Last week i took some time to wonder about the future of agencies — insofar as to consider whether clients should crowdfund their own agencies — and one trend kept coming up: disintermediation. This was quite clear regarding digital agencies where the surplus is the rule and the creativity is the about the only thing short on supply.
Low and behold, this week Foursquare launched a perfect example of what can happen to interactive agencies if brands and platforms/startups start to work together with no intermediary.
Game Of Cones is a great example of tapping into the audience zeitgeist of Game Of Thrones and drive some social media buzz, both for brand and the service. Not Winter, but #summeriscoming, and Foursquare highlights the best ice cream spots in NYC and SF on an epic battle for the Ice throne.
By checking in on their favorite artisanal ice cream places between this Friday and June 21 (the first official day of summer), users will lick their way to the throne (too much?).
I’m not sure if it’s a joint venture with HBO, but it’s something that brands are doing a lot more, bypassing agencies to a more direct (and safe) deployment of interactive experiences. The crows are watching, agencies.
PRELUDE: Yes, i still blog. Though much of my writing lately is for portuguese media and corporate communication, i pulled myself together and figured out that blogs are still my voice and always will be. Notwithstanding what blogs are nowadays, with services like Tumblr and Medium.
Best Of Show
Never understood how the Nike+ ecosystem and their Fuelband case is still the creative’s favorite Quantified Self product, with Fitbit being there first and Jawbone Up delivering some Yves Béhar goodness. But then again, i’m an Android “think different” user and don’t really buy into this “Brand Transformation” award for Nike.
Wieden+Kennedy delivers some of the more challenging work in digital, proving that it no longer makes sense to distinguish between traditional and digital agencies. Maybe between creative and production, but that’s a whole different article. Dikembe Mutombo for Old Spice (no longer online, but case is embedded below) presented us a 8 bit branded game and saved the world of creative mediocrity. Interactive storytelling at his best. Also, check their other Gold Pencil for Paranorman.
From South Africa, Volkswagen Street Quest by Ogilvy Cape Town challenged users to Pin to Win on a Google Street View mashup. The idea is not new, but the execution is flawless, specially the social design efforts, with Open Graph integrations. Another Street View winner with Bronze was Nature Valley Trail View for Generall Mills. While we’re at it, do not click on this huge Street View time waster i’ve found last week.
Another Silver Winner worth mentioning is McDonald’s (discl: client) with Your Food, Your Questions, walking the talk of transparency for the digital age.
Brackets by 6 year olds is a great idea by BBDO for AT&T. And probably originated from an insight similar to the one i had a few years ago when reading James Surowiecki: the wisdom of the crowds when applied to fantasy sports leagues could probably beat sport pundits. Too bad the sponsor brand didn’t like it (queue, “story of a creative’s life” tune).
Killing Lincoln by Mullen (congrats Edward and tema) was the first award with second screen experience considered, something i hope to see more 2013 onward, hopefully with more than a Bronze.
EasyWayTest by Loducca is a great example of what you can do when tech is used for purpose and not for show off. That’s what creative technologists should aspire to. Unless your audience are japanese teenagers.
Regarding social media, it was quite curious not to find Oreo’s Daily Twist, but i was never a big fan on giving awards to social media “campaigns” (emphatic quotation marks here). Extra social points for Droga5 and their cynical Newcastle Brown Ale SubTexter App.
What does this mean?
Game mechanics are here to stay, and this trend speaks volume how it’s increasingly harder to get users to spend time spent with branded content. Perhaps interactive folks have been reading too much of behavioural economics. I am, at least. And yes, people do need to be nudged to change their behaviours which includes brand preference.
Street View is the new real. The subtext here might read that people still crave for authentic experiences even if camouflaged with technology. Seems a whole lot like New Aesthetic.
I’ve excluded all Google commissioned projects or Chrome Experiments. Though it’s not fair for brands to compete with the Google tech juggernaut and their deep pockets, it’s also a cause of concern for brands when tech startups are the ones to offer enough creative freedom to agencies. No wonder results then show up. There’s a lesson here, dear CMO.
Blogs are still my favorite source of inspiration, but lately YouTube (and Vimeo) have pushed curation skills further. One of my latest discoveries was this web series from PBS digital, exploring cutting edge art, internet culture, and the people that create it.
Not a week goes by without a new mobile photo app by a brand. Last month it was Sony with their PhotoHopping, develop by LBi, and last week it was Coca-Cola with their fancy new photo-sharing app Happy Places.
But the one that seemed less of a bandwagon jump was Ray-Ban’s Ambermatic App, developed by R/GA Stockholm.
The free iOs App allows Ray-Ban users and fans to shoot their the photos and once taken, the App sends the image to the Ray-Ban flagship store in Covent Garden, London, where it is re-shot through an analogue Ray-Ban Ambermatic lens, and returned to the handset in Ambermatic style.
With so many photo apps, it’s about time for Instagram/Facebook to consider premium filters for brands, much like Hipstamaticdid when it was *hip* (pun intended).
Halloween is now gone, but Zombies are always worth mentioning. Specially when they are part of and HTML5 Experiment where players find themselves being chased on an interactive 3D environment built on WebGL.
They Will Eat You is set on a cemetery and you can run for your live and score high amongst your friends. Since it’s damn scary, perhaps i can leave you just with the demo video with original music, all part of this experimental work created by B-Reel.
“Share this chair if you think 1 billion people are on Facebook.”
It’s the kind of update one gets used to when you’re dealing with Facebook for a while.
The social network celebrated 1 billion members with this video, and while it some find it inspiring, the chair metaphor has a more depressing feeling for me, as it represents the state of conformity, of not moving on and being satisfied with the current state of social media.
Because you can be one amongst one billion that uses the cognitive surplus only to share kittens or you can be a part of other forms of participatory culture by writing your own blog, being an editor on Wikipedia or remixing from the Creative Commons.
Stand up from the chair, leave the walled garden, and find all the other things that are much better than Facebook at connecting people.