Honda and Mori Inc. – 3D Designs Archive, Uni-Cub and Beautiful Engines

Honda and Mori Inc., a Japan based creative agency, has been working together on interesting projects since the past few years. I’ve already blogged about one of their interesting projects ‘Honda 3D Design Archives’, a microsite where Honda is shared their 3D design data/models online under Creative Commons 4.0 for personal printing. This was launched when the subject of 3D printing had become quite popular among the marketing teams of various industries and we began seeing more 3D printed work than ever before. Unlike any other automotive brand, Honda was the first one to offer such an archive.

Mori Inc.’s last two initiatives with Honda have also been equally interesting.

OK Go: “I Won’t Let You Down” Music Video

Not a car, but a Honda product, the UNI-CUB is a compact personal mobility device that was featured in OK Go’s song “I Won’t Let You Down” and Morihiro Harano, the founder of Mori Inc. worked with the band to produce this super cool video with over 17 million views on YouTube. The video was shot with drones and there is also a microsite http://iwontletyoudown.com/ where visitors can watch the video, the interview with the band and also create and submit their own visualizations.

IWontLetYouDown_Visualisation1 IWontLetYouDown_Visualisation2

The video was all done in a single take that involved hours of complicated off-camera preparation. A special unit was responsible for the drone: one person to fly it like a remote-controlled plane, another to program GPS sequences and complicated moves, someone to manually operate those sequences, plus someone else to control the drone’s camera, which is able to spin a full 360 degrees. (Japan Times)

Honda: Beautiful Engines

Honda also launched another project ‘Beautiful Engines’ with Mori Inc., Dentsu, Kappuku, Yama and Kaibutsu – a short-film and microsite talking about engines in pop-art theme visualizations. The short film was shown at the Sao Paolo Motor Show in Nov.’14 and also available online on Honda’s social networks.

The key message behind the project is ‘At Honda, our engines don’t just move people and cargo. They move society and history, too. They are engines of change in a very real sense.’

Honda_BeautifulEngines_Site

The microsite shares the look and feel of the video and gives the user quick information in form of short paragraphs, animations and images designed in a pop-art theme. The scrolling effect keep the user engaged and adds to the curiosity of the upcoming content and how the whole journey ends. Even though the mechanic and visuals are great, the content lacks depth and could have a richer timeline with some insider and testimonial stories that add to the ‘visually entertaining’ factor here. The social sharing on each piece of content is quite modern where social media icons are not used but initials of the networks like FTPT – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr encourage the user to click and discover what it actually means – certainly more easily guessed by digital and social experts than the average online user.

To sum it up, Mori Inc. and Honda are collaborating for some beautiful work and we will hopefully see even more interesting work moving forward – time for some wearable technology campaign perhaps? 😉

To view more interesting projects by Mori Inc. visit http://mori-inc.jp/

Honda uses Twitter Cards for 2015 CR-V

After Acura, now Honda is using the Twitter Cards to allow their followers to customize the 2015 CR-V.

The user is engaged with top-line configuration within the tweet – allowing the brand to create more value in making the user aware of the different trims and options available rather than just sharing a link out to the configurator with an image.

Honda_CRV_Tweet

The user begins with selecting a trim, then the drive train and finally the colors. The end result shows the ‘front’ and ‘back’ shot of the car and allowing the user to tweet their configuration and share with their followers. After sharing, serious buyers can proceed with ‘Continue Buying’ where it takes the user to the brand website.

Honda_CRV_Continue_Tweet

The interesting part of the user journey is that the user doesn’t need to re-start the configuration and lands on the last step i.e. color selection. One can always go back and change, but those who are confident with their selection can move forward to complete the entire configuration with accessories etc.

Honda_CRV_Configurator

For serious buyers and auto enthusiasts, this is a good way to engage them and help them learn more about the CR-V.

Here is how it all began with Acura.

Skoda Museum: Virtual Visit with Google Street View

Skoda is using the Google Street View to provide a virtual tour of the ‘Skoda Museum’ in Czech Republic. The museum was reopened two years ago after extensive modernization and Skoda wants to make the exhibition available anytime, anywhere – making it the first automobile virtual museum.
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With the Google Street View, viewers can discover the vehicle collection, the exhibition halls, the shop and surroundings of the museum.
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Skoda Museum shows some historic models like L & K-Škoda 110, Škoda 860, Škoda Superb 4000, 1101 convertible ŠKODA Tudor , ŠKODA Popular Sport ‘Monte Carloand ŠKODA 1000 MB. There are also concept cars like ŠKODA Vision D.
Skoda_Museum_GoogleStreetView4

Google Street View also allows online visitors to visit the online customer center located at ŠKODA Mladá Boleslav, near the Museum. Online visitors can also discover all angles the current range of cars, bikes and origin of the brand accessories.

View the experience here.

Paper Toys – by Audi and BMW

Besides gaming, automotive brands are using their magazines and social media to engage their owners kids as well.

Audi Magazine

Audi_Magazine_USA

Audi USA provides a special ‘Audi kids’ space’ on their official website where visitors can download the A3 Cut-outs and also shop Audi collection. The cutouts can be downloaded as PDFs and also torn from the last page of the Audi Magazine delivered to the owners.

Audi_A3_CutOut

Besides Audi A3 Cut-out, there is also a cut-out to appeal to the racing fans and engage kids by providing them with assets to tell their own story.

Audi_Kids_Space_CutOut

BMW – Personalized Paper Toy

BMW Brasil has an improved version to that of the Audi, where the car can be personalized in terms of the name, colors and wheels. All the user has to do is add a name and make the selection to generate an instantly downloadable PDF.

BMW_Brasil

BMW_Paper_toy

Even though BMW Brasil provides a personalized cut-out version, it does not clearly specify which model it is. That is a missed opportunity to create some familiarity with the kids at a young age and already capture their minds.

BMW Germany however adds additional value targeting probably 10 years and older with printable board games, student plans and coloring books.

BMW_Germany_Fans

However, both the examples are interesting and simple providing the time-poor parents a quick take out. BMW also acts responsible here by not promoting their products only in gaming, to which many parents are opposed and add strict time tables to play video games, but also creating loyalty and expressing ‘Family Care’ in a very subtle way. This also helps them to tap into audience who will probably never play video games and not get enough screen time on TV, iPods and Tablets until after a certain age.

Trick-or-Treat – Target creates Halloween buzz on Instagram

Target and New York-based agency Carrot Creative have launched a virtual trick-or-treat experience on Instagram inspiring viewers to indulge in DIY spirit this Halloween.

The theme is ‘Halloween Hills’ which shows two homes on a hill – one is a trick and the other is a treat. The two houses are tagged to ‘trick’ and ‘treat’ profiles, the user can tap on the their preferred tag and move on to reveal what is the ‘trick’ or ‘treat’.

The “treats” link to Halloween-themed recipes like spider brownies, while the “tricks” go to do-it-yourself projects like a spooky, night-light.

Target_Instagram_HalloweenHills

The campaign involved 15 images with two profiles each showing 30 tutorials and 300 photos for the campaign.

The items used in the DIY profiles can be found in Target stores. To see all the items/creatives search for the campaign hashtag #HalloweenHills. The surprise element is in Trick-or-Treat number 6, where the ‘Bullseye’ mascot is tagged. On clicking the user is taken to the ‘Bullseye’s Closet’ Instagram account where the profile links to the eCommerce enabled site in partnership with Like2Buy.

Target_HalloweenHills_BullseyeCloset

With the Bullseye Clost account, Target is reaching out to users who are looking for pet costumes for Halloween, a rage in times of Halloween nowadays.

This is yet another clever way to leverage the available functionality of Instagram’s tagging feature and driving the engaged users within that moment to push sales online. It not only engages the user with this creative execution but also gives them ideas around Halloween that are enjoyable with little efforts in both time and money.

With this out already we hope to see more fun and interesting executions for Xmas in the US, since they are the first market to champion and release bold ideas.

Check out the virtual experience on Target’s Instagram account here http://instagram.com/target

 

Mercedes-Benz – Interactive Instagram Configurator for GLA

To promote the GLA 250 to the millennials, Mercedes-Benz USA and their agency Razorfish launched a social configurator on Instagram.

The Instagram account called ‘Build Your Own GLA’ lets users create their own custom versions of the car. The experience begins from an account where the user is shown only the car and asked to tap along to begin the configuration. The call-to-action (CTA) begins with asking the user to ‘Tap the photo’ to reveal the tags – which are essentially the other Instagram accounts that contain sun information like colors, wheels, etc.

The first step ‘Choose your color’ shows an account full of various shots of the GLA in the available colors. User can simply select the image of their preferred color and continue the experience.

The second step involves selecting a wheel which gives a good close-up of the alloys available.

After choosing the wheel, the user has to select the roof – where again the shots have a great visibility and concentrate only on that aspect of the feature, without forcing the user to look at the whole car over and over again.

The fourth and last step involves selecting the preferred grill. After the grill is selected, the user is moved to a fresh account containing the summary of their configured GLA.

By summary, we mean the image now shows their preferred color, wheel, roof and grills. On tapping the image, the user is congratulated and given the specs first hand eg. the name of the color, the package (e.g. Sports), roof name, etc. with a starting price tag. Furthermore, the user is also asked to take the picture to their nearest dealer. There is a disclaimer in the end listing what is not included and prompting users to contact their MBUSA Instagram account directly for queries, questions etc.

Conclusion

Razorfish can still pull it off. Good to know! Mercedes-Benz is in love with Instagram, as we can see so many executions in different countries using Instagram. It is no wonder that they have championed Instagram in the automotive industry at least. I was honestly expecting Audi to come up with something like this and could have never thought that Mercedes-Benz would end up doing this.

Even though the whole social configurator thing works, there is one small area for improvement. In the last leg of the account, where the user is shown the car – we could have filled up the account with more details e.g. 15 seconds clips showing the car in motion and also each and every image that has been selected could have been shown below the main image as a summary of the end product.

If we don’t want to promote what the user has already selected, this dead space could have been used to promote ‘Accessories’. I bet the after-sales guys would have loved it 😉

There is always room for improvement, but we must not forget that even today in over 90% of digital agencies there would have been enough people on both agency and client side, who would have killed the idea assuming the user won’t go through the long journey and the pain of creating so many accounts and assets. Mercedes-Benz US has overcome doubts as such and once again challenged the creatives in the auto industry. It is always great to see such inspiring work.

Audi – your move! 😉

View the GLA250 Instagram account here http://instagram.com/gla_build_your_own

Hermès – La Maison Des Carrés

When Hermès announced on their Facebook Page ‘Come closer…Closer still…’ with an image showing a character and scarfs from a key hole – we expected yet another online experience but certainly not an e-commerce site with a beautiful storytelling illustration and animated characters.

HermesLaMaisonDesCarres

The website is a beautiful collection of silk scarves and accessories portrayed in a storytelling format and the site design naturally leads the user through ‘La Maison’. The UX is pretty simple to navigate in a one-pager format taking you through different rooms showcasing the collection. The e-commerce function is enabled for France, Europe, US, Japan, Australia and Canada, except China.

Website welcome

Upon loading, the site welcomes you with a pop-up message giving a brief overview on what the user can find here – making them aware that the silk scarves can be found by size, colour, material or theme. Of course the borders of the pop-up are ‘orange’ in color…oh so Hermès!! Love it!

Hermes_Welcome_PopUp

Homepage

The website loads with the top view of ‘La Maison’ showing the signature ‘Orange Box’ in the background with a team welcoming the visitors. There are various subtle animations in the background giving an aesthetic appeal to ‘La Maison’ and these characters/illustrations have been quite common in many Hermès interactive microsites in the past as well. ‘La Maison’ shows different rooms showcasing the collection, each room telling its own story.

Hermes_LaMaisonDesCarres_Homepage

Silk Rooms

Several rooms showcase the Silk collection classified as ‘Silk Bandanas’, ‘Maxi-Twilly’, ‘Silk Knots’ and also theme wise in form of ‘Graphic & Abstract’, ‘Animal World & Wildlife’ and ‘Cocoa Color’.

Hermes_Silk_Rooms

At the bottom of each scarf, its size is displayed and upon clicking the window expands into an e-commerce window, where the user can select their color and either purchase it or add it to their wish list. There is also a brief history behind the design of the scarf and a recommendation of related patterns below it. As the user is engaged and already exploring the scarf, there are questions and decision making processes going on in the background. Hermès clearly recognizes this and provides some ‘Service’ options that address the usual questions or thoughts the viewer may be having. These include, sharing their contact details and timings to inquire about the product, delivery and shipping options, short tip on preserving this item so the user knows what after sales efforts this purchase involves and lastly providing details on gifting this item. For both traditional and digital savvy users, there are options to ‘share’ and ‘print’ the item detail page as well.

Item_Detail_Page

Equestrian Rooms

Of course any Hermès communication without the horse will be incomplete. To give a subtle touch of the brand roots there are two rooms dedicated to the Equestrian collection as ‘Horse & Equestrian’ and ‘History & Mythology’ showing a special collection of scarves with the horse in design and the famous historical design pieces respectively.

Hermes_Horse_Design

I like how these specials scarfs are given their own space and identity signifying how important these pieces are to Hermès. It only helps to communicate this but also allows design and UX wise to simplify and allow users to navigate and ‘discover’ this content, which may have otherwise been missed had it not been classified under its own meaning.

‘Silk Knots’ and ‘Tie Break’ Apps

There are two rooms for their recent apps as well on ‘Silk Knots’ and ‘Tie Break’. I love how their respective detailed pages showcase the welcome video and tease users to download the app with an animated teaser and visuals from the app – without destroying the overall site design and look & feel. The button designs and color patterns for the Apple and Google Play stores are selected in sync with the overall page design showing how much attention is given to details. I love when designers and clients pay attention to such details. Secretly I am hoping that a black button was never presented and looking at the overall site design I am sure the designer got it right in the first place! 😉

Silk_Knots_AppPage

TieBreak_AppPage

Color Cocoa Collection

CocoaColorTeaser

There is yet another special teaser playing with the sensory side of the user. A special collection of scarves for the ‘Chocolate Lovers’ inviting them to indulge their ‘silk tooth’ – yet another clever way to get the users attention to a collection that may have otherwise got unnoticed in the huge Maison.

CocoaColor_Page

 Additional Functionalities and ‘La Chambre Des Garcons’

On the top left a navigation bar is hidden that provides users additional option like search, filtering the items via size, color, materials, themes and even price. There is also a section for men ‘La Chambre Des Garçons’ showing a selection of silk scarves and ties.

Hermes_SideBar

Hermes_LaMaisonDesGarcons

There are also additional link outs to the corporate site and the Hermès Editeur site (An online gallery of editions of ‘works of art’ on silk).

So why this website?

The question why Hermès would move away from their main site and create this site is pretty obvious. They want to appeal to the younger generation who may not be so well versed with the history of the brand. Surely many won’t be able to afford these items, but this is to educate and inspire them to be the future customers of Hermès, learn about the brand and see the huge collection they have to offer.

It is a great example of using storytelling and expressing their brand to a younger audience while giving their current audience and promising prospects an opportunity to buy these items online.

Also the current Hermès website owing to its design and structure could not do this job of clearly showcasing the collection of more than 400+ scarves in such an exciting and user friendly way.

View this beautiful online experience here http://usa.hermes.com/la-maison-des-carres.html

The online campaign is also supported by a beautiful short film showing imagining how ‘La Maison’ comes to life