As part of its promotional push at Cannes this week, Google has released the results of its Project Re: Brief, which tasked creative teams with re-casting classic brand campaigns of the 60s and 70s for digital platforms. Announced earlier this year and featuring the originators of memorable campaigns for Coke, Avis, Alka-Seltzer and Volvo, the ads are being featured in an Android App at Google Play and can each be explored at the Project Re: Brief site.
Each of the campaigns has both desktop and mobile or tablet iterations and focuses on leveraging the presentational capabilities of the device as well as its personalization and geolocation capabilities. Coke's “I’d Like to Teach The World to Sing” spot is turned into a mobile execution that allows the user to text-message strangers around the world and direct them to special vending machines that will dispense them a free Coke. The process is visualized in a custom video for the message careering around the globe.
The classic “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” tag line for Alka-Seltzer is turned into a 70s-style sitcom series that leverages user location to customize the episodes. The overeating character of Ralph makes a reappearance.
The “We try harder” tagline from Avis becomes interactive in a campaign that invites rental car owners to share their own stories and details about their rental car. The ad then creates a customized animated video from the details that can be shared with others. The ad asks for some basic data and a text story and creates the animation from patterns and typical scenarios that Avis has already gleaned from thousands of customer messages. Negative stories are met with an invitation to get customer support.
Among the most interactive and imaginative bits of ad storytelling to result from the project comes from Volvo in a full rethink of the “Drive it like you hate it” campaign. In this case, the company found a Volvo owner from the 60s named Irv Gordon whose original P1800s model is about to pass three million miles. The ad allows the user to track Irv’s odometer countdown as he drives around the country to pass the 3,000,000 mark. A tablet app tracks progress, integrates Google+ posts of his travels and generates a tap-and-swipe timeline as he approaches the goal.
Google and the assigned teams of advertisers were demonstrating the various desktop and mobile technologies available to marketers through the range of new devices. HTML5 plays a large part in many of these executions, as does typical Google strength such as mapping.
The full Re: Brief project has also been chronicled by filmmaker Doug Pray, who made the documentary on the original Mad Men of the 1960s “Art & Copy.” The Project Re: Brief experiment returned to the creative leads on the iconic campaigns to get their counsel on how to rethink the campaigns for interactive technologies. The group included Harvey Gabor, Bob Pasqualina and Howie Cohen, Amil Gorgano and Paula Green.