Top 20 Digital Campaigns.
While the last 20 years has seen many changes within the advertising industry, surely there are none more seismic than the introduction of the internet and its impact on not just how we view advertising but how we live our lives and consume content in general. Working out how to most advantageously use the digital revolution has been a long and sometimes rocky road for most businesses, and there are still more than a few bumps in that road for advertising, but the last decade has seen some amazing technological leaps, targeted content as well and simply highly viral video. Here we list what we think are 20 of the most defining digital films and campaigns from that period.
John West Salmon:Bear
- WEBLINK: John West on shots.net
- Leo Burnett London and Daniel Kleinman created this viral ad for John West back in 2000. The relatively unsexy product of tinned salmon was given a new lease of life with a faux-documentary spot that featured a fisherman fighting a bear for ownership of a freshly caught salmon. Totally silly but brilliantly executed and huge fun, the spot is one of the most viewed pieces of film on YouTube ever.
Agent Provocateur: Proof
- WEBLINK: Agent Provocateur on shots.net
- Ok, so not made specifically as a digital campaign but one of the first commercials to go truly viral. Shot by Steve Reeves at Another Film Company through CDP London in 2001, Proof was initially a cinema ad but, for reasons that don’t really need explaining, the resultant film clogged up inboxes across the globe and remains a YouTube favourite to this day.
BMW: The Hire
- WEBLINK: BMW on YouTube
- A series of eight short films produced over two years (2001-2) and helmed by luminaries such as Ang Lee, John Woo, Tony Scott and Guy Ritchie, it’s not overstating the matter to say that The Hire changed the way advertising worked. Averaging 10 minutes in length the mini-epics all starred Clive Owen as The Driver and were content rich, high production shorts that audiences actively sought rather than had foisted upon them. Initially released onto the internet they became so successful that BMW had to release them on DVD too. Created by Fallon Minneapolis and, initially Anonymous Content then RSA, the films ushered in a new advertising ethos as well as a new Cannes category; the Titanium Lion.
Burger King: Subservient Chicken
- WEBLINK: Subservient Chicken at BK.com
- Take one future facing client, add the creative ingenuity of Miami’s CP+B, mix with the technological know-how of Boston’s The Barbarian Group then stir in one man of unknown origin in a chicken suit. What you end up with is 2004’s massively successful Subservient Chicken for Burger King. The sort of person you now might expect to encounter on ChatRoulette, the Subservient Chic ken was a revelation and continues to hold court six years after his introduction.
Trojan Condoms: The Trojan Games
- WEBLINK: Trojan Condoms on shots.net
- Introducing the world to The Trojan Games, this 2004 campaign from The Viral Factory was an immediate hit with the online masses. Advertising Trojan condoms, this irreverent campaign features a fictitious but initially convincing sports commentary that ends up being anything but ordinary..
Ecko Unlimited: Still Free
- WEBLINK: www.stillfree.com
- Thrusting Droga5 into the limelight, the video hoax Still Free for urbanwear brand Ecko Unlimited was the first job out the door of David Droga’s new start-up agency in April 2006. The grainy film – directed by Smuggler’s Randy Krallman – showed a graffiti ambush on the presidential plane Air Force One and spread like wildfire across the media, with the Pentagon having to deny the stunt was real three times. And as well as being a hit in the viral world, the campaign picked a Cyber Grand prix at Cannes that summer.
- WEBLINK: www.uniqlo.jp
- Taking time into their own hands, the Uniqlock project from Japanese agency Projector debuted as an all-singing, all-dancing online widget back in 2007. Marrying music and dance with fashion and timekeeping, the widget featured dancers donning Uniqlo outfits and sat on desktops and blogs across the globe. After taking the digital world by storm and racking up 191 million clicks by November 2008, Uniqlock also scooped the Cyber and Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes.
- WEBLINK: archive.bigspaceship.com/hbovoyeur
- WEBLINK: www.hboimagine.com
- Ever the innovators in storytelling, HBO teamed up with BBDO NY and Big Spaceship to break boundaries in this multimedia marketing project. Aping the outdoor segment of the campaign, the digital element of Voyeur invited viewers into a New York City apartment block. There they could witness the intimate interactions of its tenants, and further exploration of the website’s cityscape led to the discovery of more interlinked narratives. As well as winning big in the Promo and Outdoor categories, Voyeur bagged a gold Cyber lion, while the more recent online HBO Imagine campaign has garnered further critical acclaim.
Diesel: SFW XXX
- WEBLINK: Diesel: SFW XXX on shots.net
- There aren’t many ads that can list hardcore porn as inspiration, but that’s exactly what The Viral Factory and director Keith Schofield turned to for Diesel’s Dirty Thirty birthday viral. Embracing the Safe For Work concept, the team trailed through reels of 80s porn to select their favourite scenes, then animated over the top to hilarious effect. And, unsurprisingly, once unleashed the film became an overnight viral success and picked up a Cyber gold lion.
- WEBLINK: www.hotel626.com
- WEBLINK: www.asylum626.com
- To celebrate the return of two Doritos flavours from the dead, Goodby Silverstein & Partners got gruesome and created ghoulish online game Hotel262. Open only between the dark hours of 6pm and 6am, players had to use online and SMS clues to find their way through the sinister 3D world and escape the haunted inn. The project, crafted under the brand’s Snack Strong Productions banner, proved a hit and Doritos followed up the site in 2009 with the even creepier initiative Asylum626.
Swedish Post Office: Stefan the Swopper
- WEBLINK: stefantheswopper.blogspot.com
- WEBLINK: www.akestamholst.se
- Making the post office more attractive to young people without spending a penny on media is a challenge and a half, but Swedish agency Åkestam Holst came up trumps with this social media campaign. Enter Stefan the Swopper, a lifestyle artist recruited by the agency to swop everything he owned within a month. The project was based around a website and blog, and by using different social networking channels, 1,750 different swops were offered to Stefan – with all packaging and postage sponsored by the Swedish post office.
Halo 3: Believe campaign
- WEBLINK: Halo 3: Enemy Weapon, Hunted on shots.net
- WEBLINK: Halo 3: Believe, The John 117 Monument on YouTube
- WEBLINK: Halo 3: Believe on shots.net
- To promote the release of Halo 3 on the Xbox, McCann Erickson San Francisco and T.A.G created an amazing, fully integrated digital campaign. Comprising internet films, digital and real world exhibitions and celebrating the myth and heroism of the game’s main character, the Halo 3 Believe campaign scooped numerous advertising prizes in 2008 and made the game the most successful entertainment launch ever.
California Milk Processor Board: Get the Glass
- WEBLINK: www.gettheglass.com
- The California Milk Processor Board created this amazing online game with the help of San Francisco-based Goodby Silverstein & Partners. The interactive game not only looks amazing but is hugely addictive.
Carling: iPint app
- WEBLINK: www.carling.com/ipint
- WEBLINK: iPint on iTunes.com
- It seems almost quaint now considering what you can get as an app for your iPhone these days, but in the middle of 2008 BMB London launched the iPint for Carling lager and it was, and still is, one of the 3G phone’s most downloaded applications. Simple but effective the iPint uses the iPhone’s motion sensor technology to mimick the drinking of a real pint of Carling. There is also a game on the app which further utilises the motion sensor allowing you to control a crate of beer as it slides along a bar. OK, so it’s not quite as much fun as actually drinking beer but hey, the app’s free so it’s certainly more economical.
Dark Knight: Why So Serious?
- WEBLINK: www.whysoserious.com
- Created in the run up to the hugely anticipated Batman film, The Dark Knight, whysoserious? was a fully integrated viral marketing campaign that attracted more than 10 million unique users before the film’s release. Created for Warner Bros by 42 Entertainment the campaign, which included online films, clues and information married to real world game play and interaction, set a new benchmark for movie marketing and awareness.
- WEBLINK: Whopper sacrifice
- Despite only surviving for a week before being pulled by Facebook, Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s deliciously brutal Whopper Sacrifice was a breath of fresh air in the online app arena. Poking fun at the social networking phenomenon, Facebook users were encouraged to declare their love for the mighty Whopper by axing 10 friends to get a free burger. Thousands of friends were culled – and although the stunt might not have impressed Facebook, it did wow the Cannes juries who gave it a Titanium and gold Cyber lion.
Tourism Queensland: Best Job in the World
- WEBLINK: www.islandreefjob.com
- Cummins Nitro’s Best Job in the World campaign for Tourism Queensland swept across the globe in 2009 – and smashed its way through award shows, picking up the Cyber, Direct and PR Grand Prix at Cannes. Conjured up to promote the area’s touristic appeal, the campaign offered the opportunity to become caretaker of a tropical island for six months. Centred around website islandreefjob.com, the project received millions of media inches across the world and resulted in 34,648 applications from 201 countries. Lucky Brit Ben Southall was eventually crowned caretaker, and continues to blog about his adventures through the site.
- WEBLINK: www.computertan.com
- McCann London created this site for skin cancer charity Skcin in 2009 and saw it receive more than 30,000 hits in its first 24 hours. Claiming to allow the user to tan while sitting at their desk due to a ‘technological breakthrough’ the user is drawn in with a few simple steps before being confronted with grim reminders of the dangers of over-exposure to the sun.
- WEBLINK: Philips Carousel on shots.net
- Tribal DDB Amsterdam and Stink Digital produced this stunning online film to promote the launch of Philips’ new 21:9 Ambilight television in 2009. A combination of technological wizardry and people standing very, very still, the film picked up the Grand Prix in Cannes last year. The integrated behind the scenes elements to the online films also added to the users experience and made Philips a creative brand to be reckoned with.
Diesel: A hundred lovers
- WEBLINK: www.diesel.com/ahundredlovers
- WEBLINK: Diesel: A hundred lovers on shots.net
- To finish off our top 20 picks we’ve come right up to date with a just-launched digital dance-off for Diesel. As technological innovation continues to hurtle forward ever more ingenious ideas are bursting onto our screens, be they computer, phone or other. This campaign created by Stink Digital London through Anomaly London references French New Wave cinema while allowing the viewer to purr over, click on, examine and purchase Diesel’s shiny new spring summer 2010 collection.
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