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Backseat driver: enjoy the ride

14 Jul

I’m blaming my lack of blogging of late on the lack of contagious ideas. But this iPhone app from ToyToyota caught my eye today. Cue cheesy Japanese demo.

 

 

Backseat driver lets kids enjoy driving from the back seat of their car via an iPhone game. Here’s the smart bit – the app uses GPS technology to mirror the route of the real car in which the player is riding. Score points by steering “My Car” left and right to follow “Papa Car’s” path and pick up objects. After you’ve gained some points, you can customise your car with your own designs.

Er, when’s the adult version coming out? Is it weird that I’d quite like it for road trips? Nope, didn’t think so.

“Secret Ingredient” exploits online gaming to teach mums the benefits of cooking with Heinz Ketchup

27 Oct

My first project for Heinz is a digitally led campaign to get the nation cooking with Ketchup.

The problem? Heinz Tomato Ketchup is the nation’s best-loved sauce, but penetration is static.

The strategy? Get mums to use more Heinz Tomato Ketchup more often, by communicating the benefits of using the ‘only’ Ketchup as a cooking ingredient in classic homemade favourites. Because from Spaghetti Bolognese to Lasagna, Heinz Tomato Ketchup injects real tomato magic to classic homemade dishes.

The execution? An online video game that teaches mums the benefits of cooking with Ketchup, with fantastic prizes up for grabs. The competition challenges mums to discover the “secret ingredient” to classic homemade favourites.

The website at Heinz.co.uk/SecretIngredient, developed in partnership with creative production house unit9, hosts a number of interactive video recipes. The online game gives you the chance to cook-along with celebrity chef Paul Rankin, as he demonstrates how to cook the perfect recipes. Those who discover the “Secret Ingredient” are entered into a prize draw.

To create added talkability, the “Secret Ingredient” is teased within the media to entertain and intrigue mums. The campaign extends across a multitude of platforms, with Heinz.co.uk/SecretIngredient at the heart of the activity:

  • A Facebook campaign at facebook.com/HeinzKetchupUK to engage fans with exclusive content and giveaways (this is Heinz’s first foray into Facebook).
  • An exclusive blogger event with Paul Rankin and further blogger relations (via We are Social) to create buzz within social spaces.
  • Heavyweight shopper marketing to disrupt shoppers in-store and online.
  • A partnership with Bauer which spans Magic radio, Closer magazine, and Closer online.

But it doesn’t stop there. Heinz have gone so far as to change the name on the iconic bottle, to read “Your Secret Ingredient”.

One small step for digital, one giant leap of faith for Heinz.

Sometimes it’s just nice to share awesome stuff…

23 Apr

If you watch anything super-cool today, watch this. PIXEL’s is Patrick Jean’s latest short film, shot on location in New York. The really exciting thing for me is the way it bridges the gap between the virtual and physical worlds, creatively explored by fucking up New York with 8-bits creatures. Look out for classic gaming icons…

Microsoft Natal: Coming to a living room near you.

30 Sep

First day back from holiday (Ibiffa!), and I’m bringing you a taste of Project Natal. It’s the X Box 360 controller-less gaming interface. Yes that’s right, controller-less! Hard to imagine (think Wii minus the controller), but this nifty little demo from Microsoft showcases it well. Not only does it recognize voices, it can also recognize faces and even facial expressions.

When the Wii entered our lives and living rooms, it completely transformed gaming into a rich and more social experience. Project Natal is another revolutionary development to the gaming industry. It starts to break down the barriers between generations (even more so than the Wii), and between gaming and entertainment.

Project Natal takes digital beyond the browser and into the real-world.

If the actual thing is even half as good as this cheesy looking demo, I’ll be after one. I wonder how much it will cost?!

Doritos iD3 – innovative NPD, brand as entertainer, and my latest project : )

27 Jul

I have been working alongside Initials on a really exciting campaign to support the launch of Doritos iD3: a limited edition mystery flavour. The alphanumeric name and mysterious black packaging invites consumers to guess the mystery flavour at www.doritos.co.uk/iD3 for the chance to win a chuffing £20K reward.

emailers_packet

But guessing the flavour is just the beginning…

iD3 is not only an original product launch. It is also a three-part episodic online adventure for Doritos fans which uniquely blends film and gaming (starring Layer Cake’s Tamer Hassan). The iD3 adventure allows fans to become the hero in their very own ‘choose your own adventure’. Set in London’s shady underworld, the player goes undercover to help unlock the truth behind a mysterious case of mistaken identity, with huge prizes to be won along the way. Check out our thrilling trailer…

Doritos is no stranger to inviting consumers to play with the brand, and the iD3 advergame delivers just this by putting consumers in the driving seat of their very own personalised adventure. And the mystery flavour is a unique product innovation which will no doubt get consumers talking and engaging with the brand on a deeper level.

The adventure itself pushes the boundaries of technology. Each adrenalin-filled episode blends slick live action footage with 3D interaction, giving the whole experience a distinct high-production cinematic feel. The advergame is uniquely integrated with Facebook Connect, which enables a more personalised experience for Doritos fans by dynamically inserting content from your Facebook profile into the film. It also pushes c0ntent out to Facebook, as a result making the game more social.

We’ve created a number of secret levels and experiences (including the Konami Code) for experienced gamers (not me then…).

Even the support for the campaign is shrouded in mystery – with grassroots seeding and an exclusive blogger outreach programme. A live Twitter feed and Facebook fan page will keep Doritos fans up-to-date with the adventure.

The campaign has only recently launched, and yet Doritos iD3 is already gaining attention on blogs, forums, reviews, and of course Twitter. What’s more, there is high engagement on our Facebook fan page, with hundreds of fans guessing the mystery flavour. It just goes to show that the best ideas are the simple ones, and like Walkers ‘Do us a Flavour‘, they come across as somewhat obvious. Although in reality finding and creating them takes great understanding and insights.  And the activation of the idea has to be engaging and involving.

To guess the mystery flavour and play the game, you’ll need to pick up a special pack of Doritos iD3 – each pack code gives you 6 lives. Seeing as I’m a part of this little project, I do have a few free player codes I’m willing to give away to my readers  (though you can’t win prizes with my dummy codes).

Comments and feedback encouraged as always…

The Prototype Experience – Awesome use of Facebook Connect

29 Jun

So I’ve finally got round to blogging about the ‘Prototype Experience’, an online experience to promote a new console game. It’s a variation on virals where you’d upload pictures / words for a personalised experience. Instead, simply connect via Facebook (easy peasy), and immersive yourself in a personalised trailer, with your Facebook photos and details (which you haven’t picked!) interspersed throughout the crazy action.

This is the best use of Facebook Connect I’ve seen (in the context of creating a brand experience). I’m already working on a simlar integration of Facebook Connnect for one of my key clients, which can I just say I was working on before I saw this! I hold faith that mine will be kick ass…

prototypeexperience

If you’re on Facebook (who isn’t right?) give it a quick whirl here.

Re-wired teens?

13 May

Off the back of a dialogue event I attended at the Dana Centre (geek heaven!), I want to share some thoughts on ‘Rewired teens’ - basically meaning…

Game consoles, Facebook, Google…Are teenagers’ computer and web habits changing the way their brains work? And is this a good or a bad thing?

The Science Bit

Apologies for any inaccuracy here, I’m no scientist! But…humans are born with the maximum number of neurons, and as we grow these form interconnected networks. Our brains are ‘wired’ to respond to the world around us – i.e. context /  culture / experiences are all significant in brain development. Inputs from our environment significantly affect the wiring of our brains.

With this in mind (and some fancy convincing brain charts), our speakers (from neuroscience fields) were keen to agree that with the ubiqutous nature of digital technology in our daily lives (particularly amongst digital natives), our brains will have indeed re-wired compared to say 10 years ago. Which brings us to the ethical issue – is this a good or a bad thing?

Re-wiring for better or for worse

If we look at the prevailing arguments, there are a lot of prejudices which have been fuelled by the media. They paint an unpretty picture of a digital world which has created a generation of zombies. I think it was the Telegraph that said Twitter makes you immoral and the Daily Mail that Facebook makes us bad people. As ever with new stuff in the digital space, there seems to be a whole lot of hype and horror and not a whole lot of facts.

The media often starts with the prejudice, and then searches for supporting evidence – or considerable lack there of in this case. Let’s consider the fact that we’ve only had decent brain scans for around 10 years, and it takes longer than this for your brain to develop! Science is being exploited to instill fear rather than actually help us understand something as complex as the re-wiring of our brains.

There is some evidence to suggest that digital natives are for example worse at multi-tasking (as digital immigrants are better at prioritising) and read much shallower. But if you look at video gaming where there has been the most research in this area – evidence suggests positive effects on learning and brain development.

Consider when novels first came along, people felt this passive behaviour was damaging – in contrast to storytelling with friends in social environments. Isn’t it good that the Internet is an interactive and increasingly social medium?

homer-brain

People First

If you work in the digital industry the people-frst approach probably isn’t new to you – it’s not really about the technology, it’s still about people.

Take those so-called dangerous video games which kids play that involve killing. Haven’t kids always acted out pretend kill during play? It’s the same behaviour, but different medium. And teenagers are spending an awful lot of time on Facebook – which isn’t surprising considering the role of friendships and interaction for teenagers in growing up.

Have you considered that technology is largely shaped by wider cultural changes and human behaviour? Surely technology exists to make communications easier? While humans have adapted to the changing digital world, the fundamentals of human behaviour have stayed the same.

technology-changes

All things considered – the Internet is here, there, and everywhere – probably for better AND for worse.

The Piss Screen

29 Oct

How do you combat drink driving in a standout and relevant way? All pissed people go to the toilet (one hopes), so what better way to reach the target audience than with an interactive urinary experience.

The Piss-Screen – a pressure-sensitive inlay set within urinals, enabling users to play while they pee. We installed this newfangled creation in male restrooms across Frankfurt, teaming up with a variety of bars, clubs and cafés. The game itself was displayed on a screen above each urinal, and would automatically start as soon as someone began to pee. The player could then control the car whilst relieving himself – if they wanted the car to go right, they simply peed to the right (and visa versa).

I’m not usually one to blog about men’s urinals, but check out the video demo. Or play the simulation game.

Video Game Evolution

24 Oct

If not just for the ‘Technologic’ tune, check out this video of the evolution of video games – from Asteroids to Halo. I was kind of hoping my whole screen would explode or I would enter a virtual world, but worth a watch. I think I’ve been reading way too much sci-fi…

Wii love wii jacking

2 Jun

Johnny Lee, hero to the Wii-jacking community, demos his amazing Wii Remote hacks. He transforms the £30 “wiimote” into a digital whiteboard, a touchscreen (think Tom Cruise moving computer files with his hands in Minority Report), and a head-mounted 3-D viewer. Simply amazing.

Electronic Arts has already unveiled a new Wii game designed by Steven Spielberg, ‘Bloom Blox’, which incorporates a similar technique using Lee’s head-tracking programme.

Check out the video as I can’t quite put my amazement into words. He gets a standing ovation (I almost joined in at my desk!).

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