Earlier this month, the producers of the Creative Fuel conference in Sydney published a pretty hilarious promotional video promising the next big game-changer in advertising. The brief was to drive ticket sales for the conference, and their over-the-top solution was "The World's First Crowd Sourced 3D-Printed QR Code Live Streamed Via Go Pro To A Smart Phone Or Tablet Device Drone Delivery Ticket System Project." It's catchy, but I don't know… maybe they could just call it TWFCS3DPQRCLSVGPTASPOTDDDTSP for short?
It's not hard to belittle technology these days, as there have been a number of "game-changers" in marketing that have overpromised and underdelivered (QR codes anyone?).
Yet, there's still a lot of room for innovation with technology. Mobile is now a driving force in persuading user behavior. I personally use apps to find restaurants, book transportation and reserve hotels with a click or two. It's never been easier to find a deal or get great recommendations.
Therein lies a huge opportunity. People have never been more tethered to their phones. If we as marketers can find new ways to interact with consumers through their mobile ecosystem, we can cut through the clutter and leave a lasting, memorable impression.
Two recent campaigns come to mind. First, Volkswagen created a fantastic spot that was used to convey how dangerous it is to use mobile phones while driving. The ad, shown in a movie theater, featured a video of someone driving down the road from a first-person perspective. After a while, the viewers in the theater all simultaneously received messages on their phones using a location-based broadcasting technology that targeted everyone's phones, even though the advertiser didn't have their phone numbers. As all of the unsuspecting movie-goers were looking at their phones, the driver of the POV video crashes, leaving a gaping hole in the windshield. A message then comes up letting people know that mobile use is now the leading cause of death while driving (a staggering statistic). This was brilliant use of technology, and it not only left a lasting impression on the people in the room, but it also made a fantastic viral video which has already generated over 17 million views in less than a week. What a great way to amplify an important message.
There was another great use of technology that I got to experience last week at E3, the
Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Activision teamed up with Uber using UberCOD, an on-demand service that allowed them to immerse people in the "Call of Duty" experience firsthand.
Trade show attendees trying to book an Uber ride at E3 were presented with the usual options to book a car, SUV, etc. The difference was there was also an option to book a "Call of Duty" APC Military Vehicle. For those not familiar with military lingo, that's a freakin' Armored Personnel Carrier!
Curiosity got the best of me, so I booked a ride and was not disappointed. The vehicle showed up complete with drivers decked out in body armor and uniforms. Inside the vehicle there were "Call of Duty" promotional videos on two military-grade computers, and I was also surrounded by a ton of paramilitary gear like gas masks, radios, etc. Customers were encouraged through marketing messages to share their experiences using the hashtags #advancedwarfare and #uber. Did I mention that we also had a police escort during the ride? Very impressive.
I love seeing examples of how platforms like the Uber app can be used to create experiential marketing in ways that are completely unintended. As with the VW spot, these experiences can lead to significant viral buzz as social networking is native to the whole mobile experience. So count me in as another creative that's been caught up in the technology craze. Yes, there are a lot of annoying executions out there, but when a brand executes a big idea with the right tech, the payoff is simply fantastic.