LBB’s Alex Reeves finds out what happened when innovative production studio makemepulse invited creatives to invent tech activations for some of advertising’s most iconic traditional campaigns
It was the last day of Cannes Lions. In fact, it was the final session of last week for the Makers Lab in the Palais II. Everybody’s nerves and livers had taken a hammering over the past few days. But that didn’t stop a crowd of eager creatives from around the world dragging themselves along the Croisette under the beating Provençale sun to attend makemepulse’s workshop, Applying Innovative Tech to Advertising’s Most Awarded Ads.
The session did exactly what it promised, but it was very much an interactive affair, no matter what the audiences hangovers said.
“Often big technical activation ideas are in competition with classical, above-the-line content,” says director of partnerships Sarah Cutler on the studio’s inspiration for the session. “We really believe that you can make amazing tech activations that can sit alongside or enhance that. We say, ‘how can we make these ideas work together?’”
The idea was to take some of the amazing traditional work that’s really famous from Cannes and ask creatives what they’d do to enhance this, make it work across other channels and platforms.
Three iconic campaigns formed the basis of the brief:
1. Silfa - Lego
2. British Airways - Face
3. Apple - 1984
Digital creative director Louis Ansa explains why these three were the perfect springboards for building new tech around: “Those campaigns are a nice set of different topics - deep ones, more visual ones and different types of media. It was a wide pool of campaigns.”
Sarah says the main factor was how iconic the work was. “Stuff that, as a creative, you look at and think it could be written as a TV ad but if you were writing the TV ad NOW, what else what you do? Also, it was useful for us to pick stuff from before the time of a lot of the digital activation work. These are the kind of projects that we love to make. We want to make those iconic pieces of the future.”
The makemepulse team were amazed by how quickly different people from around the world, from India to Brazil to Mauritius, collaborated, formed teams and started working on their briefs. “It’s nice to see that single vision moment,” says Sarah.
Each idea was bashed out quickly and presented, but there were some kernels of thoughts that could genuinely go on to win Lions of their own in years to come. With that in mind, we’d rather not give away all the ideas shared in the session, but here’s the gist of each:
This idea aimed to bring out creativity in children and encourage them to restore monuments from around the world using an augmented reality tool. The user would take a photo, e.g. of ancient ruins, and the AR tool would restore them in LEGO. LEGO would then auction off blocks for charity in aid of monument restoration.
Make your own digital version of yourself and create land art in the style of the BA ‘Faces’ commercial. Load your photo and share it to re-create the famous ‘face’ in real time, so when the plane lands, it’s for real on the phone.
Feature within the BA app linked to the in-air wi-fi. Using your phone and AR tool, see the world you’re flying over to see world famous sites. The phone looks through the plane and through the clouds, to see all the routes/stops/places that BA fly to.
This was chosen as the winning idea.
Re-inventing locations of the world to imagine the world in a new way. Load any location or monument into the app, which also uses geo-location to enable the user to edit their own version of the place and share on social media.
Lego would then make limited edition LEGO packs of winning ideas, which could lead to in-store opportunities.
In the war against Microsoft, Apple addresses the issue of privacy. In a partnership with Netflix and a big PR push, create a new Black Mirror episode and launch new tech – ‘My Future’ - which scans your face and predicts your future based on the date, but due to privacy, doesn’t work on Apple.
Addressing common issues of today: gender pay gap, discrimination, inequality, etc. Apple intends to ‘Break the Issue’. Users’ phones become a hammer to break issues on virtual walls. This could connect to a charity.
A revolution against the status quo. Apple turns tech off and disconnect totally for 24 hours in collaboration with all the big-tech companies – Google, Facebook etc.
One thing makemepulse really wanted to highlight was that people should learn a bit and be aware of what technology can do for ideas.
Sarah reflected that the best thing was the fact that everyone in the workshop was so open to thinking this way. “People opened their eyes,” she says.
Louis loved watching the process. “You can see how it all interacts with each other and with us when we were going to the group and giving insight on the tech and what could be possible and how we could push it further using very simple mechanics.”
It makes a strong case for the power of the tech-centred ideas like those makemepulse devise, says Sarah. “A lot of these ideas could have come from anywhere in the world and could have had global reach,” she says. “The LEGO campaign started with a guy from India, but if the idea was right it would pick up and gain sentiment and growth all over the world. That’s the amazing thing about what we do. When the idea is right, technology makes it fly all over the world.”