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Posts from the ‘Marketing’ Category

Samsung’s Power Sleep app. Donate computing power while you sleep.

I think it’s safe to say that of all the “free giving” programs out there, Samsung’s Power Sleep app takes the prize. (And by “free giving” I mean programs that allow people to contribute to a good social cause while doing what they normally do anyway.) In case you haven’t heard about Power Sleep yet, the app was developed in collaboration with the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Vienna and donates your phone’s unused computing power to scientific research while you sleep. What kind of research, you might ask? How about research on cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer?

Researchers found that they didn’t have enough computing power to process the data they were working with. According to Dr Thomas Rattei, Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Vienna, “in order to fight diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer, we need to know how proteins are created. This requires series of tests that need immense computing power and this is where Power Sleep bridges the gap between science and society.”

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Happy holidays from Hailo and Molson: Operation #ExitStrategy


For the month of December, Hailo and Molson have teamed up to offer $10 free taxi credit to their users during this season of holiday parties and celebrations. The campaign gives users going to select establishments (map below) a $10 credit that they can access through entering a unique promo code into their app before they hail a cab.

If you’re not familiar with Hailo, the service allows users to hail a cab and also to pay automatically for their cab fare with a few taps of their finger through a phone app. Users can see who the driver is going to be, call them, and follow their driver’s progress to their location on a map. The service launched in Toronto a little over a year ago and was met with huge fanfare and open arms. I was certainly one of those fans. And why not? A more convenient, reliable, faster, and safer way of hailing and traveling in cabs? Fantastic.

But back to the campaign – it’s a brilliant example of a triple win campaign. Molson gets customers going to Molson establishments that serve their beer. They also have the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to their “celebrate responsibly” messaging in a very direct and active way. Hailo gets users using their app – potentially new users who have never tried their app before. And finally, all users who participate in the campaign get $10 off their cab fare after their night out.


For marketers, campaigns of this nature are not always easy to create as it’s important to find the right alignment of strategy, opportunity, and channel. However, a strong focus on the end user and what adds value to them is a great place to start. This joint campaign is a great example of providing value to customers in a relevant and integrated way that makes great use of the social and mobile channels.

Happy holidays, everyone!

The Bear and The Hare: John Lewis’ holiday campaign done right

Every year, UK retailer John Lewis launches a holiday campaign that tends to melt the hardest of hearts. This year, they did not disappoint. In true John Lewis style, they launched The Bear and The Hare, carrying the message: “Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget”.

At the campaign’s core is their television spot: a beautifully hand-drawn partial stop-motion animation about two dear friends, the bear and the hare. It’s simple, captivating, and moving. (I’ll let you watch it to see for yourself.)

The TV spot is fantastic on its own and is only strengthened by the layer upon layer of digital and offline extensions John Lewis has wrapped around it: each encouraging further exploration, engagement, and reminders of their lovely tale. And with reminders of their tale are also reminders of John Lewis as a retailer for families out shopping. (I have to confess, I wish there were one in Canada.)

As a story, The Bear and The Hare is very accessible to families and children and lends itself exceptionally well to family oriented extensions like: Read more

Billboard that creates potable water from the air

It all started with the impending start of the University of Engineering and Technology’s (UTEC) application period and its need to capture the attention of potential students. Based in Lima, Peru, where potable water is limited and the air humidity is 98%, the University launched a very different kind of campaign: a billboard advertising their school that also contained the technology necessary to capture the air humidity with an air filter and turning it into drinkable water through a condenser and water filter. Each billboard contained a water tank that could carry up to 20L of water.

UTEC not only showcases the very benefit of what their institution offers, but also developed a great way of building awareness and relationships with the very communities they want to draw students from at the grassroots level.

Everybody wins. And, it’s brilliant.

For the marketers and brands out there: how can you better integrate your product or service as a benefit to the communities you’re a part of? Is there a way of also integrating your messaging intrinsically into what you’re doing in a way that demonstrates what you offer – rather than just saying what you offer? Of course, not every product lends itself as beautifully to an idea and execution like UTEC, but perhaps there are other ways of bringing product offering and service to a community together that’s beyond donated dollars and the social responsibility programs often isolated from the rest of the company.

Something to think about.

LEGO turns 80: Brand storytelling at its best

LEGO turns 80 this month and in tribute of the occasion, they have created a 17-minute animated short film sharing the history behind their iconic bricks. At 17 minutes, the film is rather long for the typical brand-inspired film, particularly considering the ever-shrinking attention span of the average person. And yet, the video has been watched by well over 2 million people. I don’t know about them, but I watched the entire video. All 17 minutes worth.

The film is a great example of brand storytelling done exceptional. A few of my thoughts on why:

  1. The founder’s story: tying any brand story back to the company’s origins (which are usually humble and involving personal hardship) tends to be interesting, especially when they are tied to a person who endured and persevered through hardships as those overcome by Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of LEGO. A strong founder’s story is inspiring, relatable, and even heart-wrenching. At its best, bringing a founder’s story to life is a powerful tool in strengthening emotional attachment of fans, and establishing a tie with those who are not yet fans. LEGO’s founder is someone that fans can relate to, cheer on and hope does well… even when we know he eventually must, as we know what LEGO is today.
  2. Emotive story themes: Personal difficulty, perseverance, hard work, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to quality – the hallmarks of a brand that every customer can get behind, and ones that not every brand can attest to. LEGO has wrapped layer after layer of their brand story in these elements, making the extra effort to tie their commitment to quality to the craftsman story of the original wooden toys LEGO created. Smart, because carpentry is something a customer can easily relate craftsmanship to. More so than the plastic block.
  3. Personal narration: The film is narrated by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the grandson of Ole Kirk Christiansen. Initially, the narrator is unnoticed as just a voice, but eventually, it’s subtly and then not too subtly revealed that he’s a member of the family. Strong, because with the close familial ties to not only the founder but also LEGO, the narration, founder, and company suddenly become even more relatable and relevant. We’re listening to a man tell the story of his grandfather’s start and slow establishment of his company. Even though Kjeld is no longer the President and CEO of LEGO, it doesn’t matter. It’s still his family’s company, and as fans, we are more closely tied to his story because it is told through his eyes.
  4. Sincerity and authenticity: the story is told in a matter-of-fact sort of way that is approachable, simple, and authentic without any bells and whistles. Not to say that every story should be told in this way, but stories rooted in authenticity further resonate with fans. They are also more believable.
  5. Alignment to brand values: Alongside the story themes, which are compelling, and also selected in close alignment to LEGO’s brand values, the way LEGO’s story is told – methodically without too much excitement or embellishment – is also closely aligned to LEGO’s brand values. A brand story should always be consistent with the brand values and positioning. It seems obvious, but surprising how often it’s not well executed.
  6. Informative: Even for the biggest LEGO fan, the film offers you something new about the company you may not have known before. Did you know that LEGO comes from the Danish words “leg godt” for “play well”? LEGO also means “I put together” in Latin – a lucky, unplanned aspect of the name.

Apart from these aspects, the film is, of course very well executed in a Pixar-style animation. That level of quality in a video always helps.

In any case, happy 80th birthday, LEGO. I hope there are many more years of playing well to come.

Girl Effect


The Girl Effect was created by The Nike Foundation in collaboration with partners like the United Nations Foundation and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. Since then, there have been a number of initiatives and organizations that have taken on the movement with their own campaigns that focus on girls in combating poverty and illiteracy.

You might ask – why the focus on girls? Here’s a short explanation by USAID that I think says it best.

Assume this initial condition: A 13 year old girl stands at a crossroads with two choices before her: school or child marriage. The problem is it’s not usually a choice.Married, she is more likely to die from childbirth at an early age; she is more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases; she is more prone to become a victim of partner violence; she never receives an education; and she is unable to contribute to society in a way that has a larger social impact and helps to push the human race forward.With an education she marries later in life—to someone she chooses. She decides the timing of her children and is in a position to make decisions about her own health. She invests money in her children’s health and education, and is able to contribute to society in a meaningful way. Other people recognize her value and contributions, and begin to understand that all girls have value.Multiply that scenario by the 600 million girls in the developing world and it’s easy to comprehend how a small change in an initial condition is capable of determining the course of humanity. That is powerful.The human race cannot progress when half of the world population lives without the same rights and respect afforded to its male counterpart.

That’s a powerful message – and the brilliant design and execution of this campaign make the message even more powerful.

For more information about the girl effect and/or to contribute to the cause, go to

Toyota Auris hybrid car: launches with projection mapping

Toyota’s new Auris hybrid has an attractive claim to fame: it recycles energy while you drive. So when Toyota launched their the hybrid in the UK earlier this season, they decided to use technology as innovative as their car: 3D projection mapping. 3D projection mapping has tended to find its way on to buildings up to now, and is becoming increasingly popular. But for Toyota, there was a catch. They wanted to project right onto the car itself, and they wanted it to be a 360 experience. It might seem like a slight modification, or even natural evolution of the existing technology, but if you consider how difficult is to effectively execute 3D projection mapping on the usual 2-dimensional plane, it would be infinitely more complicated and challenging.

In the end, with the help of Glue Isobar and production agency, Superglue, Toyota successfully launched the Auris in the way they had envisioned. They needed to use 7 different projectors around the car for a full 360 degree projection. The result, no matter where someone from the audience stood around the car, he or she would get the same experience.

The final product is shown in the video below:

And if you’re interested in how the projection mapping was done, Toyota’s posted a video about that:

Find out more about the campaign at:

If you’re interested in finding out more about 3D projection mapping, Social Times has a great article on it.

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