Great global brand experiences of 2011 so far!


Diesel: Kick Ass

How do you promote a pair of kick-ass sneakers? In the case of Diesel, you take the idea of a superior shoe “kicking ass” quite literally with a “Kick Ass Hall” built at Japan’s Nagisa Music Festival. Dedicated bums (The Assers) were recruited especially to don bright red cat suits with a target symbol on their rears. They were then placed on all fours on top of railed platforms. Participants would compete to see who could kick an Asser down the short track for a chance to win a pair of Diesel sneakers. The Assers were remunerated handsomely for the indignity, being paid ¥50,000 per day. The recruitment process for said Assers was publicised widely before the event, which helped to garner even more buzz. Diesel received around 5,000 applications from prospective Assers and the activation generated PR coverage worth more than ¥30,000,000.
The brand experience formed part of a wider campaign that saw teasers of Diesel sneakers being used to kick the deserving asses of the likes of a military dictator, a mime artist and a banker.


Autoliberté: Crush Hour

Paris has some of the worst traffic in the whole of Europe. Europcar’s Auto Liberté is a subscription service, which -- like Street Car in the UK – encourages you to rent cars as and when you need them instead of buying them. The key selling point is that you can the pleasure of the car without all of the associated costs and inconveniences of owning one.
In order to drum up interest for the service, they came up with a slightly cruel “punked” style prank that towed unsuspecting people’s cars away and replaced them with crushed cube cars (complete with a matching number plate). The victims of the prank would return to their car to find it “destroyed” and featuring a “compression notice” with a number to call. Fake traffic wardens were also on hand to make irritating quips about how their newly crushed car wasn’t going to get them very far. The phone number was a direct line to radio station which was broadcasting live to the whole of Paris. The presenter would tell them that it was all part of a French Automobile Reduction Programme and would tell them they’d be better off renting a car anyway. Meanwhile, hidden cameras documented the abject rage of motorists devastated by the destruction of their car. They were eventually put out of their misery by a team on the ground and the person on the end of the phone and were told it was all part of an elaborate joke.
As a result of the campaign, received a surge in traffic (three times normal) and an 83% rise in subscriptions to the service. The brand also received around a million euros in free media coverage.

Carlsberg: Unbottle Yourself

Carlsberg wanted to encourage traditionally sensible Swedes to unleash their inner-silliness with a campaign that asked: “Is it possible to unbottle the courage that brews in all of us?”
The competition, which ran in the month of April, required participants to download a special mobile app and perform a series of silly but simple missions. There are around 500 to choose from including “wear a helmet to the gym”, “pretend to be a tour guide on the bus” and “hug a tree and try to get passers by to join you”. Each mission is worth a certain amount of points and some require verification by either audio, photo or video evidence. Once completed, participants can share their achievements easily on Twitter or Face book. The points are all tallied and a leader board shares participants’ progress. In addition to a range of daily prizes – such as festival tickets, Spotify subscriptions and iPads -- the top ten players will be entered into a prize draw to win an all expenses trip to Hong Kong.

Nissan: Accidental test drive

Car dealerships are finding it harder and harder to get people to take test drives, with potential buyers doing much of their research online. Arabian Automobiles, a dealership in Dubai, decided to employ aggressive tactics to force people to test drive a Nissan SUV. The guerrilla activity aimed to promote the luxury Nissan Patrol and involved blocking a person’s parked car from driving away using one of the Nissan vehicles. When a driver returned to their car to find it blocked in they were presented with a note on the Patrol’s windscreen saying they were welcome to move the Nissan themselves. Once inside, a device delivered a message explaining who was behind the stunt and apologising for getting them into the car under false pretences. The audio explained some of the key features of the car including touch screen navigation and climate controlled seats and invited them to take their time to trial the vehicle. In car reactions were filmed using hidden microphones and cameras. Those who didn’t have time to test drive the car properly were offered a free DVD with more information about the car.
This ballsy tactic meant that Arabian Automobiles persuaded 78% of those who were forced to move the Nissan Patrol to sign up for a real test drive at the dealership.

WaterAId: Remote controlled poo

WaterAid is a charity that gives some of the poorest people around the world access to clean water. It wanted to raise awareness about the plight of the 2.6 billion people globally who don’t have access to a toilet, as part of its ‘Dig Toilets, Not Graves’ campaign. It did so by creating remote controlled poos and unleashing them on unsuspecting Londoners. The tiny vehicles were driven around various London parks and made to chase people. WaterAid representatives controlling the devices wore T-shirts with some of the key issues and statistics printed onto them.
The point was that the victims of WaterAid’s remote control poo could escape, but that is not the case for billions of people around the world living without proper toilets. Without toilets, people have to go wherever they can and this causes diseases and diarrhoea, which kills 4,000 children a day.


Nike: Paint With your Feet

As part of the launch of its Nike Free Run+2 QS City Pack collection of sneakers, Nike teamed up with agency YesYesNo to create software that would allow runners to create paintings with their feet using Nike+ and GPS run data. Nike invited runners to a two day workshop at its headquarters. They were asked to record a number of different runs and then the data was interpreted using YesYesNo’s custom software to create visuals based on the speed, consistency and unique style of each person’s run. Participants could use the software to play with the mapping and adjust the composition of their run which was later outputted as a high resolution print for them to take home. The print was also laser etched onto a custom made shoebox (complete with pair of the City Pack shoes from their country of origin) for them to take home.



Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May) is a holiday held to commemorate the Mexican army’s victory over French forces on 5 May, 1862. The poorly equipped 4,000-strong Mexican army beat a French army more than twice the size, despite the fact that the French army was one of the strongest armies of the time. The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Mexican beer brand Dos Equis chose to celebrate the day with a “Feast of the Brave” taco truck serving all sorts of weird and wonderful foods to the people of New York. The aim was to test the “gastronomical fortitude” of Big Apple residents. Among the ingredients of the truck’s adventurous dishes were tongue, ostrich, veal brain and crickets – all placed in tacos and washed down with a Dos Equis. People could track the truck via Facebook or on Twitter, by following the @feastofthebrave handle. They could also find recipes for all of the tacos being served

And a couple of inspiring ones


BlaBlabLAB: Be Your Own Souvenir

Design consultancy BlaBlabLab wanted to showcase the power of 3D printing with a digital installation in Barcelona which allowed people to create instant 3D printed models of themselves that they could take home as souvenirs.
The team used three different Xbox Kinect units, combined with Meshlab point constructor software and various different open libraries to create take-home figurines – far more personalised than most of the other tat being sold on Barcelona’s Rambla strip. Passers by were required simply to strike a pose in a marked out place and then the Xbox Kinects would work to turn your image into a 3D data for the printer. Then the RepRap rapid prototyping system would create simplistic yellow figurines. People struck a range of elaborate poses to test the machines ability to recreate them in plastic, miniature form.
Although the project was not branded, one can imagine brands being keen to harness the technology in their activations.

WeSC: Linking real world with social media

Students at digital media school Hyper Island envisaged a new concept for fashion company WeSC that would see social interactions powered by an RFID tag embedded in your show. The result is somewhere between Foursquare and Nike Plus.
The KarmaTech concept was based on the idea of placing an RFID tag into each shoe to create a network of people who could have access to their social networking services and location-based deals and services. The shoe owner would first have to activate their particular shoes online and then link their shoe to their Face book, Twitter and Flickr profiles. Then whenever the shoe comes into contact with a special RFID reading mat the ID of the shoe is scanned and sent to a server which then connects with the chosen interactive platform to deliver a status message. It can also communicate back to the location of the mat to deliver a personalised message. One can imagine walking into a store and it automatically triggering a welcome message while tweeting about your location. The system could allow you to create real-life Face book-like buttons that people could step on in shops and bars. The shoes could also be used as an entry pass to an event or to become Face book friends with another person wearing the shoes. The main drawback with this idea is the fact that it requires hardware in participating locations, unlike Foursquare, which only requires a mobile phone.

And one good use of technology but not so sure about the experience


Renault: Real-world Face book ‘Like’

Renault followed in the footsteps of Coca-Cola’s RFID activity in Israel last year by trying to bring Face book’s ‘Like’ functionality into the real world. The brand launched a range of new models at the AutoRai Amsterdam Motor show in the Netherlands and developed a system that allowed visitors to like the car on Face book by swiping a card given to them at the Renault stand.
Special units allowed users to connect RFID-equipped smart cards with their Face book details, letting them instantly share their favourite Renault vehicles with their friends online by swiping their card past an RFID-embedded unit next to each of the cars.
While it’s certainly an innovative way to connect the online and offline worlds, the user experience would have been better if all visitors were given RFID-enabled entry passes (not just those who went to the Renault stand) for the event and all automotive brands had taken part. That way they might have been able to pre-register their Face book details before arrival and then share their true preferences for cars online.

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