Infiniti’s Interactive Film “Deja-View”

Luxury auto maker Infiniti has partnered with The Blair Witch Project’s producers, Campfire, to release an eerie choose-your-own-adventure interactive movie called Deja-View.

The 20 minute film centers on a well-groomed couple driving on a desert road in their Infiniti Q50. They seem like a pair, but ultimately, they’re unsure of who and where they are, whom to trust and where they’re supposed to be going. By dialing a special number and code on their cellphones and actually “talking to” the characters (using technology such as natural language processing systems), viewers will be able to affect the characters’ choices and help them work out what’s going on. The outcome of the movie will be tailored to their choices.

(Via Creativity-Online)

Why I’m Curious

This is an innovative application of branded entertainment. It’s neat that the film uses language processing technology to adapt to the viewer, depending on their conversations with the onscreen characters. The choose-your-own-adventure model creates an interactive element that viewers are invested in, while incorporating various digital platforms, including websites and smartphones, to tell the story.

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Red Bull Flow

red-bull-flow

Red Bull has launched “Red Bull Flow“, an app for the BMX and skateboarding community to film and share their tricks.

With Red Bull Flow, users can stitch together seamless films from their shorter videos, showcasing their tricks, without the need for any editing software or prior editing knowledge. After filming their video clips, users add tags to the video specifying the rider, trick and location. Next, the video is published to Flow and may also be shared on Facebook. In Flow, users can discover, watch and share other people’s tricks on their phone or as collaborative videos – ‘Flows’ – on redbullflow.com.

Watch the video for the app here.

Why I’m Curious

What’s interesting about this app, is that YouTube, Instagram video and Vine already exist for video sharing, yet Red Bull has created a unique differentiator in their branded video sharing app. By building an app catering to their BMX and skateboarding audience, Red Bull is essentially creating a new social network for their target to share their tricks, get inspired and essentially learn from each other. In this way, Red Bull is hosting a relevant, long-term branded social experience.

116 Vine videos you may want to watch (or not)

YouTube user Eric S (an anonymus user with +2K subscribers)  has gone and created a compilation video of the best Vines of 2013 so far (11:38′). For some reason (apparently, a copyright claim), his video gets deleted each time he uploads a new version.

Read more at Gizmodo.

(Interesting: +52K Facebook Likes, +500 comments, less than 400K video views)

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Lexus creates stop-motion film with fans’ Instagram images

Lexus is targeting younger motorists with an Instagram-driven campaign that incorporates images from more than 200 users, #LexusInstaFilm. The combined effort produces a stop-motion film of the 2014 IS model from various angles and tones.

Mechanics:

  • Under the orchestration of a directorial team during Instagram’s #WorldwideInstameet, car enthusiasts and Intagram users from a variety of background blended their personalities in a film that colorfully animates the IS.
  • Jacob Rosenberg and the Bandito Brothers directed the film that features the song “Hefe” by The Hit House.
  • A 2014 Lexus IS F Sport weaved throughout the lot to permit a wide range of views and so the vehicle appeared in a natural setting.
  • Marks were drawn on the grounds to instruct people on where to stand and at what angle to take shots of the vehicle.
  • Participants could edit the shots however they wanted. The directorial team then printed out each still, clipped them to a huge board and sequenced them to create a coherent film.

Read more here.

Why I am Curious 

An interesting way to tap into a proven-performing formula:

passion-driven experiences + mobile + empowerment = UCG & community building

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Fostering community among fans is a good way for luxury brands to create loyalty, since the ensuing friendships will be tinged by the brand’s image.

Butter For Paula

According to the "Butter For Paula" website, "Paula Deen has become a part of our families… and families stick together."

 

Following the unfortunate realization that celebrity Chef Paula Deen has used racial slurs in the past and as a result of public backlash, many of Deen’s partners have cut ties with the Food Network Star. But a campaign has emerged to save the star, Butter Wrappers for Paula Deen.

 

Despite soaring sales after the news broke that Deen had used racial slurs in the past and wanted a “traditional plantation style wedding,”  Random House dropped her book deal. Food Network, the foundation of Paula Deen’s fame and the platform that made her a household name also dropped the contract, which was up for renewal.

But despite all the backlash and the business decisions to stop doing business with someone who appears to be a bigot—regardless of whether she actually is or not—a campaign has developed to support the sweet Southern grandma.

Butterforpaula.org was started by John Schmitt, a hotel auditor in Indianapolis. He also started the We Support Paula Deen Facebook Page. The Butter For Paula campaign relies on the idea that “a company without butter is like a wrapper without butter.” It asks fans to send butter wrappers with notes to these companies asking for support of Paula.

The Facebook page celebrates UGC content, encourages involvement in many of Deen’s initiatives, including a charity called the Bag Lady Foundation.

Photo: Thank you everyone who's purchased Paula Deen products at the Stiches 'n Dishes store! Every dollar from the proceeds is being donated to The Bag Lady Foundation. Keep purchasing Paula Deen products at http://stitchesndishes.com/shop-snd-2/

 

Why I’m Curious

This is an example of the power of fandoms that can only be created through compelling stories or personalities. Fandoms remain extremely loyal, even in times of bad. Think about the fandom that got the Veronica Mars movie funded in a matter of days too. Here a fandom rallies with real UGC content that takes actual effort to rally behind Deen’s brand. In advertising, we try to find commonalities with our loyalists, but it’s difficult to build the same kind of love and connection with a brand. Brands need to study how and why fandoms get so passionate about characters and what motivates them to create original content around them.

Urban Outfitters and Converse Want to See #yourchucks

In what may be the second brand contest on Vine, Urban Outfitters and Converse are asking hipsters everywhere to show off their Chuck Taylors. To enter, create a six-second video of a day in the life of your sneakers and post to Vine using #yourchucks.

The winning video receives a trip to San Francisco AND Brooklyn, Urban Outfitters gift cards, and 10 pairs of chucks. (More at Mashable)

Why I’m Curious

Vine has been around since January, but brands have been taking their time figured out the best way to leverage this new platform. We’ve seen a couple examples of brands using Vine to share content, but Urban Outfitters and Converse are really the first set out on a larger scale to get content from their fans. Overall, the contest seems like a great fit for the brands and their super-hip followers, and Vine definitely adds a layer that other social platforms lack. I’m curious to see how the contest pans out – we all know how difficult it can be to get UGC (especially good UGC), but maybe Vine will be different?

 

Burt’s Bees Brings Dream Pinboards to Life

To promote the brand’s new Red Ruby Groovy Morning scent, Burt’s Bees partnered with Baldwin& and invited consumers to submit their perfect morning, and they may turn your dream into reality.

From Creativity,

This video launches a contest that will have the company turn some Pinterest boards into reality, with $25,000 going towards making each one come true. It has already happened once before with Keri Pfeifer, whose perfect morning took place in Tulum on Mexico’s Yucutan. This promotional video will be used to advertise the contest.

Why I’m Curious

I think this is a fun spin on the (becoming) typical Pinterest contest. Most Pinterest contests require consumers to pin inspirational boards like this – but with strict guidelines of sticking to a certain designer or a narrow theme. The first winning pinboard was pretty scattered, and I’m sure others will be as well, but I think that’s what made the video so intriguing.

I’m interested to follow this campaign and see how fans visualize their perfect morning and how Burt’s Bees will promote the winnings, if it’s through video (which can get old) or albums, posts, etc.

You’ve heard of big data, you’ve heard of UGC, but have you heard of UGBD?

We’ve all heard it, the favorite advertising adage: New Year, New You!  So many people make a New Years resolution.  Lose weight, find love, climb a mountain…  Have you ever wondered what people around the world hope to achieve in 2013?  Google has created “Google Zeitgeist 2013” – a site that allows you to see what other people have claimed as their resolution for 2013 and add your own.  Puerto Rico even got in on the action:

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Why I’m Curious

For months, we’ve been hearing about the value of big data and all of the interesting ways it can be visualized in order to be sliced, diced and chopped into something useful.  This is the first time I’ve seen anyone create a platform for user generated big data, while this isn’t particularly useful, there are tons of applications for a platform like this.

Uniqlo goes local with NYC streetstyle contest

— Jocelyn

Awhile back I wrote about Uniqlooks, Uniqlo’s global UGC streetstyle blog. Today — just in time for NYC Fashion Week —  they launched a Uniqlooks NYC streetstyle contest for a chance to take part in a professional photoshoot, be featured on our global Uniqlooks page, win a $1,000 Uniqlo gift card and entry for two to our 5th Avenue Opening Night Gala.

Why I’m curious:

UGC streetstyle blogs are not new; branded UGC streetstyle blogs kind of are. Sweepstakes are not new; local sweepstakes from a global brand kind of are. What’s most fascinating is the local aspect from a global brand. I don’t see any local contests from other fashion hubs like Milan, Paris, etc., but maybe they’re operating on the Fashion Week calendar to wait to drop the next local installment. Will be interesting to keep an eye out.

“A Painting’s Worth a Thousand Photos”

-Michael F

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is hosting a photo contest called ‘Get Closer.’  The promotion invites Met visitors to submit a photo of one detail in a single work of art from the Met’s permanent collection that captures imagination, along with a photo of the full work of art and a brief text (approximately 50 words) describing why that detail is compelling.  The Museum will then select five winners, whose entries will appear on the Met’s website. Each winner will receive a one-year Individual Museum Membership.

‘The Crucifixion with Saints and a Donor” (Joos Van Cleve, oil on wood, 1520) is featured in this post as an example submission.  The participant called out how the cracking of the paint is a remarkable detail that only adds to the work’s beauty.  The ‘close up’ photo really brings this observation to life!

Why I’m Curious:

This program interested me first and foremost because it is really effective at getting brand advocates to tell the brand story in an organic way.  As I read through the entries on this page, it feels as though the visitors are becoming the curators.  This reversal of roles is a really interesting and bold play for an institutional organization like a museum.

I’m also really impressed by the resourceful execution on Tumblr.  Photo contests are discussed all the time but it often seems like development and execution is viewed to be a large hurdle that requires significant planning.  This approach to photo contests on Tumblr is effective and it also seems as though it could be developed on the turn of a dime.  For those unfamiliar, Tumblr is a blog platform where anyone can post to your blog space.  While Tumblr will not host the fullfillment aspect, the Met’s selection process is based on judges, which allows the program more flexibility.

Overall, this program is really effective at driving marketing value; it facilitates awareness of pieces in the collection, engagement for viewers to play the role of curator, and it also drives consideration by making membership the prize of the program.

Street Style Bandwagon Turned (M)e-Commerce Brandwagon

–Jocelyn

Street photography has been around for ages, and in the last half-decade, street style fashion photography blogs (like those of The Sartorialist, Garance Doré, Jak & Jil, and Face Hunter) have really hit mainstream.  Online street style communities, like Lookbook.nu, are immensely popular, and rely solely on user-generated content. Companies are also cashing in, like Google’s December-launched Boutiques.com, which merges the lookbook idea with e-commerce.

But now specific fashion brands want in on the action, turning the “street style plus community” bandwagon into a (m)e-commerce brandwagon.

Uniqlooks is Uniqlo’s newly launched international fashion community, where users compete to be Look of the Week by submitting Uniqlo looks with links to the specific items that can be purchased on the Web site. Even better: the only way to upload to and comment on Uniqlooks is via Facebook or Ren Ren, solidifying the site’s social—and shareable—nature.

What this means:

From a business perspective, the mashup is genius/borderline Machiavellian: the company empowers the user as the stylist while simultaneously capitalizing on user-generated product placement. This is taking the consumer-as-fashion-model concept one step further; this is the consumer-as-salesperson.

The site’s only a month or so old, and though it’s perhaps the first branded street style community (not to mention one so completely unabashedly so), there’s already 700+ looks uploaded from all over the world. Looks like Uniqlooks is just getting started (though notably activity is currently primarily in Asia). We’ll see how many other brands start roping in consumers as unwitting clerks.