Recently, I attended AdTech in the Big Apple and my passion for what I do was immensely reignited. The Javits Convention Center was packed with hundreds of speakers and exhibitors and easily thousands of attendees; it was like a candy store for digital media professionals.
Mick Ebeling’s Keynote: How Brands Will Change the World
At the conference, I had the pleasure of listening to one of the most inspiring keynotes I’ve heard in a long time. Mick Ebeling, the founder of Not Impossible Labs, described how his company is creating “a sustainable cycle of collaboration, inspiring innovation, compelling others to action and, ultimately, making the impossible, possible.” By taking ideas and combining them with technology – and the thinkers behind the ideas – Mick and his team have helped those who could only dream about a different life. Not Impossible Labs started with the The Eyewriter, which helped LA artist Tempt One (fully paralyzed due to ALS) draw again – with his eyes. Mick then described one of their more recent endeavors, Project Daniel, where the team went to Sudan equipped with nothing but a 3-D printer, some spools of filament and a few tools to create 3-D printed prosthetic limbs for a boy named Daniel.
Not Impossible Labs’ purpose is four-fold:
- Helping through making.
- Technology for the sake of humanity.
- Help one, help many.
- Tell everybody.
How does this relate to advertisers? Project Supporters like, Intel and Precipart, prove that doing good is good branding. According to Mick, advertising is how to change the world.
Creative + Technology in Digital Media
Mick’s keynote really got me thinking: his projects truly marry creative ideas with technology, resulting in solutions that impact consumers’ lives, so much so, that others are talking about it days, weeks, months and even years later. Looking at brands who have done something similar, it’s easy to confirm that advertising – digital advertising – IS changing the world.
Unilever’s Dove, for example, has empowered women across the globe through their Campaign for Real Beauty. In Australia, Dove created the world’s first makeover targeted at advertisements instead of women. The campaign introduced an app that let Facebook users choose a feel good message about women’s bodies and use Dove’s media buy to display these ads through Facebook. It’s a whole new way of empowering women to be in the driver’s seat of advertising.
Nivea, the global skin- and body-care brand owned by Beiersdorf AG, won the Grand Prix in the Mobile category at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for their Protection Ad, because they’ve been able to successfully provide parents with a valuable utility while living up to Nivea’s brand promise of protection. Nivea is not new to campaigns that combine creative and technology while remaining on-brand; prior to The Protection Ad, Nivea leveraged their print ads to provide a solar-powered mobile device charger to the masses through the Nivea Solar Ad Charger.
Another Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity winner, adidas® NEO, showed us how to create an interactive window shopping experience using smartphones, making it easy to shop without an app or scanning various QR codes.
In Russia, Alfa Bank has integrated wearable technology with their product to encourage customers to save more by staying fit; customers can link a high-interest savings account with their Fitbit, Jawbone UP or RunKeeper tracking devices to move funds from a normal account to a high-interest savings one with every step they take.
Finally, for a small village in northeast Japan, Inakadate, where rice is a staple for survival, the recipe to successfully saving this struggling village with a drop in rice sales was creative + technology. By creating art in rice fields and using “rice-code,” the village enabled visitors to scan the rice art with their phones like a QR code and purchase rice. Ground, the men’s most primitive outdoor media, became the newest.
The results? Awards and recognition, yes. Massive brand storytelling and reach, absolutely. Most importantly, valuable consumer impact.
Creative + Tech Focus
So how can advertisers make an impact at the local level? We’ve been exploring ways in which creative + technology can equip brands with the tools to be able to reach those consumers who are eager to explore new ways to interact with them.
Beacons have been the talk-of-the-town this year. They’re being used in malls in France, at the Miami International Airport, in Macy’s stores and have even generated some reactions from New Yorkers who recently spotted them in phone booths. There’s still more testing to be done but for a local-focused agency like us, beacons show a lot of promise for clients who have national brands with multiple locations. The possibilities of reach, creative and memorable campaigns are great, and the opportunity to impact consumers who are looking for local offers and solutions are even greater. We’ve been exploring these opportunities in-house and on behalf of our clients in verticals that go far beyond retail.
How do brands get started? With any media program, it’s important for advertisers not to lose sight of what they’re trying to achieve. Be open to testing and understand that there are some very real-world constraints that will encourage you to exercise your creativity. Be sure to ask yourself/your team these questions to help you get on the right track:
- What’s your purpose? What are you trying to achieve?
- What KPI’s and metrics will be tracked to monitor success?
- Are you offering something relevant and valuable to consumers?
- Will moving forward help them remember your brand?
There are so many inspiring creative + technology media projects out there. Is yours the next one?