big thinkers Contenders for the mos precious of metals
THE MARTIN LINDSTROM COLUMN UPSTARTS
. not built to die Voice of the people Little brands. evolved / By Mandy Saven An age of exposure / By Faraaz Marghoob Two nights in Siberia Future talent Salute the rainbow Ideas born to live. make.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. do Try before you buy. 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.
editorial / spread the word /
In May I chaired the annual FutureFlash conference that Contagious curates
on behalf of Canada’s Insitute of Communication Agencies. (‘People are now the only medium that matters. CRM specialis and partner at UK’s the Cusomer Framework. recommendations will drive performance better than communications. cusomer data neds to be refined in order to be efecive. Agencies will have to: collaborate more.and that.) This means that as social media and relationship marketing blossom. Nick Broomfield. Speaker Ty Montague. In cluttered categories where brands sruggle to sand out. acion and participation become more efecive than tradiional persuasion techniques. Montague quoted Muriel Rukeyser (‘the universe is made of sories. co-founder of New York’s co:collecive. be execution agnosic and get used to creating content that lives in perpetual beta. Some central themes emerged. 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. This means that the future is a team sport. For those brands propelled by Pareto’s 80/20 rule (80% of revenue is generated
. he suggesed. believes that ‘Data is the new oil’. (80% of American CEOs think their produc is diferentiated. like oil. not atoms’) to show why the brands wih the bes tales and cultures (both internal and external) always win. drew gasps when he sated that there were two million brands in the world in 1997 and EIGHT million now.’) The universal power of sories came through loud and clear. but only 8% of their cusomers agre. One was that mos businesses are not built for today’s networked world (apparently 75% of CMOs plan to reorganise in 2011). learn to make more suff.
He thinks agencies should be judged by outcomes not outputs.’ This is adman as options trader — placing lots of small bets and scaling up those that pay of. This is why Bob McDonald.e. apparently wants a ‘one to one relationship wih seven billion people’. 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. brands can’t jus ‘launch and leave’. 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. Noah Brier. talked about ‘Stock & Flow’: The durable (i. advertising inventory) versus the transient (the ebb of social media chatter). Ironically.’ /
Paul Kemp-Robertson / Ediorial Direcor /
. Tongue planted firmly in chek. to contextualise the world wih their content and opinions. founder of Percolate. In an always-on world.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). Human ediors are the heroes in this new world. CMO of P&G. TBWA’s David Le talked about the shift to projecs rather than campaigns. he says.contagious
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by 20% of cusomers) the future means that transacions will be motivated by interacions: ‘CRM 2.’ 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. Goodby Silversein’s Gareth Kay claimed that ‘srategiss are the new Don Drapers’. in a conference devoted to ‘Rebirth & Reinvention’. Brands therefore ned to ac as publishers. he says. not built to die (sealed media plans).
and ‘check in’ during the Pepsi Max commercial airing in the US. national Geographic channel launched Mission expedition. redeemable at major retailers like target and cvs. Pennsylvania. created the Expedition Week website. 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. in April.comviq.m-ms. New York. helping to pinpoint more detail about when. Activee. such as a Roman gladiator.
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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. com/expedition could navigate their way through the set. interacted via tweets.com/special/pepsi/u -------------------------------------------comviq / ringback tones ringtones receive a musical upgrade
onLine / M&Ms / Go nuts. and how many times they stop and start. M&Ms took over the internet in Denmark with a smart bit of programming courtesy of BBDo in Copenhagen. During their journey. to which 56% of callers signed up. Players hit the Danish M&Ms site. the user’s network is alerted to the deal. IntoNow informs the brand whether the ad is being watched live or time-shifted. allows mobile phone owners to select the ringtone music that their callers hear when they make a phone call. an interactive experience running daily from 28 March – 9 April. they could photograph artefacts which they could win. www. their destination.natgeotv. And Expedition Week-inspired characters. These can be shown off by connecting to the accompanying website. which launched in January. The app then cross-references the data with locations of electric vehicle (EV) charging points in and around cities.com
To celebrate expedition week.bmwactivatethefuture. Drivers can also collect different badges for driving in environmentally friendly ways. if they turned out to be one of the artefacts of the day. then click to start play. A camera attached to a robotic model train transported viewers inside miniature sets such as Victorian London. whose new single was made exclusively available via Ringback Tones. The audio fingerprinting technology that IntoNow uses will then recognise the ad’s soundtrack and download a voucher to the user’s phone. The launch of BMW EVolve through Kirshenbaum Bond senecal + partners. As well as capturing demographic information about the user.intonow. www. Stockholm on a new service called ringback tones. To launch the service. while interactive design boutique neopangea.natgeotv. where and for whom the ad is most effective. Using GPS. in West Reading. Viewers download the app. drag a spaceship bookmarklet into the browser bar.se -------------------------------------------BMw / evolve app BMw’s new evolve app is designed for use during every car journey. Comviq partnered with popular Swedish artist veronica Maggio. For up to a minute. peanuts cheeky bookmarklets invade websites
In April. www. it amasses location-based data on people's driving habits – including how far they travel. neatly coincided with the unveiling of the manufacturer's first electric vehicle. www. where people can compare their driving data-set to national averages.com/expedition --------------------------------------------
. Thanks to its social nature. The service. Mission Expedition was created by Pittsburgh-based interactive firm Deeplocal. The tie-up is the first branded initiative for the nascent app. www.dk/spaceheroes -------------------------------------------national Geographic / Mission expedition navigate a model adventure
Swedish mobile operator comviq partnered with Universal Music and Forsman & Bodenfors. before calculating whether an EV would suit them. each participant who logged onto www.
Transparent Walls was an interpretation of PreSafe.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.mercedes-benz. How does it work? When shoppers see something they like.com -------------------------------------------iKeA / store view take a virtual tour and win furniture
To celebrate the opening of a new iKeA outlet in Västerås.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. Located at intersections on busy suburban streets.com
.cn -------------------------------------------Mercedes-Benz / transparent walls Mercedes-Benz. through saatchi & saatchi china in Guangzhou and interactive production house. To add their own. worked to improve road safety with an outdoor projection called transparent walls. pill&pillow Hong Kong. erected screens featuring giant T-shirts across the country.se --------------------------------------------
Ariel china not only showed off its new powerful liquid. Once shoppers have downloaded the extension. Firstly. they connect to Facebook. www. Sweden. making it look transparent. as if seen through human eyes.5 million people have Liked the game on Facebook since it launched in April. while players armed with the Ariel bottles were able to wash them clean.amazon. Created by digital agency soap creative for gaming giant nAMco BAnDAi and Microsoft Australia to showcase the power of the Internet Explorer 9 browser. Users could navigate the 40. Forsman & Bodenfors in Stockholm. not just its own sites. The projection allowed Mercedes-Benz to showcase a new feature in its vehicles called pre-safe. with Jung von Matt/elbe in Hamburg. This automatic system detects danger.com. Live video was projected from one side of a building onto the other.pg. Those with the condiments waved their bottles to create huge stains that were projected onto the T-shirts. Then it gave out modified Wii controllers.ikea. designed to look like bottles of tomato sauce. a map comprising thousands of user-generated Pac-Man levels. www. effectively giving Amazon a retail version of Facebook Like. http://worldsbiggestpacman. the online retail giant is able to gather vast swathes of new data about their customers' shopping habits from all across the web.se to give people a sneak peek at the store and win prizes. 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%. www.com/wishlist
oUtDoor Ariel / stain Zapping wii Game Giant-sized stain removal
Microsoft has delighted 1980s nostalgics with the world's Biggest pac-Man. IKEA's ad agency. soy sauce. www. the website uses the sophisticated HTML5 web programming language to let users navigate and play the ever-expanding collection of mazes. partnered Google Street View rival hitta. they click the ‘Add to Wish List’ button. This meant that people driving past could literally see what was coming from behind the wall. it also achieved the impossible and made laundry fun with its Stain Zapping Nintendo Wii Game. giving them more time to react to dangers. Over 2. the p&G detergent. mustard and Ariel. and can even take control of the car to help avoid potential accidents.com.
This process has several steps: 1) Meanings are sourced from our culture by planning and strategy.ly/VolvoAd).
. All great advertising is. provokes consumer cocreation and. meaning moves from ad to brand. despite being proclaimed ‘best in breed’. Refresh. Both Pepsi Refresh and Ford’s Fiesta Movement appear to have failed. It is an exemplary ad but not an exceptional one. Thus safety takes up residence in Volvo. strapping her in and driving away (http://bit. in this anthropologist’s opinion. goes viral and becomes therefore ubiquitous. 2) These are evoked and made manifest by the creative team in the course of the ad. the Fiesta Movement did not sell more cars.wildfire / debate /
Wildfire Debate / TV vs. Similarly. from TV ads to social media campaigns. I have been a champion of social media marketing. at best. But I am beginning to see grounds for doubt. more easily measured. 3) In the mind of the viewer. according to Autoblog. a process of meaning transfer. exemplary work. This ad. by David Jones. funded with proceeds Pepsi would have spent on Super Bowl advertising. There are other grounds for scepticism. It is. 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. demonstrates what safety really means: that Volvo is the envelope protecting a father’s most precious creature. failed to prevent the brand from eventually falling from second to third place in the US cola standings. Volvo has always made much of safety as the great brand deliverable. Jeff Kling and Risa Mickenberg at Euro RSCG Worldwide. We are told it is cheaper. the Volvo commercial showing a father picking up his young daughter. But too often this proposition was communicated with braking distances and crash test dummies. more carefully targeted. Take. I would argue. for instance.
from brand to consumer. The prescriptive transfer of meaning is ineffective on such media-savvy and connected consumers. 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.) I am not arguing that we should not market on social media platforms because clearly they offer us extraordinary instruments of communication. Furthermore. and social media plays a secondary role in the larger marketing scheme of things (at least in the early stages of meaning manufacture). Broadcasting may deliver short-term. buy. Let me also say this is not a call for ecumenical cooperation.contagious
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It is not clear to me that a social media campaign can accomplish this process of meaning transfer. It is time to stop hiding behind advertising and start humanising brands by actually engaging with customers connected by social media. These consumers have already moved on and are making their own meaning. I am not saying we should divide the labour across old and new media. should brands care to listen. distributors. 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. shifting profit centres. our present is assured. it’s not clear we have any choice.
. Worse. holding onto the old metrics exhibits perhaps the most dangerous quality of all for advertisers – calcification. Yet today (and tomorrow) consumers are content producers. YouTube. But if indeed social media can’t perform the work of meaning transfer. Advertising that was a monologue must now be a dialogue. So is failure by obsolete standards cause to doubt or abandon social media? No. but the ways that customers consume and share media is rapidly changing. not to the brand. (I would be very happy to be proven wrong. measurable. Simon Mainwaring: Defending social media / It’s not the meaning brands assign but what’s meaningful to consumers that counts. the retreat to the 30-second spot reflects an erroneous and self-destructive mentality that fails to read the writing on the wall. 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. There has been too much deceit in recent years among brand transfers of meaning. It may be that TV advertising does the lion’s share of the labour. The baby has been thrown out with the bathwater. They must define themselves and their core values and do authentic outreach on that basis (as Pepsi and Ford did). Metrics related to this marketplace – in which factors like reputation management. and advertising worlds are reeling from broken business models. and the much vaunted argument from Rick Levine’s The Cluetrain Manifesto that marketing is now a conversation. benchmarkable results. So a 30-second spot may indeed give a brand meaning. It is a transitional period while these metrics take hold. 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 it has created deep breaches of trust between businesses and consumers. Does it make the impact of Pepsi’s investment in the broader community. and growing online competitors (Hulu. In fact. I understand that this makes me the apostate. The fact that no more Ford cars were sold negates any reputational enhancement. It no longer happens in lock-step fashion. not the celebrities of their brand communities. The polarity of the conversation has reversed as consumers grow more sophisticated and organised in their own co-marketing efforts. Leaving aside that the entertainment. social media’s appearance of failure does not bolster the case for the 30-second spot. This dramatically impacts the process of meaning transfer. or Ford’s social outreach. it makes me the enemy of progress. Netflix. network TV. but there is no doubt they are the future of assessing a brand’s meaning to its customers. which itself is failing. Today brands must become the chief celebrants. any less impactful over the long term? Not at all. 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. bottom line results. but it does not make a brand meaningful to consumers. Refresh and the Fiesta Movement are wonderful examples of the appearance of failure for those who live in the past. and share. The future failed. Only then can they connect with their customer communities on the basis of what is meaningful to them. the past is vindicated. and curators who coauthor the stories that brands tell. piracy). The myriad issues that factored into Pepsi’s slip are dismissed in favour of marginalising
avoidance will also increase. Indeed. however much they may organise around them. In fact.cultureby. (Communities do not make brands. I started to read your reply. the things that decide whether we have made ourselves useful. brand-building and world construction. I ended up fast-forwarding through it and have only now had a chance to return to the issue at hand.com Simon Mainwaring is author of We First (Palgrave Macmillan) www. while TV spots are merely one of the pieces held together by the glue. But there is no anthropological evidence that we are heading for a ‘universe of ones’ in which every consumer invents their own meanings. put another way. To say ‘oh. I think. the static centre around which the ad world churns. forgive my tardy response. In the end. our creative efforts lift off into the postmodernist haze that has so obscured the proceedings of the academic world. Many of the meanings advertising invests in brands begin with the consumers and other cultural innovators. An ABC survey found that 48% of non-DVR users avoid commercials by one means or another. let me assure you: I am not suggesting that TV is not still a critical element in a brand’s strategy. sabres at dawn and we will see who is calcified! Brand standing and sales must be the arbiters of our efforts. or they will be nothing at all. To which I say.) Advertising remains a necessary cultural enterprise which finds. the ad business has a bad reputation for insisting on a black box inaccessible to client scrutiny. as DVR adoption rates go up. ‘71% of Americans still rate watching TV on any device among their favorite media activities’. Brands will continue to be made of these meanings. 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. Again. In fact. This thinking scorns the measure used by corporations and financial markets. but we have our own standards’ betrays. It would be tragic if we used new media for this old purpose. a solipsism. Or.
Simon Mainwaring / My learned colleague. Nothing good happens to professions that insist they can only be judged by their own standards.com Illustration: Loulou&Tummie www. The present and future of brand strategy turns on the incorporation of social media as the architecture of community building. he presumes to identify these things as evidence of ‘calcification’. Nor do I doubt that brands will have to learn to live and breathe with meaning as never before. On the other hand. even though we serve different screens. apportions and assigns brand meanings.com
But forget the academics. refines. don’t you think? Then there’s the related issue that nearly half of TV viewers avoid all ads.) I do not doubt that social media gives us extraordinary new instruments of meaning-making. As Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy survey (Feb 2011) found. 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. (Solipsism doesn’t work here either. I am your friend. Grant McCracken is research affiliate at MIT www. 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.’ That’s a solid slice of ad spend going to waste. but as with so many TV spots.wildfire / debate /
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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. on that point. going to the bathroom or talking. This meaning-making will be more and more distributed. sorts. And I especially don’t doubt the 30-second spot will remain irreducibly useful. But it might be worth considering that. Without these. 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. But first.
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. Plus. like eating. research says that only about 3% of the ad views across all households are lost because of fast forwarding. and based on an ‘obsolete measure’ to boot. and the consumer must be a co-creator. a costly waste of ad spend.loulouandtummie. even without a DVR. social media must be the glue that holds branding strategy together. 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.’ See.
case study / skittles /
Salute the Rainbow
bUT SkiTTlES. hAS CREATED iTS own niChE of pERpETUAl ADolESCEnCE. wRiglEY’S RAinbow-hUED ChEwY CAnDY. bY EmbRACing SoCiAl mEDiA AnD STRAngEnESS in pURSUiT of A lifE lESS oRDinARY… / bY kATRinA DoDD /
. SkiTTlES hAS SET AboUT ExploRing iTS iDEnTiTY wiTh All ThE EnThUSiASm of iTS YoUng TARgET mARkET.contagious
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CASE STUDY / SkiTTlES / SAlUTE ThE RAinbow / ThE US AnD ThE Uk mAY bE mATURE mARkETS foR ConfECTionERY bRAnDS. SinCE TbwA ASSUmED STEwARDShip of ThE bRAnD in 2004.
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”. the campaign began to accrue the kind of social currency that would readily translate across any available platform. compilation clips showing a carefully curated selection of material were played to groups of US teens. the agency quickly established two fundamentals of the brand DnA: the sense of magic would be retained. fiddle and generally muck about with the tactile. The TV commercials – sharing the rainbow The new Skittles positioning was launched with the first of a series of quirky.
‘we didn’t want to talk down to the audience. the brand had clearly established ‘Taste the rainbow’ as its calling card with consumers. fans should expect the unexpected. to make sure the new creative would hit just the right note. we don’t force it. it was not always so. before a gap opens up in the spectrum and he plummets to earth. chairman and CCo at TbwA\Chiat\Day. it was social before we started talking about social. Things would only become curiouser and curiouser from that point on. people really loved the campaign. The solution was found in the nature of the product itself. blend. the formulaic feel of the advertising. believe the rainbow. Unpredictability would be at the heart of all future campaigns. if you do really great work that’s as distinctive as Skittles it gets shared immediately. Transplant patients would adopt weird mirroring behaviour. dreaming up new Skittles campaigns should theoretically be as simple as deciding which new verb to drop in front of ‘… the rainbow’. but despite steady sales and high brand recognition. The message? ‘believe the rainbow’.
by the time TbwA\Chiat\Day replaced bbDo worldwide as Skittles’ agency of record seven years ago. however. carving a pop-culture niche and keeping fans hungry for more of this delicious weirdness. Duly inspired. The response from the target audience was an unequivocal ‘Do it like that’. 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. it has. Research showed that the young consumers Skittles had in its sights were just as likely to flick. To keep things on track. These early ads set the bar high. when video-sharing and social networking took hold as the default pastime for a generation of teens. warp or lick the rainbow. And now for something completely different from that point on. so we started a profile page simply for the commercials and it drew a big crowd. in recent years. percussive candy as they were to simply ‘taste’ it. stand-out commercials that soon captured and held the attention of the target audience.’ 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. a decade-old tagline from the once-mighty Dmb&b that had come to define – but also to limit – the brand. it was proving hard to step things up. Even though facebook. and the work would be much closer to a reality that the customers could relate to. a mother would harvest Skittles from the tree growing from her son’s chest… You get the picture. themed around a fantasy world and a literal sense of magic – as denoted by characters like wizards – required an overhaul. we just have to give enough bite-sized pieces of content.’ says figliulo. 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. however. by the time facebook was really on its radar. The montages referenced an array of pop-culture highlights from Jon Stewart on Saturday Night Live. Ask the audience Despite solid brand awareness. See. but in a less ‘Disneyfied’ form. 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. however. the brand was perfectly placed to tag along for the ride. asks one. Share the rainbow.
. whether it’s a commercial or a digital idea. explains mark figliulo. and it gets shared pretty quickly because people like the brand. the humdrum. we knew that they understood subtlety and irony. ‘Skittles already had a pretty big presence – it’s always been in the top ten brand fan pages.case study / skittles /
ouch the rainbow.’ Another key theme was identified as central to the redefinition of the Skittles brand. the mundane. YouTube and Twitter were yet to emerge as internet hubs. 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?’. 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. hear. been a steep learning curve. fizz.
creatives and technologiss at Google. Make. designers. you wonder if i might jus be possible / By Emily Hare /
youtube play /
. 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.company focus / google creative lab /
Company Focus / Google Creative Lab / Think.
It aimed to lead the creative efforts of Google’s marketing department. with projects often turned around in 24 hours. and you have a weekend and $50 to make something. 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. an interactive 3D journey built in WebGL. in a piece on the role of the chief innovation officer. while allowing its small team of around 50 people to tinker and experiment. the team. based in New York. encouraging people to have an ‘automagical’ response to a platform or piece of technology such as an operating system. filmmakers. creating a music video for Arcade Fire and developing a movie which premiered at Sundance (after YouTube. But it’s always towards a goal. part of the HTML5 canvas. backed by the track Black by Dangermouse and Daniele Luppi. this boils down to ‘making cool shit instead of making meetings’. showing someone running along the street where you grew up. will be bragging about working on a Super Bowl spot. We use a combination of really smart marketing and manifestations of what the products do to represent the magic that is inside them. focusing across the entire range of the company’s offering. constant experimentation and the ability to scale up projects very quickly. its leftbrain and right-brain thinking.’ The Lab was launched in November 2007 by Andy Berndt.’ Tom Uglow. of course). because the company is so different from any other in terms of how it communicates and markets to the world. 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. Ben Malbon. emotional reaction’ to technology. Users steer themselves through their 3D ‘dream’ interacting with creatures and obstacles. storytellers. amongst other things. Yet despite their reverence for humility. Just imagine yourself forwarding the Arcade Fire’s Wilderness Downtown video to your parents. shares a similar sentiment on page 20. 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. but what it does is reframe the possibility of what you can do for any brand or company with their products. and it’s easy to see why.
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. on their capacity to be humble. In reality. Automagical is a term used internally. the Lab’s director of strategy. It doesn’t want to breed a bunch of people who. funds and people are all relatively scarce. Our goal is to win the Nobel Peace Prize. formerly co-president of Ogilvy New York. aged 23. and you’ll understand what he means. 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. So we start off with scarcity of time. animators and creative coders. And when that thing is really cool… boom. Considering the Google brand and its creative standards. scarcity of
resources.’ In essence. Berndt felt that a creative hothouse was needed. San Francisco and London. The Lab produces work both independently and through collaborations with agencies and partners. It’s more of a symbolic goal. described by Robert Wong as when people have ‘a visceral. are not without epic amounts of ambition.
.’ Made up of designers. thanks to Google Maps and Street View. This is partially possible thanks to the Lab’s self-imposed startup working mentality – time. working this time with North Kingdom and Mirada to develop Rome: 3 Dreams of Black. as Wong explains. we put all our resources behind it.contagious
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oogle Creative Lab selects its interns based. He explains: ‘Creative Lab combines Yin and Yang. this incorporates a stripped down planning process. writers. Wong elaborates: ‘Google has a bi-polar thing – on the one hand there’s extreme scarcity. but on the other hand there’s an abundance of resources. search engine or mobile app.