Through New Year's, we'll be counting down the best work of the year in TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Outdoor/Design and Interactive/Integrated (IX) as our picks of the day.
At No. 1 in the Best of 2015 Print/OOH/Design, Volvo and Grey London took an intriguing approach to highlighting the safety features of the Volvo XC90: They developed a product that essentially does the same thing that the car does -- keep cyclists safer at night. Along with Swedish company Albedo 100, Grey London creatives Jonas Roth and Rasmus Smith Bech created a reflective paint that riders could spray onto their bikes, clothing and other gear in order to make them more visible to cars in the dark. The idea wasn't just a stunt -- it's an actual consumer product now available with its own "spare part" number at dealerships in countries including the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand ad Austria among others. The idea went on to win this year's Design Grand Prix at Cannes.
Volvo's Life Paint has won the Grand Prix for Design at Cannes, its second at the Festival. Earlier in the week, the project by Grey London, which created a reflective spray to make cyclists safer at night, picked up the Grand Prix for Promo & Activation.
"We wanted to use design to solve problems and leave the world a better place than it was," said Design jury president Andy Payne, who is global chief creative officer of Interbrand Group. "We wanted to go beyond style."
Payne said the jury looked for a Grand Prix winner that had some sense of scale and cultural change, and made a statement about a brand. "This piece of work does combine innovation and creating something new--packaging, product design, communication and digital," he said. "This rose to the top."
U.K. agency Grey London created LifePaint, which cyclists can spray on their clothes, backpacks and other items to make them more visible to cars at night.
LifePaint, which Grey developed in collaboration with Swedish startup Albedo 100, is designed to highlight the Volvo's XC90's safety features, in particular its Intellisafe satefy technology which includes a "pedestrian and cyclist detection system." It is just one of Volvo and Grey's ingenious design ideas to get drivers and non-drivers talking about the benefits of its cars at the moment; others have included Swedish Air, a "bottled air" concept designed to highlight its air filtering system.
However, unlike Swedish Air, Life Paint is more than a stunt, with a real, practical purpose. The product contains reflective particles that are invisible by day but will light up at night in the glare of headlights; to make it easy to use it is transparent, washes off fabric easily and does not damage it. It will be trialled in six U.K. cycle shops with plans for national and global rollout if successful.
London in particular has seen a number of fatal accidents to cyclists in the past couple of years, as cycling's popularity has risen in the city. To promote the product, Grey London created an online film featuring interviews with cyclists, from commuters and couriers to accident survivors. There's also a website directing people to retail outlets and housing Instagram images from the first customers hashtagged #volvolifepaint.
Grey London has also been testing new print technology, using LifePaint to create "invisible" black posters that only reveal themselves in the flash of a smartphone.
The project won the Grand Prix for Promo & Activation earlier in the week at Cannes. "It was a car brand that got involved in helping cyclers and drivers save lives," said Jury President Matt Eastwood, Global CCO at J. Walter Thompson. But it was about more, he added. "It's beyond the car and talking about safety in general really made the brand feel like it cared about humanity and it felt like it lifted society to a higher level. It hit on one of the key things we were looking for."
For more on today's Cannes winners, head over to AdAge.com.