid in Shanghai increased by 300% and brand recommendation doubled to 37%.5 million people have Liked the game on Facebook since it launched in April. and can even take control of the car to help avoid potential accidents.com -------------------------------------------iKeA / store view take a virtual tour and win furniture To celebrate the opening of a new iKeA outlet in Västerås. soy sauce. while players armed with the Ariel bottles were able to wash them clean. Located at intersections on busy suburban streets. This automatic system detects danger. www. the website uses the sophisticated HTML5 web programming language to let users navigate and play the ever-expanding collection of mazes.amazon. they connect to Facebook. mustard and Ariel. the p&G detergent. The projection allowed Mercedes-Benz to showcase a new feature in its vehicles called pre-safe. as if seen through human eyes.

ly/VolvoAd). despite being proclaimed ‘best in breed’. 2) These are evoked and made manifest by the creative team in the course of the ad. We are told it is cheaper. goes viral and becomes therefore ubiquitous. I would argue. Similarly. funded with proceeds Pepsi would have spent on Super Bowl advertising. more carefully targeted. It is. But I am beginning to see grounds for doubt.wildfire / debate / Wildfire Debate / TV vs. 3) In the mind of the viewer. I have been a champion of social media marketing. But too often this proposition was communicated with braking distances and crash test dummies. Social Media / Contagious pis cultural anthropologis and MIT research afiliate Grant McCracken agains author and branding consultant Simon Mainwaring to determine whether TV or social media is the mos important platform for marketers / Grant McCracken: Nothing builds brand meaning like the 30-second TV ad / The world of marketing is encouraged to shift resources from old media to new. All great advertising is. Jeff Kling and Risa Mickenberg at Euro RSCG Worldwide. demonstrates what safety really means: that Volvo is the envelope protecting a father’s most precious creature. It is an exemplary ad but not an exceptional one. This process has several steps: 1) Meanings are sourced from our culture by planning and strategy. more easily measured. . There are other grounds for scepticism. provokes consumer cocreation and. Refresh. at best. This ad. a process of meaning transfer. by David Jones. exemplary work. Volvo has always made much of safety as the great brand deliverable. failed to prevent the brand from eventually falling from second to third place in the US cola standings. meaning moves from ad to brand. Thus safety takes up residence in Volvo. the Fiesta Movement did not sell more cars. according to Autoblog. for instance. Both Pepsi Refresh and Ford’s Fiesta Movement appear to have failed. the Volvo commercial showing a father picking up his young daughter. from TV ads to social media campaigns. in this anthropologist’s opinion. Take. strapping her in and driving away (http://bit.

should brands care to listen. not to the brand. . network TV. I understand that this makes me the apostate. They must define themselves and their core values and do authentic outreach on that basis (as Pepsi and Ford did). Worse. buy. but the ways that customers consume and share media is rapidly changing. (I would be very happy to be proven wrong. or Ford’s social outreach. but there is no doubt they are the future of assessing a brand’s meaning to its customers. and social media plays a secondary role in the larger marketing scheme of things (at least in the early stages of meaning manufacture). Metrics related to this marketplace – in which factors like reputation management. So is failure by obsolete standards cause to doubt or abandon social media? No. But if indeed social media can’t perform the work of meaning transfer. which itself is failing. measurable. Simon Mainwaring: Defending social media / It’s not the meaning brands assign but what’s meaningful to consumers that counts. I am not saying we should divide the labour across old and new media. So a 30-second spot may indeed give a brand meaning. In fact. Only then can they connect with their customer communities on the basis of what is meaningful to them. share of voice and amplification all add value – are now emerging as many major brands execute social media campaigns of a sufficient scale to provide reliable. It is time to stop hiding behind advertising and start humanising brands by actually engaging with customers connected by social media. It is a transitional period while these metrics take hold. social media’s appearance of failure does not bolster the case for the 30-second spot. The myriad issues that factored into Pepsi’s slip are dismissed in favour of marginalising social media. This is because people who think these campaigns failed are measuring success using metrics that have not kept pace with what has now become a social business marketplace. the retreat to the 30-second spot reflects an erroneous and self-destructive mentality that fails to read the writing on the wall. Advertising that was a monologue must now be a dialogue. But I believe we have failed to see the full significance of TV advertising and the real cost of demoting it in the world of marketing. and curators who coauthor the stories that brands tell. and it has created deep breaches of trust between businesses and consumers. it makes me the enemy of progress. and advertising worlds are reeling from broken business models. but it does not make a brand meaningful to consumers.contagious 24 / 25 It is not clear to me that a social media campaign can accomplish this process of meaning transfer. These consumers have already moved on and are making their own meaning. it’s not clear we have any choice. and the much vaunted argument from Rick Levine’s The Cluetrain Manifesto that marketing is now a conversation. The polarity of the conversation has reversed as consumers grow more sophisticated and organised in their own co-marketing efforts. There has been too much deceit in recent years among brand transfers of meaning. holding onto the old metrics exhibits perhaps the most dangerous quality of all for advertisers – calcification. and growing online competitors (Hulu. bottom line results. any less impactful over the long term? Not at all. piracy).) I am not arguing that we should not market on social media platforms because clearly they offer us extraordinary instruments of communication. The future failed. Leaving aside that the entertainment. YouTube. benchmarkable results. Refresh and the Fiesta Movement are wonderful examples of the appearance of failure for those who live in the past. It may be that TV advertising does the lion’s share of the labour. The prescriptive transfer of meaning is ineffective on such media-savvy and connected consumers. Does it make the impact of Pepsi’s investment in the broader community. Rather than start this discussion on a false premise – that this is an either/ or proposition – let’s reframe the discussion in terms of what’s most meaningful to marketers: the past or the future. It no longer happens in lock-step fashion. not the celebrities of their brand communities. the past is vindicated. This dramatically impacts the process of meaning transfer. and share. Furthermore. The baby has been thrown out with the bathwater. Netflix. shifting profit centres. Yet today (and tomorrow) consumers are content producers. distributors. from brand to consumer. Let me also say this is not a call for ecumenical cooperation. Today brands must become the chief celebrants. our present is assured. Advertisements such as the Volvo example are most persuasive when media companies and the brands that bought their advertising space can maintain a monopoly over the messaging that tells consumers what to think. Broadcasting may deliver short-term. The fact that no more Ford cars were sold negates any reputational enhancement.

refines. the things that decide whether we have made ourselves useful.wildfire / debate / contagious 26 / 27 Grant McCracken / I do hope my eyes deceive me! I thought for a moment my distinguished colleague was suggesting that the failings of Pepsi Refresh to deliver brand profile and Ford’s Fiesta Movement to deliver sales were merely the appearance of failure. even without a DVR. Or.cultureby. like eating.’ See. But first. however much they may organise around them. Plus. Without these. research published in the Journal of Marketing Research (Dec 2010) says American TV viewers now avoid about 70% of ads when they record a programme. The present and future of brand strategy turns on the incorporation of social media as the architecture of community building. But it might be worth considering that. don’t you think? Then there’s the related issue that nearly half of TV viewers avoid all ads. a costly waste of ad spend. as DVR adoption rates go up. Many of the meanings advertising invests in brands begin with the consumers and other cultural innovators. even though we serve different screens. Indeed. avoidance will also increase. On the other hand. Brands will continue to be made of these meanings. the same research states that only about a third of US households own a DVR and record only about 10% of the shows they watch.com Simon Mainwaring is author of We First (Palgrave Macmillan) www. social media must be the glue that holds branding strategy together. Simon Mainwaring / My learned colleague.) I do not doubt that social media gives us extraordinary new instruments of meaning-making. To which I say. brand-building and world construction. the ad business has a bad reputation for insisting on a black box inaccessible to client scrutiny. a solipsism.com Illustration: Loulou&Tummie www. To say ‘oh. I started to read your reply.wefirstbook. research says that only about 3% of the ad views across all households are lost because of fast forwarding. forgive my tardy response. As Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy survey (Feb 2011) found. An ABC survey found that 48% of non-DVR users avoid commercials by one means or another. Forrester’s Consumers and Technology 2010 report states: ‘Experts estimate that consumers will fastforward through five to eight percent of all ads and 13% of prime-time ads in the future.’ That’s a solid slice of ad spend going to waste. on that point. But these gaps in ad effectiveness are minor arrows in my quiver about why the sacred 30-second spot is flawed and should no longer be considered as the centrepiece of advertising. apportions and assigns brand meanings. I ended up fast-forwarding through it and have only now had a chance to return to the issue at hand.loulouandtummie. In the end. sabres at dawn and we will see who is calcified! Brand standing and sales must be the arbiters of our efforts. Nothing good happens to professions that insist they can only be judged by their own standards.com . This meaning-making will be more and more distributed. but we have our own standards’ betrays. But continuing to hold onto the TV spot as the preferred brand strategy is like driving a car while looking in the rear-view mirror. but as with so many TV spots. Again. I will even grant you a statistic that you failed to quote from Deloitte: ‘86% of consumers say television advertising has the biggest impact on their buying decisions. But forget the academics. (Solipsism doesn’t work here either. I am your friend. and based on an ‘obsolete measure’ to boot. put another way.) Advertising remains a necessary cultural enterprise which finds. he presumes to identify these things as evidence of ‘calcification’. Grant McCracken is research affiliate at MIT www. This thinking scorns the measure used by corporations and financial markets. It would be tragic if we used new media for this old purpose. sorts. our creative efforts lift off into the postmodernist haze that has so obscured the proceedings of the academic world. And I especially don’t doubt the 30-second spot will remain irreducibly useful. and the consumer must be a co-creator. Nor do I doubt that brands will have to learn to live and breathe with meaning as never before. (Communities do not make brands. ‘71% of Americans still rate watching TV on any device among their favorite media activities’. I think. let me assure you: I am not suggesting that TV is not still a critical element in a brand’s strategy. In fact. But there is no anthropological evidence that we are heading for a ‘universe of ones’ in which every consumer invents their own meanings. the static centre around which the ad world churns. or they will be nothing at all. while TV spots are merely one of the pieces held together by the glue. going to the bathroom or talking. In fact.

case study / skittles / Salute the Rainbow .

bUT SkiTTlES. hAS CREATED iTS own niChE of pERpETUAl ADolESCEnCE.contagious 66 / 67 CASE STUDY / SkiTTlES / SAlUTE ThE RAinbow / ThE US AnD ThE Uk mAY bE mATURE mARkETS foR ConfECTionERY bRAnDS. wRiglEY’S RAinbow-hUED ChEwY CAnDY. SinCE TbwA ASSUmED STEwARDShip of ThE bRAnD in 2004. SkiTTlES hAS SET AboUT ExploRing iTS iDEnTiTY wiTh All ThE EnThUSiASm of iTS YoUng TARgET mARkET. bY EmbRACing SoCiAl mEDiA AnD STRAngEnESS in pURSUiT of A lifE lESS oRDinARY… / bY kATRinA DoDD / .

themed around a fantasy world and a literal sense of magic – as denoted by characters like wizards – required an overhaul. however. . we don’t force it. These early ads set the bar high.case study / skittles / T ouch the rainbow.’ says figliulo. fans should expect the unexpected. The montages referenced an array of pop-culture highlights from Jon Stewart on Saturday Night Live. compilation clips showing a carefully curated selection of material were played to groups of US teens. when video-sharing and social networking took hold as the default pastime for a generation of teens. blend. in recent years. chairman and CCo at TbwA\Chiat\Day. Unpredictability would be at the heart of all future campaigns. the brand was perfectly placed to tag along for the ride. the new agency needed to reconnect with its target audience without writing off a familiar slogan and a hefty slice of brand equity in the process. a decade-old tagline from the once-mighty Dmb&b that had come to define – but also to limit – the brand. the formulaic feel of the advertising. if you do really great work that’s as distinctive as Skittles it gets shared immediately. the mundane. been a steep learning curve. The message? ‘believe the rainbow’. Ask the audience Despite solid brand awareness. Duly inspired.’ Another key theme was identified as central to the redefinition of the Skittles brand. dreaming up new Skittles campaigns should theoretically be as simple as deciding which new verb to drop in front of ‘… the rainbow’. however. The solution was found in the nature of the product itself. but despite steady sales and high brand recognition. See. however. explains mark figliulo. sugar-craving consumers have been encouraged to open their minds to a range of unlikely ways to receive a hit of glucose-fuelled relief from the ordinary. The TV commercials – sharing the rainbow The new Skittles positioning was launched with the first of a series of quirky. hear. the agency quickly established two fundamentals of the brand DnA: the sense of magic would be retained. the campaign began to accrue the kind of social currency that would readily translate across any available platform. carving a pop-culture niche and keeping fans hungry for more of this delicious weirdness. believe the rainbow. and the work would be much closer to a reality that the customers could relate to.’ This natural ability to keep in step with its audience is one of the qualities that imbues its most successful campaigns: ‘Skittles is a great example of a social brand – but without trying too hard. ‘Skittles already had a pretty big presence – it’s always been in the top ten brand fan pages. And now for something completely different from that point on. asks one. it was social before we started talking about social. fiddle and generally muck about with the tactile. by the time TbwA\Chiat\Day replaced bbDo worldwide as Skittles’ agency of record seven years ago. so we started a profile page simply for the commercials and it drew a big crowd. to movie clips and Christopher walken tap-dancing his way through Spike Jonze’s classic music video for fatboy Slim’s 2001 single Weapon of Choice. the brand had clearly established ‘Taste the rainbow’ as its calling card with consumers. it was proving hard to step things up. to make sure the new creative would hit just the right note. the humdrum. by the time facebook was really on its radar. stand-out commercials that soon captured and held the attention of the target audience. Things would only become curiouser and curiouser from that point on. Share the rainbow. warp or lick the rainbow. Even though facebook. YouTube and Twitter were yet to emerge as internet hubs. According to figliulo. TbwA\Chiat\Day came up with a crucial revision to the familiar slogan that would open up a whole new world of possibilities: Experience the rainbow. ‘we didn’t want to talk down to the audience. but in a less ‘Disneyfied’ form. before a gap opens up in the spectrum and he plummets to earth. we just have to give enough bite-sized pieces of content. we knew that they understood subtlety and irony. Transplant patients would adopt weird mirroring behaviour. Research showed that the young consumers Skittles had in its sights were just as likely to flick. percussive candy as they were to simply ‘taste’ it. it was not always so. The response from the target audience was an unequivocal ‘Do it like that’. it has. a mother would harvest Skittles from the tree growing from her son’s chest… You get the picture. whether it’s a commercial or a digital idea. and it gets shared pretty quickly because people like the brand. To keep things on track. people really loved the campaign. one of the earliest shows three teens sitting high above the ground on the gentle curve of a rainbow: ‘what if this rainbow doesn’t exist?’. and it helped that we could say to the client “there’s a lot of great contemporary humour out there and not a lot of brands tap into it”. fizz.

designers. Do / You’ve got to admire a marketing team whose aim is to win the Nobel Peace Prize. And when those people are a bunch of artiss. creatives and technologiss at Google. you wonder if i might jus be possible / By Emily Hare / youtube play / .company focus / google creative lab / Company Focus / Google Creative Lab / Think. Make.

part of the HTML5 canvas. Berndt felt that a creative hothouse was needed. its leftbrain and right-brain thinking. San Francisco and London. based in New York. Robert Wong sees the Creative Lab’s aim as: ‘Using the dark arts of creativity to do for the brand what the engineers do… build products. and the goal is always “what’s in the user’s best interest”?’ Automagical moments The majority of Creative Lab’s output takes the form of a product demonstration. the Lab’s director of strategy. And when that thing is really cool… boom. of course).contagious 78 / 79 G oogle Creative Lab selects its interns based. are not without epic amounts of ambition. backed by the track Black by Dangermouse and Daniele Luppi. and you have a weekend and $50 to make something. we put all our resources behind it. shares a similar sentiment on page 20. working this time with North Kingdom and Mirada to develop Rome: 3 Dreams of Black. scarcity of resources. 3 dreams of black / These moments of magic were continued in the next iteration of director Chris Milk and creative director Aaron Koblin’s collaboration. creative lead of Creative Lab EMEA. encouraging people to have an ‘automagical’ response to a platform or piece of technology such as an operating system. showing someone running along the street where you grew up. It doesn’t want to breed a bunch of people who. In reality. as Wong explains.’ Made up of designers. amongst other things. storytellers. this incorporates a stripped down planning process.’ In essence. The Lab produces work both independently and through collaborations with agencies and partners. constant experimentation and the ability to scale up projects very quickly.’ Tom Uglow. while allowing its small team of around 50 people to tinker and experiment. the team. animators and creative coders. Our goal is to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Considering the Google brand and its creative standards. So we start off with scarcity of time. aged 23. Automagical is a term used internally. . thanks to Google Maps and Street View. creating a music video for Arcade Fire and developing a movie which premiered at Sundance (after YouTube. He explains: ‘Creative Lab combines Yin and Yang.’ The Lab was launched in November 2007 by Andy Berndt. described by Robert Wong as when people have ‘a visceral. Wong elaborates: ‘Google has a bi-polar thing – on the one hand there’s extreme scarcity. with projects often turned around in 24 hours. focusing across the entire range of the company’s offering. and it’s easy to see why. writers. filmmakers. But it’s always towards a goal. this boils down to ‘making cool shit instead of making meetings’. will be bragging about working on a Super Bowl spot. formerly co-president of Ogilvy New York. Just imagine yourself forwarding the Arcade Fire’s Wilderness Downtown video to your parents. It’s more of a symbolic goal. because the company is so different from any other in terms of how it communicates and markets to the world. but on the other hand there’s an abundance of resources. We use a combination of really smart marketing and manifestations of what the products do to represent the magic that is inside them. emotional reaction’ to technology. and you’ll understand what he means. Yet despite their reverence for humility. on their capacity to be humble. Executive creative director Robert Wong proclaims: ‘When I hire creatives I tell them that if your goal is to win a Cannes Lion this is not the place for you. This is partially possible thanks to the Lab’s self-imposed startup working mentality – time. funds and people are all relatively scarce. Ben Malbon. but what it does is reframe the possibility of what you can do for any brand or company with their products. search engine or mobile app. Users steer themselves through their 3D ‘dream’ interacting with creatures and obstacles. adds: ‘Basically I surround myself with people who I think are really good and then I try and get them to have fun and experiment. It aimed to lead the creative efforts of Google’s marketing department. an interactive 3D journey built in WebGL. in a piece on the role of the chief innovation officer.

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