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/

“The Sound of Porsche: Stories of the brand.”

‘The Sound of Porsche’ is not just about the engines roaring anymore. There is more to it.

Porsche has launched a premium pop-store next to the High Line, Manhattan on 14th Street – yes the meatpacking district where all that cool things happen in NYC right!

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Andre Oosthuizen, VP Marketing for Porsche Cars North America stressed that the aim of the pop-up store is to connect with people in new ways and tell the brand stories via videos. It is more about connecting with the future buyers and attracting people who may find dealer showrooms intimidating or annoying to begin with.

The Media Stations with noise-cancelling Bose Headphones

The media stations offer 16 custom records created by Porsche, which are actually short videos and can be enjoyed with the noise-cancelling Bose QuietComfort headphones. The content of these videos are short films showing Porsche clippings from the racing world, Hollywood and even brand videos on Porsche design DNA with animated sketches.

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Highlights include ‘Electrifying Performance’ and ‘One of Us’ which feature Porsche racecar drivers Mark Webber and Patrick Dempsey, Boris Apenbrink (Porsche enthusiast) featured in ‘Porsche Exclusive – The Most Personal Car’ and Sally Carrera in ‘A Porsche Goes to Hollywood.’

Sound Lab Virtual Drive Experience

The lab is also powered by Bose, where the iconic 911 Carrera 4S Coupe can be experienced virtually through sound and visual mapping, selecting a metropolitan melody (urban drive), country cadence (mountain pass) or racing rhythm (the Nurburgring).

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A virtual drive experience experienced in a store is certainly better than any app or microsite viewed in 3D glasses!

Porsche Design Store and a Design Competition

How can the Porsche pop-up not have any design products for sale and not intrigue you enough to participate in it! There are enough sophisticated Porsche Design products that can be purchased and a ‘blank canvas’ where you can express what the ‘Sound of Porsche’ means to you.

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The designs created in the Design Corner can be uploaded to the social networks with hashtag #SoundsOfPorsche and the best artist will win a trip to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany (I have been there three times and it is such a beautiful museum).

The Experiential Side of Automotive Brands

In our marketing & communications industry we have been constantly hearing about ‘Experiential’ and brands like ‘Audi’ (with Audi City), ‘Apple’, ‘Tesla’ and ‘Nike’ have been one of the first ones to champion the store/showroom experiences in line with their brand personality and the advanced technology.

Many brands try really hard to transfer and reflect their brand image in a physical atmosphere but fail or end up compromising due to low budgets, lack of good talent or simply because of lack of knowledge when it comes to technology and innovation.

At the end of the day it is all about innovation and staying relevant with the environment around us. This does not mean that the dealerships should die and you should throw all your money into the product development and personal stores but use the knowledge and current available resources to enhance what you have now. A very simple start for this could be to provide iPads/tablets across dealerships and allow visitors to surf your site comfortably, read a bit about the car in peace and then have a dealer interact with you, answer your questions, etc. There is probably already a coffee machine or a small cafe in many of these places, why not leave an iPad there asking people to share their thoughts, experience at the dealership etc. – this way we learn about them and use the real experience to see where we can improve. (This is just an example in the current context of automotive dealerships and pop-up shops).

Of course, I cannot stress enough on placing big-screen PCs or iMac’s where the ‘configurator’ is permanently open. Many marketers don’t feel comfortable putting these up in the dealerships because they feel that the car is already there or assume that people may have checked the configurator online. It is essential to leave a little room for people to explore the product in peace, without constantly having to socialize and small-talk with the dealers. I tried the Nike shoe customizer in their Covent Garden store in London 3 years ago and I still remember and talk about it. Now I am writing about it! Though I did not buy the shoe there and then, I explored it and continued the activity at home with my friends to decide how I should customize my shoe. Then I went in store to speak to the Nike guys, to cross-check some stuff and finally placed my order. Not saying that every user will return to ask for a car but people will surely remember and talk about it!

Furthermore, where possible, the brand partnerships should be revealed in the physical environment too, to enhance the experience. That is exactly what Porsche is doing with Bose. What a great opportunity for Bose to get some recognition in New York where the majority of the city is donning the ‘Beats by Dre’ headphones and hogging all the limelight, thanks to their recent Apple acquisition. Although, secretly I feel that Porsche and ‘Beats by Dre’ make a good team and Bose to me is very BMW or Audi.

Porsche ‘CAN DO’ such initiatives as they have ‘championed’ all the pillars that make their DNA in terms of technology, design, performance, innovation and even brand experiences online (Premium website and social media content) and offline (Premium dealerships and beautiful Porsche Museum). Once your brand is able to champion or strengthen its core product and services, such initiatives are welcomed and work. There is no point providing a premium experiential atmosphere when your site is all clunky, your social media is outdated and your sales and customer service team appears to be disinterested. Every touch point is the face of your brand and it best put on a huge smile, be patient and help the customers decide.

What happened here is that Audi City may have been one of the firsts to provide an enhanced digital experience in store but they did not innovate it further (well not yet). And now we have this beautiful experiential pop-up from Porsche that hits all the sweet spots of what the people are currently enjoying – music, videos and premium design products + a canvas to express themselves. Even if you don’t participate in the competition, you will take some pictures in store and share on your social networks. Who doesn’t know Porsche and who would not want to know what’s going on in this pop-up store?

The Sound of Porsche will be open to the public Sept. 16 through Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you are from the Ferrari or Maserati team and reading this – YOUR TURN! Show us what you’ve got!! 😉

Hermès – Apps and Orange Boxes Observatory

Hermès is certainly having a great year. Following up from my last post on ‘Je Suis Un Cheval‘ and ‘Saddle Personaliser‘ here are the other initiatives by Hermès that certainly top the luxury fashion brand digital campaigns list.

The Break App

The App is best described by the brand on their YouTube channel as

A random dose of Hermès
The handy app to help you take a break from the harsh realities of office, airport or public transport…or even a dull date.
Pull the tie and let the game begin!

Each time the user opens the app there is a new surprise content in form of short films, games, tie pattern videos, funny stories, new collection info and even tutorials/tips on how to tie a tie. The fun part is that the user has to pull on the signature orange tie to reveal a new piece of content.

Silk Knots App

The Silk Knots App shows the latest collection of scarves and step-by-step guide on they can be worn in so many interesting ways, as we see in the video preview.

Besides the apps that focus on their signature collections, Hermès also launched an interactive version of their bi-annual magazine on tablets Le Monde d’Hermès.

Users interact with each piece of content and create an origami bestiary out of a selection of images and share these with their friends. The call-to-action drives readers directly to the store locator with the message saying ‘ Where can I find Le Monde d’Hermès?

After all this great work, there is finally some fun content on the Orange Boxes, the DNA of the Hermès packaging and corporate brand identity. I really like how Hermès tries to imagine what the Orange Boxes are actually up to. A series of short films show different shapes and sizes of Hermès boxes doing funny things representing a wild creature…I mean we see animation revealing animal-like behaviour in a fun way. The series of videos have been released on their Facebook page and on a playlist on the YouTube Channel. So far there are 6 videos, may be more to come.

To sum up, the color orange became a part of the Hermès packaging since the World War II post era, when there was shortage of paper supplies and orange colored bags were mostly more easily available and till today the color remains and the orange boxes have evolved over the years and look as luxurious as their products.

Hopefully there is an app coming on the ‘Orange Boxes’. Oooo! I have ideas….but won’t give it away here 😉

Best Game Trailer – Batman Arkham Knight?

Could this be the best game trailer ever? It makes the Batman movie trailers look weak….

There is a really cool teaser of ‘The Batmobile Experience’ on the official website. By the looks of the car in the teaser I am surely waiting to see what this will be about. Stay tuned and you can also pre-order the game here now https://www.batmanarkhamknight.com/#preorder

Batman Arkham Knight

 

 

It’s a tie – Maserati Alfieri or Lamborghini Huracan

It’s a tie…..

It’s a tie…..because…both Alfieri and Huracan are fantastic. I have always had to slice my brand heart into so many pieces to make space for my favorite brands and at the moment, Maserati and Lamborghini are fighting for their share not only in the auto industry but also in my heart, a little fan, of both cars and digital.

Maserati Alfieri Concept

Maserati recently surprised us with their Super Bowl spot on Ghibli and that one was surely from the shadows, waiting for the right moment to step out and shine. It is yet another powerful car but today we focus on Alfieri.

This morning, at the Geneva Motor Show, Maserati launched their Concept Car, Alfieri – named after one of the brothers, Alfieri Maserati, who was an engineer by profession and one of the founders. The car is an absolute ‘bellezza‘ when it comes to design with such fine touches of ‘Maserati Blue’ refining the details in a subtle and premium way. What I really like is the fact that the beauty and the feel of the Alfieri has been considered in showcasing the car details on its website as well and it does not just stop at the end of the finished Concept Car and the set up of the Geneva Motor Show booth. The place, that will be its home online i.e. the site, is also protected and reflects the same emotion and excitement. Clean, beautiful shots of Alfieri, a top line design background with a touch of history, sketches of the Alfieri, exclusive content for people signed up with Maserati and a range of content ‘Coming Soon’ with a splash of Social Stream showing moderated posts with hashtag #MaseratiAlfieri.

What I loved the most is that the site welcomes you with a short trailer that injects a roaring energy and boasts of a few minutes of pride, following you through the short crisp content. You are emotionally set off and it does not require a boring speech or a 1,000 word para. Less is indeed more and many brands fail to get that. The only down side is that it is a little clunky on the tablets, not sure whether it is due to the load on the site right now with a lot of visitors or if it is just a result of the technical glitches. Although, this should have been smooth, but in the times now where we interact with apps so much, we tend to expect a lot from luxury brand websites. However, to be honest most of luxury fashion sites, who are trend setters and give courage to other brands to follow, also have a little clunky sites on tablets. Maserati – don’t over think this tablet point, you make me very very happy today! I love you and keep up the good simple top-class work!

Maserati Alfieri

(The image shown above is what I have put together taking screenshots from the site, to show you. Please visit the site to enjoy it for yourself http://www.maseratialfieri.com/home.html and I leave you to discover the exclusive content)

Lamborghini Huracán

Lambo – It takes a lot of courage to continue the legacy of the brand and a team of hyper dedicated individuals. A passionate team not only in the design and engineering department but also in the marketing department, who show respect to the sweat, blood and tears taken to produce these bulls – by giving them an identity in any touch points they are communicated on. Lamborghini recently also celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a bold tagline of ‘100 years of innovation in half the time’, a press conference very well led by CEO, Stephan Winkelmann.

He is a great presenter and every time I see him on the stage, I am so engaged and naturally focused and lost in his words. The speech today was bold, as always and he makes it all look so simple, as if they are X-MEN of the automotive industry and born with this, that it comes so naturally to them, as if they cannot help themselves and stop themselves from being so perfect. Like I said, it is a tie. Maserati and Lamborghini, my Italian stallions!

The Huracán teaser started with the ‘Project Hexagon’ microsite containing four-episode series that followed a trio of Brits trying to locate the Huracán. The website now redirects to the current launch site http://huracan.lamborghini.com/

Lamborghini Huracan

The film is a complete reflection of how a bull will run around the streets of Gotham on wheels with absinthe in blood veins instead of red blood cells. A pure treat to watch Huracán having some fun. All we need is a follow up episode that shows a Batmobile appear on the street and then the s*** will get real, for real! Moving on from the film, even the usual content like media gallery and downloads is very well selected and displayed. An extra effort has been made to showcase the sound and honor it as a part of the design and give it the same level of attention it has been given in the build process. A lot of car brands ignore these ‘roaring’ details. Mind you, Maserati has its own SoundCloud page where you can enjoy all the raw engine sounds right from the heart of Maserati.

Maserati_SoundCloud

Back to Lambo, even the dealer detail page is very much on brand and respects the brand design ethos within the campaign look and feel. The ‘Explore’ section takes you to the main website’s Huracán car configurator section which is another romance on its own. It is something you have to experience for yourself and just enjoy playing with it, for many of us cannot afford the car and Lamborghini knows that. Nevertheless, it gives us an opportunity to feel it and get involved.

A lot of luxury automotive brands homepages look like a fish market. Literally, a lot of CTAs, no romance and no story. A pure result of boardroom sales pitch. What I love is that brands like Maserati and Lamborghini make an effort to invest in experiences outside of their ‘official site’ and inject exclusive content on the model they are launching. It is extremely important to seduce the crowd now as you build a relationship with not only prospects who are looking to reflect their identity in a perfect and subtle way, but you also attract a huge crowd of automotive enthusiasts and influencers, who then talk to the prospects on your behalf – something that is an ugly buzzword in the media boardrooms as ‘earned media’ – absolutely detest this word. Passion is not earned media 😦

Like I said, it is a tie. Maserati and Lamborghini, my Italian stallions – I am so very proud to be your fan and I learn so much from your web experiences. Of course, there is a lot more to be said for what you do in Social Media Landscape, I could write a small book on it 😉 . But for now, let us today celebrate these two pieces of content that made my day! Thank you so much for believing in yourself and doing such great work inspiring people like me.

Toronto Silent Film Festival – The Instagram Time Machine

A refreshing idea from Toronto-based agency, Cossette, to promote the ‘Toronto Silent Film Festival’ to the new generation. Follow the Toronto Film Festival’s Instagram account http://instagram.com/tsff2014 and check the stream horizontally. You will notice a virtual timeline/tour featuring Charlie Chaplin, expressed in a nice infographic of images, text and videos.

I love the design and attention to details. The simple use of a film strip, use of classic font style and the attention to detail on using a unique cover for each video thumbnail where the text is easily readable.

TTFS

A brilliant ‘hack’ that will work on mobile and not on desktop. But who cares really, this is a 100% mobile idea and Instagram is best experienced on mobile anyways. Furthermore, any additional content will ruin this timeline, so it comes for a little price to maintain this content, which is a small price to pay. It cannot be better than this anyways 😉

I hope Cossette win a prize for this! Really, it is simply fantastic! Follow TTFS and check it now http://instagram.com/tsff2014

Instagram – from the ’80s

Too ‘retro’ for 2014 but a really nice video remembering the ’80s. Well thank god it never happened in the ’80s! I love the way it ends ‘What the hell is the world wide web?’