Ford Explorer – Interactive Print Ads

Ford Explorer and BBR Saatchi & Saatchi, Israel just made it easy to interact with print ads i.e. without an app!

For the new SUV, they created a series of 3 interactive print ads which give visual demonstrations of the main features in sync with the creative look and feel.

Ford definitely recognizes the need to innovate and use new methods to reach out to the prospects. Considering how fast the technology is growing and being adapted by the users, it is about time that we start seeing more of such ads.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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’.

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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.

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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! 😉

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Color Cocoa Collection

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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.

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 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.

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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

“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!! 😉

Evian asks Golf fans to ‘Tweet The Ball’

Evian has launched their new campaign ‘Tweet The Ball’ targeting Twitter users and golf players to celebrate the 20th year of ‘The Evian Championship’, the ladies golf tournament.

From 11 to 14 September, Twitter users can play the game to find balls hidden around the 18-hole championship course at Evian Les Bains and win daily prizes + a grand prize. The interactive microsite allows the users to guess the location of the golf ball on the grid and tweet the Google map coordinates. The sections are numbered from 1 to 24 by A to J.

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Once the fans guess where the ball could be, they can enter the gird number in the ‘Tweet Box field’ already indicating the user that the campaign hashtag #TweetTheBall must be used in the message. It is definitely a good practice to pre-populate the field box with the campaign hashtag as many users miss it due to being unaware of it or simply due to laziness.

The prizes are great and I have been so tempted that I have already tweeted twice. I want to try again (many times), but I am worried Evian will block me! I am not so driven to win the mega prize, a five-star weekend at the Evian Royal Resort, because it seems pretty unreachable for such a guess driven game but I really do want to win their daily goodies that I can keep and share with my friends. Furthermore, I really do like the idea to have a few prizes rather than a grand prize, as many people tend to think that they will never win and hence don’t get involved. Opportunity to win prizes that are reachable act as a drive for people to get involved, share their experience and recommend to their friends.

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I also love the way the site is designed and shares so much information in such a user-friendly and precise way while leaving enough space for the users to play on the same page. And the best part, it is mobile compatible too 🙂 What it lacks though is a huge call-to-action for people to ‘share’ this online. But then it is only for 4 days, so let this be a special Twitter universe thing right! Why should Facebook have all the fun? 😉

Enjoy guessing and don’t forget to use the campaign hashtag #TweetTheBall. Play the game now on http://tweettheball.evian.com/play/

 

 

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 😉