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/

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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 😉

Cool kids on Snapchat…including me ;)

Personal Branding – Let’s begin with this for a change

You can see personal branding right there in the title. No, I am not a celebrity. I am just using this post to begin with an apology to my followers/readers. I have been just too busy to write as my social life + my social apps & jobs have swallowed me way more than necessary lately. Now I have added another social network to my list, SNAPCHAT and I really want to tell you about this.

More Personal Branding – backed by some numbers. People love numbers…here you go! 

Currently I am touching 1800 pictures on Instagram, 7000+ check-ins on Foursquare/Swarm, 9500+ tweets, 2000+ on Facebook, 2000 Spotify songs & 10,000 photos taken on my iPhone since Sep’13. I have been a hyper cool kid, hyper connected, distracted, excited and even hyper ignorant to my blog lately. This will change. I will find time & get back on the scene. Now serious stuff starts below…ha!

Cool Kids (and Cool Brands) are on Snapchat

Here’s the thing. ‘Facebook is dead. Long live Facebook.’

Too strong a start for you? Well let me break it down for you – Facebook was my first social network crush, affair, love and an upcoming divorce. Facebook have come a long way and we have a lot to thank them for rather than point fingers at them but lately they have been on a spree of buying smaller networks to have control. Which is fine but then just because the number of audience on a new network is less, compared to Facebook, then it doesn’t mean that it is fail or has not taken off etc. Facebook has been around for way too long & is a giant roping in many services.

Those looking for something that is not owned by Facebook – please welcome Snapchat!

Snapchat is a bit of a breather. It does not leave you anything to look back to. It destroys the message as soon it is viewed and sent and another option is to have the message live up to 24 hours and then it is destroyed. It is a kind of social network that celebrates our short attention spans and impatient selves, thanks to technology.

Some of you now must be wondering…What is Snapchat and why am I still reading this? I am too lazy to download and check it out…but let’s see if this article saves some effort. It will. So before you close this window read on. And yes there are ‘filters’…I know you are suddenly interested now.

How does Snapchat work? (Tip: Download the app while you read below – if you want to learn on the go)

Snapchat1

Once you download and register – open the camera.

Top Navigation

Top left is to control the flash on/off and top right is to select front/back facing camera.

Center button

With one click you can take a picture and if you keep it pressed, you start taking a video. For images you can select for how many seconds should the image appear for your friends to see, max 10 seconds. (Short attention spans – an insight – you see!). The arrow down button is to ‘Save’ the image to your camera gallery. The boxy+ button is to add it as a story.

Text

To add text, simply click on the image once you have captured it and start typing. You can also select the doodling tool & doodle. Scroll through the color palette to select your choice of color.

 Filters

Once you have captured your Snap, slide to the right and it’ll give you basic filters and there’s even a black & white.

You probably get the gist of it. It is pretty basic & can be fast. You need to get used to it & be reactive and spontaneous to go to the level of ‘Storytelling’

 Snapchat Stories

Grubhub shared a story on Snapchat a few hours ago today. Those who see this post today, probably have a chance to experience it first hand today if you are able to still find it online. I took screenshots, because it is a very good example to show Snapchat users how they can get involved.

Snapchat2

It’s National Hot Dog day – so Grubhub decided to have some fun on Snapchat & engage the audience who will otherwise Snapchat Hot Dogs anyways today.

If you see these screenshots, which I have placed in the order as it appears, you’ll notice how within just 60 seconds, Grubhub has rolled out a call-to-action for their followers and even shown ‘HOW’ it has to be done on Snapchat.

If you click on a friend to chat to them, you can send the photo/screenshot to them that you saved in the camera gallery. (See Step 2 in the image)

This is a pretty neat example showing how brands can use Snapchat and involve people who are still trying to figure out how Snapchat works. There is a comfort level for the users and they address that some users still struggle to use Snapchat because a majority of us are so used to clear labels across the Internet. It is a good idea to walk the followers through and grow with them. Earn that comfort level side by side on a tool that many people I know just shun it because they don’t get how it works.

This is certainly not a flaw; it is the future of tech. Minimal design is the future and with wearables tech coming up in other news, icons & advanced technology, with even lesser and automated steps, will become more widespread. We have to adapt.

I hope these screenshots and an example of story help further to understand the user and marketer way of using Snapchat.

I know you must be thinking now…where did the Cool Kids part go. It is here.

Cool Kids on Instagram – ‘Casey Neistat’ and ‘Audi’

Ladies & Gentlemen, our famous New York based YouTube filmmaker – Casey Neistat, is the ‘coolest’ kid on Snapchat. And I am really trying to be cool like him on Snapchat…I am really cool otherwise too 😉

Why is Casey Neistat a cool kid on Snapchat?

Because he gets it & he is not afraid to try. No he did not pay me to write this and does not even know me. But may be he will know me now. I still don’t want to get paid for this advertising. I am a TRUE FAN!

Casey is one of the coolest filmmakers around and has embraced YouTube when it was taking off in all sorts of short-film making world online. He is well aware that Snapchat stories means videos too & bam, he picked it up just like we all should.

Casey uploads about 4-5 Snapchats daily, I guess. And has even incorporated it into his top social network business card. Here’s the screenshot I took that I really really love & would like to develop something similar for myself personally attached to my CV 😉

IMG_9965

Casey is making an effort to take out time & share interesting experiences on Snapchat. It’s like you can see what he is doing when he is not filming, how he prepares for films, some personal experiences that can be shared with public, cool restaurant reviews and for this non-stop entertainment he has even backed up the batteries. Disclaimer: Snapchat addiction can drain batteries. And if your personal stats are like mine on social networks, then get ready to charge your phone for an extra round during the day.

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We need cool kids like Casey to ‘assure’ the talent in our industry like celebrity endorsements, marketers, brand managers, interns, creative directors, account managers, clients, clients who don’t get social media, clients who want to be cool, clients who want to be clients, …’assure’ that it is OKAY to NOT BE PERFECT at all times & real-time is so much more fun and authentic than locking up copywriters in booths and making them go through 5 rounds of changes, just because people want to contribute more in terms of competition of giving feedback, rather than adding value & understanding what ‘social media’ actually means and make it so perfect that it is so numb and dumb and superficial, that it doesn’t really do its job.

Opinion. A very strong opinion.

I still believe that 70% of our digital industry still does not understand that social media can be so simple & the beauty of it is that it does not need to be superficially perfect. It is one of the rare areas where we are allowed to talk freely and let go sometimes, to keep it real and original.

I think you need to watch some of Casey’s videos to see just how cool it is to capture some moments in a natural way & this is the real storytelling, than micro managing every single dialogue that is shared by a brand and make it look like the most dry-cleaned and social proof message in the history of social media.

Another Cool Kid – Audi – also a well known brand 😉

So Audi is young and plays it safe when it comes to their brand. But on Snapchat, they are wayyyy off brand and have a refreshing unexpected side of sharing social content. Their recent partnership with ‘Pretty Little Liars’ is surprising & Audi is posting funny Snapchats with hints on the next season, in creative executions, that are not Audi like. ‘Emojis’ are the new copy here as clues to what will happen in the next episode.

pretty-little-liars-audi-clues-july-22-silence-of-e-lamb

Emotional Conclusion

Emotional because I am disappointed that brands are so slow on taking up Snapchat & I am in meetings discussing Facebook fan growth and reach at least 4 hours every week.

Can you creative directors please wake up the industry, learn and embrace such networks and follow a new way to express ‘brand’ content. Make it more fun, more reachable, more connected & more comfortable to consume. Desktop is so irritating!

General Disclaimer: I am a cool kid on Snapchat but only with my close friends for now. When I become a celeb, you can follow me 😉

Reality Disclaimer for the Brand Manager

I am not saying throw your brand guidelines out of the window. Use this platform to add an element of surprise & an opportunity to get noticed. Don’t be afraid to break through the clutter.

Already on Snapchat and ‘been there done that’…then download TUNEPICS. (Stay tuned for the next blog post on TUNEPICS)

Download Links to

Snapchat https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/snapchat/id447188370?mt=8

Tunepics https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tunepics/id796420945?mt=8

Snapchat Doodle Tip

Buy one of these for a very ‘fine’ DOODLING experience on Snapchat. Enjoy!

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‘Game of Thrones’ Fan Tweets Turned into a Digital Iron Throne

Of course HBO did this. Of course they chose the right partner to do this as well – 360i.

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#TakeTheThrone is the hashtag for the latest Season 4 of Game of Thrones on HBO. With its agency 360i, HBO launched a website where all the conversations online on key networks Facebook, Twitter and Instagram featured with the #TakeTheThrone transforms into a digital throne. More than 6 million people watched the fourth-season premiere and tweeted enough to make this beautiful digital throne which animates into a throne of 1000’s of ‘word’ swords in this case.

The website is quite heavy since it is loaded up with so much content and every click on the sword displays content based on what network is selected on the footer i.e. Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Viewers can further share this content on social networks and also add their own content featuring the #TakeTheThrones to add more swords to the throne 😉 Participants can also win a trip to San Diego in July to get a chance to sit on ‘The Real Iron Throne’ at Comic-Con.

It is a brilliant and simple idea to use the hype and content online and reflect it in such an interactive way featuring the main hero of the show – THE THRONE.

I hope this website continues till the end and transforms words into the real winner of the throne. So far, I guess I will see Khaleesi on this website 😉

Check it out for yourself here and read through some really cool posts by GOT fans http://takethethrone.com/

Hermès Défilé Autumn-Winter 2014 campaign

Refreshing! A pure luxury!

We rarely come across ‘Fashion’ brand websites that do not require you to click at least 5-6 times to get to the final destination page. And getting more in exchange of doing less and getting it in just 1-2 clicks online today is certainly a luxury. Hermès made an effort to identify and reflect the ‘less is more’ and ‘online user behavior insights’ in their recent ‘Défilé’ Autumn-Winter 2014 collection microsite.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 18.04.05

The landing page loads with a video starting in the background and showing a thin designer strip which upon hovering over shows a thumbnail of the outfit worn by the next model. You can click on it and skip the other episodes and watch the cat-walk you like. This is the simple and basic part.

What is best about this is if you notice the ‘Instagram’ icon on the top right. It shows a stream of Instagram images – displaying the time it was taken and the number of likes it received. Clicking on the image will open the ‘Instagram’ account in a new window and does not take open it in the same window. Many brands ignore these small details that can greatly enhance a desired user experience.

Hermes Defile

The site is available in obviously two languages – English and French and also shares Call-to-action to visit the main Hermès.com website and also share the experience online via Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The Social Share copies and images are also optimized relating to the content shown on the website.

HermesSocialShare

Many brands ignore these tiny details which are in fact the online face of the brand when they get out of their own platform and enter the ‘Social Playground’. It is always refreshing and nice to see for a huge digital marketing fan like me that there are Marketing and UX teams out there who think through and take the pains to get all these details right. Least I can do is take out time to appreciate such work and share the experience and appreciation.

While we are at it, check out their Tumblr and Pinterest pages as well for inspiration. Tumblr page header animation shows even a highly regarded luxury brand like Hermès can have some fun in a subtle way.

Hermes_Tumblr_Pinterest

 

SXSW Blippar Coasters

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Yes! Blip this NOW….so you can relate better to my comments below:-

I am not at SXSW, but have been following their activity online and spotted this really cool Blippar news online. Blippar have placed ‘blippable coasters’ at bars which bring miscellaneous content to life.

Blippar has grown over time and providing even richer functionalities today compared to their launch a few years ago. It is great to see that they did not only survive the Augmented Reality marketing space but are also leading it today and setting trends.

Layers that appear after Blipping

SXSW_Blippar

An animated layer with various interactive CTAs appears. It is more of a Blippar advertising, expressing ways in which their services can be used. Here is what the icons do –

Rocket icon – It appears out of the frame and starts shooting random 3D-like objects around it supported with background sound effects.

TV Screen icon – Loads a video showing a snapshot of Blippar case studies

Equalizer icon – Loads 3 playlists and an animated equalizer

Instagram icon – Shows a carousel of 3 images

Bubble icon – Displays the quote shown above

Bag icon – Loads 3 heels in 3D (pretty random)

Dots icon – Folds out to the left and reveals 4 more icons to follow Blippar on Facebook, Twitter, call or email.

Basically, this a clever way to show the possibilities and make the participants understand how much data can a tiny piece of cardboard reflect and host.

‘What’s under your beer’ – well a lot as you can see 😉

 

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?’