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ReBrief: Enhancing the Classics

During day 3 of SXSWi I attended a panel on, “Can the biggest ideas fit in the smallest spaces,”
by Google. Haven’t you often thought to yourself, man they should really bring back some of those classic ads – those that bring back nostalgia of our childhood or just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? Well that is exactly what Google has done in their new “Project Rebrief.”

Being the 18 year anniversary of Internet advertising, Google designed an experiment to re-imagine what advertising can be and to push the boundaries of how creative ideas and technology can work together while creating an emotional connection with the consumer. Throughout this experiement they had it documented by Emmy-Award-Winning director, Doug Pray.

During the session they took us through 4 case studies on classic ads that they are now enhancing in the the digital space Coke, Alka-Seltzer , Avis, and Volvo. I encourage you to take a look at each brand experiment; however, would like to focus on the Coca-Cola initiative as this is the one that really connected with me on a emotional level.

For those that recall the 1971 Coke TV commercial, “Hilltop” where a chorus of young people from around the word sing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” – this was an iconic ad created by art director, Harvey Gabor that has been inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame.

Now in 2012, Google has figured out a way to brink this idea to life within the digital space. Details include:

The Original Brief: Demonstrate Coca-Cola’s power to connect people while highlighting the global ambitions of the Coca-Cola brand.

The Re-imagined Work: Enable users to actually “buy the world a Coke” using Google’s display advertising platform and a series of specially-developed vending machines. In the spirit of the original work, users can record a message and send it with a Coca-Cola to connect with someone on the other side of the world. The receiver can then respond with a text or video message, completing the connection.

The Concept: Harvey’s re-imagined ad enables users to actually ‘buy the world a Coke’ from their computer or phone, and connect with someone on the other side of the world through the magic of display advertising. Users can select a location, attach a personal video or text message, and then watch as the Coke is delivered to a specially-designed vending machine on the other side of the world. The receivers at the machine can then send a thank you message back to the sender, right from the vending machine.

The Take Away: The world is closer than ever before. Now, through the magic of ad technology and vending machines, consumers can connect with strangers across the world through a touching video or text message exchange. Ad servers communicate with vending machines in real-time, establishing unique connection opportunities between digital ads and the physical world, like never before. The payoff is a unique personal film that is created and can be shared of this great “visual voyage.”

The Future: Soon, more people will access the Internet from mobile devices than computers around the world. Using AdMob, the experience is brought to life on mobile devices, making it possible to send a Coca-Cola across the world from anywhere.

In my opinion this is a brilliant concept and a great way to engage users in the digital space, I hope to see more come from Google and The Project Rebrief experiment. Bravo!

Take a look at the user experience from The Project Rebrief for the Coke experiment (Source: The Project Rebrief):

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Sources: Project Rebrief , notes from SXSWi panel

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