i'm with the brand

Chanel to design luxury surfboards, because that is a thing that makes sense
March 5, 2010, 11:56 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , , ,

Oui! I am le maybe riding ze surfboard backwards on le concrete! Bonjour! Crusty bread!

Some genius at Chanel apparently decided the next logical step after bestowing the world with a classic suit, an iconic bag, and a timeless fragrance was to make luxury surfboards. Yeah. Luxury surfboards. The surfboards are rolling out in Brazil first and later at Chanel shops worldwide, and will presumably reach a public that has been clamoring–quite understandably–for coutoure watersports equipment.

The boards have the same simple, understated glamor of the Chanel aesthetic, but should a brand predicated on class, grace, and elegance really be moving into sporting gear? And it’s not even just as a one-off co-branding measure! They’re beautiful, but…seriously?



Puma HardChorus won’t make you choose between the loves of your life
March 4, 2010, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , , , ,

hard chorus

For Puma, Love equals Football. They make this amply clear throughout their recent campaign, replacing a hand-drawn football for the word “love” all over their site. Football (soccer–I’ll say it once, then not again) is about passion, loyalty—an enduring affair. In a banner on the relentlessly upbeat site, the football icon completes the sentence: the power of love, or the power of football? They both work, because to Puma, they are one. I couldn’t possibly care less about the sport, but even just going to their website is inspiring, uplifting. Nice one, Puma! It’s refreshing that it’s not about the brand, really—it’s about the sport. It’s not “Puma is for those who love football”—it’s “Love football; that’s enough for us.”

My very favorite element of this campaign, however, the one I honestly cannot get enough of, is the HardChorus. A microsite for the HardChorus declares “They want to be in your arms. You want to be in the stands,” challenging the true superfan with the unthinkable: “What do you do when Valentine’s Day falls on match day?” What indeed? Well, for starters, you can let the HardChorus say what you can’t.

An almost cartoonish assemblage of  hardmen and everymen—balding, pudgy, snaggletoothed, cauliflower-eared, all—motley hooligans of the Vinnie Jones variety, the HardChorus belt out their love with the fervor of a pubscreaming sports anthem. In a charmingly awkward display of machismo-wrapped sincerity, the men holler out a surprisingly tuneful “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden, while for Italian-speakers, a separate Italian chorus sings Umberto Tozzi’s oldies hit “Ti Amo.” Urging you to “dedicate a song to someone you love as much as football,” the site allows viewers to send the HardChorus performance to their disgruntled beloved by email or Facebook.

I don’t want to get carried away here, but I just love the whole thing to pieces. It’s hilarious, it’s adorable, it’s inspired. And it gets to the heart of a very real feeling, somehow managing to capture and articulate that which so often eludes authentic, unvarnished portrayal: the experience of loving the game, of loving sport—the thrills, the anguish, the camaraderie, the sacrifice—all of it.

In English…

And in Italian…

Nike’s UNICEF interactive billboard makes each kilometer go farther

Nike Treadmill

Nike demonstrates that even in philanthropy, it stands for athletes. In an interactive billboard (by BBDO) publicizing a charity 10k run in Argentina, the athletics powerhouse invites passersby to have a run on a treadmill that logs a communal kilometer count. For each kilometer run, Nike donates a set amount to UNICEF, urging that “Training for the 10k doesn’t only help you. For each kilometer run, you will be helping UNICEF. Sign up at nikecorre.com.”

This installation is cool in that it is in both form and function an expression of generosity and community spirit: it empowers the individual personally in their pursuit of fitness and athleticism by giving them a place to train, and it also, in its very setup as a kilometer-by-kilometer sponsorship, gives them the tools to help others (with the help of those around them, of course) by logging a few km for kids in need. For a brand that has placed such an emphasis on grassroots community in the pursuit of sport, it’s an engaging execution that brings the best of the brand’s beliefs to the fore, but tastefully leverages them in service of a greater good.

Philips Activa MP3 player with TempoMusic matches music to workout pace
January 6, 2010, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Technology | Tags: , ,

So this is pretty awesome–Philips is debuting a new “motivational” mp3 player called Activa, which uses its prorietary TempoMusic software to analyze your music library and serve up songs of just the right tempo based on your speed at any given point in your workout as clocked by an internal accelerometer (it does a whole bunch of other motivational things too, but that’s less interesting, I think). That’s pretty amazing–and a cool, utilitarian innovation. I just wish it could go the other way too, so you could specify a pace for it to play so you could keep pace to your music and not just the other way around. (Maybe then I wouldn’t have to trial-and-error stock my 5 mph playlist for those long outdoor runs…)

Although this seems more like a fitness gadget than a music gadget, I’m curious to see where this innovation goes from here. Apple streamlined and simplified mp3 player design to a point where no one’s really been able to improve on it (freed it from its Michelangelan block of marble, if you will), but we haven’t really seen anyone make them do something really cool since. (No, videos don’t count. I don’t like watching a 3 inch screen. Do you?) Apple and Nike had Nike Plus, of course, but this responsive music playback is something really interesting and I’m excited to see where this interactive smart music analysis technology leads.

EA presents 5-track interactive banner Grand Prix
December 9, 2009, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , , ,

EA Need For Speed Banner

Interactive and rich media banners that offer value to the user can be a great way to engage with audiences, as demonstrated by NRG3’s campaign for Electronic Arts and their Need For Speed: SHIFT game.

In the campaign, interactive banners are positioned on five top gaming and racing websites: Auto Week, Inside Gamer, Gamer, Formule 1, Sport Week. Through the banner they are viewing, players can race against others viewing the banner from the other sites. After each race, the players are directed to race the track on the next site, with the five tracks on the five separate sites comprising a Grand Prix. Players can gain badges for certain maneuvers, and their scores and race finishes are collected and stored on the central leaderboard, housed on the campaign’s website. Top-ranking racers win prizes from a copy of the game to an Xbox gaming system, with the top driver receiving the grand prize: “a custom race chair, an XBOX 360 Elite, the game Need For Speed SHIFT and an exclusive mini fridge from Coca-Cola Zero, the campaign’s in-game advertiser.”

The campaign is great because it leverages the banner format to create an experience that acts as a game teaser, allowing users to get a feel for the visuals and gameplay while also competing against and interacting with other players in a web community, in a manner authentic to the experience of gaming on a web-enabled console. In housing the banners on racing and gaming sites, the campaign targets the right audience when they’re in the right mindset, and positions the game in the larger context of racing culture. Showcasing  the brand’s new offering without foisting itself on audiences is a tricky proposition for the garden-variety banner, but EA and Need For Speed: SHIFT succeeds by giving audiences something fun and relevant to play, in the process whetting their appetites for the real thing.

Again leveraging technology and community, simulating the video game experience, and driving traffic (pun intended) to the campaign website is EA’s Twitter mission series.

EA’s Need For Speed: SHIFT campaign reminds me of Mini’s stellar exemplar of how to create rich, interactive, inviting banners: their  “Follow the White Rabbit” campaign, in which users followed a white Mini Cooper from absurd, zany site to absurd, zany site, demonstrating the freewheeling, adventurous, and kooky spirit of the Mini brand and Mini owners.

Your phone, your Jumbotron?
December 8, 2009, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , , ,

Wrigley Field

Sporting events are the ultimate public spectacle, but it seems that soon, that spectacle might just shrink to fit in your pocket.

PSFK reports that the Chicago Cubs, one of the only major sports teams without a Jumbotron, is considering allowing fans to instead use their smartphones as “their own personal jumbotrons” to view replays and stats during the game.

Such an exciting innovation would have the potential to deliver (and monetize) portable personalized content on demand—even adding a greater element of interactivity—but what might it do to the experience of watching as a mass, a community of fans? With eyes glued to individual screens, we are alone together—an experience unlike that which we currently seek out in sporting events as larger-than-life occasions that bring people together in celebration and camaraderie. Just something to think about.