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Interactive marketing and other great advertising ideas since 2003
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September 29, 2007
Book review: Adland

I never studied advertising at university, and even if I did, I think nobody would have told me the history of the agencies who made the history of advertising. I'm not even sure there is a school book telling the history of this fascinating world. So I was very interested when Kogan Page sent me a copy of "Adland – a global history of advertising" written by Mark Tungate, a journalist and a copywriter I indirectly know through my friends in Diesel. It's a great reading, a book to sip a chapter a day, with no hurry.

It tells the story of the men (and a few women) who created the great agencies we all know about, from J. Walter Thompson to BBDO, Publicis, Ogilvy and BBH (just to name a few). And the story is told after an impressive research and with a real passion that involves us in the reading that pictures the human side of a business worth US$400 billion a year worldwide.

Continue reading... "Book review: Adland"

September 29, 2007
Monopoly in the 2.0 era

Do you want your city to be feautured in the next Monopoly edition? Then you have to support it online, with your vote but also with grassroots activity using 2.0 (and not only) tools. For the upcoming release of Monopoly France, Hasbro has decided to exploit the power of citizen marketers, allowing users to decide which are the cities and the streets that are going to be featured on the new board.


The idea is absolutely nice, unfortunately the site supporting the campaign is not as rich as you might expect. A part from registering and voting for your favourite city there isn't anything else to do. They ask you to create supporting actions to collect votes for your city, but the tools at your disposal are nothing more than a pdf to dowload and a animated gif to copy & paste, and this is very disappointing and not motivating, even for the most fierce supporters wannabe.

via Pat Amiel.

Amazon and the Harry Potter mania

In Germany, it's Harry Potter fever, with the book set to be released in local language at the end of October. In order to allow the most passionate readers to receive the book immediately on the release date, Amazon DE has setup a huge online bookcase with 350.000 copies of the book available to be pre-ordered.

The site and the mechanisms are extremely simple but effective, given the goal they have to achieve: users browse through the shelves, select their own copy, tag it with a nickname and then proceed to the purchase on Amazon's "regular" pages. Then, the reserved & personalized copy can be shared and showed to friends.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the first time that Amazon, the "master" of online marketing, chooses to setup a dedicated external minisite to run a promotion. Harry Potter (and the business he's able to generate) are well worth an exception :-)

via Brainwash.

September 28, 2007
Sharp Aquos funky experience

Now I know that cool sites come in all languages but I am totally amazed and suprised by this site from Japan. It is so cool and I do not understand it, which somehow makes it even more fun. It is in fact for a TV, but I don't care - I just loved playing with all the cool actionscript and very funky design. Very nice.


The agency is Hakuhodo i-studio.

The other view on MINI

In about 16600 seconds the next MINIvideo will be played on (counting from now, September 28th at 11.20 am CET). The exclusive, weird and, let me say, brave teaser campaign launched by Profero to promote the Clubman model to be launched next November, consists of a series of 15 second videos that look at things from a different perspective.


The catch is, they will be releasing one video per week for 6 weeks, and the video will be so exclusive, it will only be available for 1 minute a week. The time is judged by the clock on your computer so for the launch, when the users clock turns 3pm GMT (tomorrow’s time for example) the video will automatically start playing. If a user comes in 3 seconds into the sequence then they will see the video 3 seconds in. There is a counter on the site that counts back in seconds to when the doors will open.

The whole thing looks quite crazy, and I must say that expecting visitors to check back a site on such a precise timing is quite too brave for my careful marketing attitude... let's wait and see who's right! ;-)

30 Days of (scary) Nights

Sony Pictures movie 30 Days of Night will be soon released in theatres but the site is, of course, already live to start frightening viewers wannabe. Created by Big Spaceship, one of the best agencies in creating movies' related online experiences, the site is scary enough to build curiosity around the film.

Gaming plays a pivotal role on the site, with a "simple" single player shoot em up and a more complicated (but engaging) multiplayer "kill em all" advergame in which players' tasks change every day.

Big Spaceship's work on the multiplayer game looks impressive. Unfortunately I haven't been able to test it... in a multiplayer game "by definition" you need someone to play with (or against) and visiting the site from Europe at 10 am in the morning I couldn't find anybody to challenge.

September 27, 2007
Are you ready for the Read Fruit Farm?

Girls, if you're looking for a new job, there's an open position as Managing Director at the Red Fruit Farm, a new branded entertainment website and competition launched in The Netherlands (but everything is in English) to promote the drink Coebergh.

Watch the video to understand what is all about, and then take the test to apply for the open position. I'm sure you'll appreciate the experience.

Yes, it's a sexy (and rather sexist) campaign but it's a very good example of how far we are now with branded entertainment. The concept is good, but what's impressive is the work behind the site: the video and all the little tests to take to submit your application show a great attention to details (why don't you send an "e-male"?) and a significant investment in terms of budget in this online marketing project.

Continue reading... "Are you ready for the Read Fruit Farm?"

The Good Food Fight experience

Can edutainment teach Americans (and not only them) how to eat properly? I don't know whether The Good Food Fight is going to achieve its educational purpose, but the whole thing is amusing and, what interests me more, comes up with an innovative interactive experience.

I would say it's a video advergame, extremely well conceived and developed, with a touch of surprise effect that takes interactivity a step further than usual. Looking at the old lady running and jumping through the site interface is fun, even if hitting her with the food isn't as easy as it might seem...

Unfortunately even if the gaming experience is good, the site is disappointing in the way it delivers the nutritional information. At the end of the game what you get is only a (not so clear) link to the recipe on another site. The game is completely stand alone and doesn't feature any tip on how to improve your nutrition (not even in the game itself). So in the end this project ends up being a nice exercise in entertainment and a poor example of online communication... too bad!

Sony's Play Doh teaser

The new Sony Bravia ad promises to be impressive again. And it should be, to top Balls and Paint. The 60 second spot, including 189 2ft bunnies and a 30ft giant rabbit, is shot in New York and will be constructed of approximately 100,000 stills. To warm up the audience, Sony released this teaser. Final spot will be released on October 5th.


September 26, 2007
Dexter, the creepy (advergame)

If you're looking for something creepy in a rainy Wednesday afternoon, check out the advergame launched by Fox to promote the Italian debut of Dexter.

For those of you based in Italy, there's also a contest to join. The prize are cool: for example, a trip to Miami for 2, or a knives set (!!??!!). However in order to win you "have to" watch Dexter's episodes and be able to explain what happens. I'm not brave enough to do it... ;-)

The agency is Ola.

Motorola meets Gondry

A few weeks ago Motorola debuted on TV with a spot to promote the Razr2 phone directed by Michel Gondry (Agency: Cutwater, San Francisco / Production Company: Partizan, Los Angeles / Visual Effects Company: Fly Studio, Montreal).

The spot in itself is very nice, but what I like most is that it's supported by a dedicated website which goes behind the scenes of the production, with an interview to the director, stills and sketches taken out of the storyboard. The unusual (and interesting) thing is that this is not the phone's mini-site (click here to see that) but a space only to present, highlight and emphasize Gondry's work on the spot.

What I see (and like) here it's a very good attempt of closing the loop of the investment in the TV spot, creating something that through the Web can extend its reach and appeal to a wider audience (creative people, movie lovers etc...). In this case, not the product, but rather the director is at the center of the stage, but I don't think this is a problem. As long as the brand is there, Gondry's leading role on the site becomes functional as an indirect endorsement to the product and to the coolness of the brand.

In the end isn't this just another clever way we should think of to cash on content?

Adidas Football

I love football and was expecting Adidas's new site to deliver some killer content. The problem for me on the site is the navigation.

It's just so non-intuitive and the rollovers on the "wheel" are really trying - just one little mouse movement off the subject and you lose the scene you wanted to look at.

Shame as there is so much excitement around the wonderful game of football and this site just falls flat delivering it. A little video excitement of cool action would have been nice.

September 24, 2007
World's Greatest Dice Roll?

Using a helicopter designed for extreme conditions, air-lifted huge dice, each over two meters tall and weighing half a ton, over a steep snow-packed slope in the mountains outside Nuuk, Greenland.


By visiting, users can view the film of the dice on their journey down the mountain and place a bet on the result, which will be revealed on October 23.

dice2.jpg is (of course!!) an online gambling site.

September 22, 2007
Almost back...

Sorry for the slow blogging, repeated newsletter and the lack of replies to your emails this week, but I have a good excuse... I'll keep the story short, on Tuesday, while playing basketball I suffered a Achilles tendon rupture, I underwent a surgery and last night I came back from the hospital... Now I'm doing fine, but I'll have to stay home for at least one month... and here comes the good news, I'll have more time to read and review the tons of books I've received lately, and to blog on a more regular basis: every cloud has a silver lining!

September 20, 2007
Heavenly Halo

This site by AKQA for the launch of Halo 3 is just AMAZING! It's been created using a diorama (yes they actually hand built the entire set). It's a completely immersive experience and one that I really, really enjoyed. I spent over an hour cruising through the landscape checking out all the detail.


Be sure to check out the "making of" video while you are there as it's quiet awesome to see the project come to life.



September 16, 2007
Stella in 1366

Stella Artois and Lowe Worldwide have launched a new site that takes a trip back in time to meet up with an eclectic host of characters and challenges, will you risk thwarting the gods of thunder in 1366 – or take on the 9 step pouring ritual to produce the perfect virtual pint? Just don't fall off the edge of the world! There is so much content which has been very nicely shot and designed that you will spend ages checking it all out.


You will discover the history, heritage and secrets behind the 650 years of quality brewing in Leuven – and indulge in challenges, games and a true cinematic experience. It's a mash of flash, video and gaming which seems to work very nicely. I saved the beer from being stolen and was very happy with myself!


The site will officially launch to the public on Tuesday.


September 12, 2007
The Schiphol experience

Dutch agency Achtung shows us again that they have great skills in creating 3D worlds. Their latest work is a website to explain and illustrate what happens in Schiphol, Amsterdam's airport.

Everything is in Dutch, but you don't have to speak the language to understand what's going on in the Schiphol world, do like kids do and just enjoy the great animations to find out its secrets. Learn how planes take off and land, discover how freights are managed and the potentials of the airport surrounding area.

The site is impressive. I must admit that at first I didn't understand the ultimate communication/marketing goal of such a project, but fortunately Dirk provided me with the key to appreciate it and realize it isn't just a nice aestetic exercise.

Continue reading... "The Schiphol experience"

Tom Tom hits the viral way

It looks like TomTom found its way to the viral marketing field. Couple of months ago they solved the hit series LOST in 30 seconds, and now there's a magic touch to the latest product feature Mapshare. With this (very 2.0) feature, users can add and share changes to maps and points of interest. See how it works, especially in the end...

Tech and Sex

All you techies that also love girls in bikini's ... well Bikini Zero is a, well, tech site that... just check it out.



Crazy Norwegian food campaign

This is a crazy food related website, coming from Norway. I found it on Reklam Feber, I didn't understand a word, but I watched it for two minutes and it made me laugh a lot.

The site has a video featuring a sort of super hero who explains the qualities of a new series of product with less sugar and less fats, plus there is a simple advergame to play. Nothing special nor particularly innovative, I would say, but the whole thing is amusing, and I think it works pretty well in generating awareness on a packaged food (not the easiest product to make appealing).

Is therefore branded entertainment the best way to go to promote food and CPG?

Naughty 2 nice

A new episode in the ongoing feed of AXE campaigns. This time it's a (5 min) mockumentary about clean nice girls turning into naughty lustcrazed criminals when they smell AXE Vice. Result: overcrowded women prisons. Not as brilliant and well executed as this one, but again a very fun way of communicating the product. I especially like the way they integrated annoying product placement without being annoying.


September 11, 2007
Dim Dim girls: Rugby for women

At first sight I thought it was a sexist campaign, but after having visited the Dim Dim girls site for a few minutes I had to change my mind. Of course it's an opportunistic idea, but isn't this what we usually define as a (smart) "tactical" action?


1. Take an international sport event that will get men's attention for over a month (the Rugby World Cup); 2. Realize that women will go crazy during the event because (in most of the cases) they don't understand the game and, most of all, they don't understand why men should prefer rugby to them; 3. Consider the product you sell (lingerie); 4. Agree with me that Dim Dim Girls it's a great idea because: A) It explains the key rugby rules to women, using their own language with explanatory examples that put the sport in context with real daily life situations B) It shows several nice girls in lingerie to men, who next time that will have to buy something for the wives/lovers/friends would probably remember the easy DIM brand name.



Dylan Messaging, very viral vintage

Fans of Bob Dylan will love, a simple but extremely smart viral idea to promote his greatest songs compilation due to be released on October 1st.

Inspired by one the greatest videos ever, Subterranean homesick blues, the site allows you to create a personalized ten steps message to be spread around using the signs turned by Dylan in the original footage.

I definitely find it one of the brightest viral ideas of the year as I'm sure a lot of Dylan's fans will see it and share it and therefore learn about the upcoming release of the collection.

Thanks Romain for the hint.

Wilkinson Fight For Kisses

I believe Sigmund Freud might have something to say about the new Wilkinson campaign from France that exploits Edipus Complex to promote a razor. Ignoring psychoanalysis and concentrating on the pure entertaining/advertising side of the concept, watch the video below and let me know whether or not the concept is brilliant and has the potential to generate a lot of buzz.

There is also site to check out with a series of goodies and an advergame to download (98MB) and play to win a series of prizes.


Continue reading... "Wilkinson Fight For Kisses"

Manning's Mind

Goodby Silverstein, San Francisco has created a website for Sprint inviting punters to pick the brain and engage trivial pursuit against Indianapolis Colts' superstar quarterback Peyton Manning.


I'd imagine it would be fun if you knew your American Football knowledge - unfortunately I don't :-)


September 05, 2007
Milk Matters (and goes crazy)

If you're looking for a weird website, take a look at Cravendale's Milk Matters created by W+K London together with Unit 9.

It's all about pure milk, but it actually looks like the three main characters of the TV spot have drunken something strange if we should judge from the crazyness of the site. Even from the loader on the homepage you understand you're going to see something weird...

On the site you can select any character depicted in the ads, collaborate, interact and play with other visitors. There is actually quite a lot to explore, and the rich user generated video gallery definitely tells you that you are not alone in the Cravendale's world. Don't be shy and walk around, the whole thing is silly enough to result amusing ;-)

Continue reading... "Milk Matters (and goes crazy)"

O2 Stare Out: you blink, you lose

From the UK, an original advergame to celebrate O2 as sponsor of the England's rugby team at the upcoming World Cup. It's called Stare Out, and you play it with your webcam. It's a challenge against three tough England's players, the first who blinks, lose.


I haven't got a webcam so I couldn't play it myself, but the whole idea looks very interesting and sticky. Check out also the winners and losers gallery, you'll see nice faces... mostly from the agency that developed the game I guess (look at the backgrounds of the players...).


Adverlab has also the explanation of how the game works (technically): "We capture the output of the webcam using BitmapData, using the current and previous frames of data we apply a Difference filter to the two images and then we analyse, pixel by pixel, what has changed."

Be a Millionaire (at least online)

From the Netherlands, Ruben sent me the link to a very cool project Redurban has created for De Lotto (dutch lottery). The Millionaire is an interactive film you play and live in first person as new uber-rich.


The big question is "Can you handle the rich life"? Can you pick the right girl? And what about the right car? Make your choices, take your risks (or avoid them) and see what happens...


The whole film is very well done with the right dose of sense of humor and good attention to the details. Actually it's a very good example of interactive branded entertainment exploiting the new frontiers of broadband. And even if the interactivity is not very sophisticated, I believe and The Millionaire is definitely worth a couple of plays as well as some emails sent to friends.

September 03, 2007
Colin McRae DiRT great interface

At a friend's place last night I played the Xbox 360 version of Colin McRae Dirt, a nice rally game created by Codemasters. The reason why I share this with you is because I'm impressed by the game interface to navigate through the menus. It's smart and innovative, with principles I really would love to see applied to the Web as well. Someone has even posted a video on Youtube with a one minute overview of the interface... have look and be inspired!

MTV educates teens with ME

In the UK, MTV has launched an educational advergame to guide teens through young life's sensitive issues. The edugame has been produced with the support of Y-Peer (the Youth Peer Education Network) and it represents a great example of online communication to teens (see also the recent French project).


"ME" it's a "point & click" experience, not very intuitive at first sight, but actually very much in line (and inspired) with the Lucas Art's Monkey Island series we all loved ages ago. Despite being based on such an "old" mechanism, the game has on the contrary a very contemporary look & feel surely appealing for today's youth audience.


As Rob from Preloaded explained me, ME is set across four locations, in which the players push the story forward by solving puzzles, making decisions and participating in exchanges with other characters they meet along the way. As they progress, a virtual PDA collects further reading for them on the subject matters they have encountered or tackled during the game, which they can print to keep and read later. Issues concerning sex and sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, drink and drug abuse, bullying and other social topics are covered without being condescending or patronising, with humour and choice playing a large part.

Continue reading... "MTV educates teens with ME"

Learn the Comcast words

Thanks to Comcast TripleSlanguage I found out I often practice "snurfing" (surfing the internet when you're supposed to be on the phone) and I also learnt quite a few new words in English that I will probably never use in my life. But the visit on the site has been pleasant and this is probably the most important thing to point out when talking about an advertainment project.


Created by Perfect Fools and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners the TripleSlanguage site has the goal to introduce the Comcast Triple Play, a package that delivers all in one TV, internet and phone. The service promoted it's there, but it's perfectly "embedded" in the advertainment experience that takes the center of the stage.


The interface is simple but beautiful with a series of Flash animated cards and little cartoons that explains you the meaning of all the weird words we've been inventing in the Internet era. After browsing for a while you can take a quiz to test your knowledge of all these neologisms, or you can submit your own word in a dedicated section that for the moment is (quite sadly) completely empty. But good to see they've decided not to cheat starting the site with users words already there!

September 02, 2007
Play with Lacoste and win

If you're based in the US, you have a few more days to play online against Roddick and win tickets for the Flushing Meadows final. Lacoste is online with a nice 3D advergame to connect its brand to the US Open and to reward good virtual tennis players with a night to remember.

Since there's a prize to win, the game is quite difficult and sticky, and it results to be a cool idea for an old stylish brand like Lacoste to connect with its consumers. Unfortunately there is a negative side in the project: they want your data. You cannon play without registering, and if you want to play more than once you have to refer friends (who have to play as well in order to give you more credits).

The Road to Enlightenment

Driving safety and driving tips for drivers seems to be a hot topic in the automotive industry. After BMW Re-learn to drive, now it's time for The Road to Enlightment by Smart.

The approach to the topic it's quite different, it's more about psychoanalysis, therapy, and philosophy in a very white environment that reminds me a lot of Friends of Bright, the godfather (or grandfather?) of all video sites.

Continue reading... "The Road to Enlightenment"

September 01, 2007
Cadbury's Gorilla

From Fallon London, a new approach to promote a chocolate bar. They've launched a production house called "Glass and a half full production" that is ment to give voice to Cadbury Dairy Milk’s commitment to creating branded content.


The first Tv spots it's 90 seconds long and can be see online on the "production company" website's. Actually there isn't much more than the spot to watch, and this is the disappoiting side of the project. Yes, you can enter a contest and win tickets to Las Vegas, but this has no connection with the branded content mentioned before. So they've done something different for TV but they "forgot" to do something at least "expected" for the Web (I mean, a little bit of interactivity). What a pity.

Are looking for more cool interactive ideas? Check the archives

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