Six Second Ads, Welcome to Vine.

The above six seconds of footage is the first branded vine I had ever seen. It had come across my tumblr dashboard a few weeks ago, and admittedly, I did laugh quite heartily after the first watch.

Vine is such a unique recent phenomenon that doesn’t sound quite right in your head, yet works wonderfully in practice. How much can happen in six seconds? I used to think not much, but thanks to Vine, I now know an awful lot can happen in six seconds.

Some of the most recent and funniest content I have seen on the internet has come from the Vine platform, and the video above illustrates how Nike has jumped on board in all the right ways. The six second time limit makes it commonplace for videos to be watched multiple times (I personally would say I’ve watched a few especially funny Vines probably 20+ consecutive times), and such millions and even tens of millions of views are almost pedestrian.

Nike’s Vines like the one above, are almost the perfect execution of Vine marketing. Genuinely funny and creative content, similar to many of the popular non-commercial Vine creators, with no in-your-face branding. Apart from the NikeFootball account name, and the #Nike hashtag and hashtag for the shoe model: if one doesn’t notice the absurd amounts of product placement (Nike soccerball, socks, shoes, shorts, top), these Vines would look no different from any others.

Looking back through the Nike Football vine account however, it’s clear that they weren’t always utilising Vine the “right” way. There are numerous vines simply featuring stagnant and completely still product shots. Looking at the Vine below, I thought my computer had frozen until I turned sound on and realised there was wind noise.

The results for Nike’s Vines are obvious. Their recent humerous Vines with no obvious branding have 500,000 loops (at a minimum), another at 1.1 million, and the one I attached at the top, with 5.5+ million. Polar opposite to their stagnant product shots that possess a measly (by Vine standards, and by an organisation as big as Nike standards) 100,000 loops.

Nike’s use of Vine shows the possibility of what contributing to a user-created-content platform can achieve.

Sometimes less branding, is indeed more.

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An online interactive, full and visual e-book by author: William Boyd, hosted by Land Rover

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Storytelling is one of the most powerful methods of communicating an advertising message. Here’s something I’ve never seen before. The project is called the Vanishing Game.

Author, William Boyd has taken his 17000 word story; about a trek across the UK, and has created a fully visual and interactive story platform in association with Land Rover.

This campaign is obviously a lot more in depth than your normal social-media feed advert or post, but the sheer depth of the story and visuals is something utterly unique, evocative, even romantic. You navigate the website simply by scrolling as you read. As the story progresses, the background visuals change, even periodic video footage is initiated. Subsequently, the experience is some strange yet natural mix of film and written word.

Obviously I haven’t been through the entire story, doing so would require many more hours than I seem to be afforded during this week 12, but with a hefty break in classes this afternoon, it was very easy to be consumed in the website for almost an hour.

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Hats off to Land Rover and William Boyd for one of the most unique and immersive online marketing campaigns I’ve seen!

Volkswagen’s ‘Reduce’ Speed Dial: And why New Zealand’s road safety adverts are infinitely better than Australia’s.

The ultimate goal of marketing is to essentially create, or modify the viewer’s behaviour. When it comes to road safety, it’s no surprise that various agencies have used the digital platform as their main pathway to the public.

New Zealand is no stranger to witty and emotive road safety ads. The New Zealand Transport Agency’s “Legend” video (which boasts 869,000 views on an account that was not the original uploader) offers a light-hearted, yet poignant perspective on why you should stop a mate from driving drunk.

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As well as the NZ Transport Agency’s “Blazed” ad (2.2 Million views on YouTube), a hugely humerous video based around three kids playing around and imitating the funny (yet unsafe) driving habits exhibited by their dad’s while under the influence of marijuana.

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These ads are hugely converse to many of our local and domestic shock-factor ads, especially those of previous years, such as the TAC’s “Reconstruction” ad.

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Many of our local ads are blatantly shocking, even violent. The danger posed here is that viewers will simply ‘switch off’ to the ads, something I find hugely prevalent in myself when faced with these ads. They are emotionless and jarring, and fail to ultimately to change behaviour in viewers as they simply block themselves off of the message being broadcast.

NZ transport ads are not all humerous, and not without shock or near-violence however; their “Mistakes” (11.2 Million views on YouTube) illustrates a sombre and heartbreaking situation in which two drivers (one with their son in the back seat) are able to converse with each other before an imminent crash. Converse to the TAC’s ad above, the emotion communicated and evoked makes the ad infinitely more deliverable and less likely to be blocked out by the receiver.

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The latest piece of gold I’ve seen to come from our neighbors across the pond, is this piece from Volkswagen

The premise is that the speedometer in various family’s cars were re-designed by the children in the family, in order to remind their parents what they have to live for when they are considering speeding.

Volkswagen say:

Dangerous decisions on the road occur due to momentary lapses in judgment. Our rational, responsible selves take a backseat to the irrational person racing to a meeting, or overtaking a frustratingly slow driver.

The Volkswagen Reduce Speed Dial experiment aims to disrupt behaviour at this critical moment.

One of the standout lines of the ad is: “they don’t have control over the speed that you drive, but they do have control over your heart”.

If marketing at its most basic- is the attempt at changing behaviour- Volkswagen definitely achieved it:

– One family had no recorded speed infringements after the installation of the personalised speed dial
– One family reduced their top speed by 19kmh from a max of 123km to a max of 104km
– Half of the drivers’ maximum speeds reduced after fitting their personalised speed dial
– Three out of the four drivers reduced their incidence of speeding in 100km zones by 50%.

The ad is attached below,and currently has 129,000 views on YouTube.

#LookingForYou

A heartwarming ad from Battersea Dogs Home in the UK. The premise of the video shows volunteers at a Westfield Shopping Centre handing out information pamphlets about adopting animals from their shelter. What the public doesn’t realise is that there are RFID tags within the pamphlets which allows the electronic displays and billboards around the centre to interact with the public’s location within the centre. The campaign is based around the #LookingForYou hashtag; a simple notion that there is an animal out there looking for a home. Illustrated quite remarkably by a virtual dog following holders of the pamphlets around between screens around the centre. The video shows results, whereby the final image on the billboards is a simple message saying “check out the leaflet we gave you earlier”. This simple, but ingenious method of direct marketing is hugely powerful, and engaging. In the video, people are seen pulling out forgotten pamphlets from their back pockets, and Battersea themselves say they were able to re-home over 3,000 dogs in 2014.

An impossibly clever ad from Skoda.

I understand I may overdo it with the automotive ads, and believe me I tried to find something different this week. But I absolutely had to share this impossibly ingenious ad from Skoda. It’s under two minutes, so have a watch as I’d be interested to see if stuns you as much as it did me.

It’s one of the most ingenious and unique ads I’ve seen in quite a while. Simple and uniform visuals leave you focused on the car and the voice over that subtly explains the features of the product, yet a twist at the end ensures that the ad is one to remember.

Toyota x VIVID Sydney 2014 – #CarsThatFeel

During last year’s VIVID light festival in Sydney, Toyota displayed three new Prius’ with a twist.

Each of the cars were fitted with various projectors and lighting systems, turning them into almost sentient beings, that would interact and react with passersby.

Each of the cars; “Peter”, “Vicky” and “Carly”, had distinct personalities, asking for hugs, kisses and tickles. They reacted accordingly depending on your actions, they communicated with people specifically, knowing where each person was around the car- even became disgruntled if you didn’t grant them with a hug or a tickle. Each car even had a peripheral twitter and instagram account, that would respond to peoples’ selfies and comments, made to them, or using the hashtag: #CarsThatFeel.

The campaign was particularly good as it had various life cycles. For 18 days, each night the cars were out to interact with anyone who walked past. The car’s social media peripheries created even more engagement and extended Toyota’s reach beyond those who were physically at the display. Furthermore, the resulting video posted above, is able to be shared extensively even after the campaign has ended.

What has resulted is the creation of something that is quite strongly linked to Toyota. Since Vivid, the cars have been displayed at various AFL games, and have become a strong point of association.

Soap Creative, the agency behind the display, state that the cars conveyed 1.8 Million emotions and actions with 50,000 people. They also estimate that a further 150,000 people saw the exhibit but did not interact with the cars.

Toyota created a hugely unique and highly engaging piece of advertising, with the campaign winning a deserved first place in the IAB’s 2014 showcase.

Note: Many people at the exhibit were fascinated, some even freaked out, by the depth in which the cars were able to react to actions; the way they got angry when you didn’t do what they asked, and how they seemingly knew where you where standing around the car.

The answer is that there was a person for each car watching them in real time, and controlling them with an iPad :P.

How Tumblr got me a photojournalism job; my unintentional digital marketing.

Years ago, in 2011, I made a Tumblr blog. I’m not really sure why, it was just a fun-ish way to pass time in the back row of my High School’s computer lab during Geography 3/4.

It went through various iterations; from a Blink-182 fan blog, to an anything-liked-blog, to- eventually- an automotive photography blog since which it has stayed. For the first year, it was none of my own content. I just spent days blogging and reblogging photos that I liked. After about a year, I bought a DSLR and had a go myself. I’d post a few photos here and there, but around the time I got into photography seriously, and started coming up with photos by the hundreds, I discovered tumblr’s greatest feature. A queue.

A queue lets you…errr…queue posts, that are automatically made a certain amount of times, over a set time interval throughout the day. My blog makes 25 posts, over 24 four hours. A queue is really the only consistent way to gain followers, as it keeps your blog active, while you are away. At first I might have gained two-three followers a day, the maybe five, then ten. Of course it’s easier to gain followers, the more you have. Your initial reach is further, and subsequently, your ultimate reach is further. As it stands now, if my blog is only posting other peoples’ “reblogged” posts in the queue, I may average a little over 1000 “notes” per day and gain between 15-20 followers.

Only about two years ago did I unknowingly create a “brand”. I changed my URL to a cheesy Alexisonfire song name, and created a logo. To dissuade my original photos from being reposted, or worse: “cropped and edited”, I used that logo as a watermark. As my photo collection grew, I eventually made a Flickr account.

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And soon after: a Facebook page.

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All of which link to, and from, my Tumblr.

Early this past January, I got a facebook message to my photography page. It was from a Sydney-sider named Justin Fox, founder of Zen Garage and one of my long time favourite photographers. He said he’d been following my tumblr for years, and liked my work. He also asked if I’d like to join the Zen team as a contributor to their website, covering events, and creating features.

Zen Garage is at this time, a solely online based brand. With over 158,000 likes on Facebook, they have built a brand through heavy online activity, across Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. They had a brick and mortar shop in Sydney for a handful of years, but it closed down in 2014. They make and sell their own clothes which they sell through their website. They cover events, and do photo features of cars as well as models. They have also been highly successful in organising various Car Shows and events. My next blog post will be a look at Zen, and how they have used their online activity to grow their audience, as they really started their website and business with no existing audience, and subsequently grew it with online platforms like Facebook, Instagram and internet forums.