Even as I write this sentence, hundreds of new case studies are madly and secretly being re-cut and tweaked to perfection in dark studios across Asia. It’s even more hush-hush than the new season premier of GOT. (On second thought, that’s a terrible analogy because the first four episodes just leaked online.) Anyway, the point is, when I was asked to put together this list, I found myself not in a dark studio, but in a quandary. Most of the hot stuff has already done the rounds at all the shows by now. So without the benefit of any leaks, here’s a roundup of five pieces that got me. Five pieces that I hope win.
AKQA Shanghai’s 'Nike House of Mamba' is top of my list. It’s the first full-sized LED reactive basketball court that taught aspiring players the fundamentals of Kobe Bryant's Mamba Mentality. I can’t do it justice here, so watch the case study. It’s cool.
Up next is Cheil’s ‘Look at me’. Great insight and use of technology for good. I love the simple realisation that kids with autism are bad with human interaction but naturally good with devices. With all the current conversation about device addiction and over-connectedness, this is such a refreshing, 180 take on things.
Interacting with other people can be a struggle for autistic children and adults—especially reading facial expressions and making eye contact. Experts in the field worked with user-experience designers to develop a reward-based smart device application for autistic children to play with. They teamed up with Seoul National University and Yonsei University to create ‘Look at me’, a tech-based training tool.
The kids are tasked with completing seven missions designed to help them express their emotions, interpret facial expressions and work their way toward making eye contact. Much like a video or computer game, each successfully-completed assignment results in a prize, including points, rubies and character cards.
The app, available on Google Play, was originally tested by 20 children for eight weeks. Post-program surveys filled out by parents indicated that 60 per cent of the kids showed improvement in making eye contact. I hope this doesn’t stop here or after a win. And they get to test it on a larger base and make the idea scaleable and available to everyone who could use it.
I’m also loving Bloodbook from Leo Burnett Jakarta. So simple and such a no brainer. It makes you go ‘Why hasn’t anybody already done this?!’. An app within Facebook that allows you to register your blood type. So in times of emergency, you will be able to locate your friends within Facebook with the right blood type in a matter of seconds. This needs a little context to appreciate the ingenuity—the fact that the government and medical infrastructure for traditional bloodbanks in Indonesia is far from good and also the fact that Indonesians are culturally glued by an incredible sense of community. They put the ‘social’ in social media. So if Bloodbook can work anywhere, it will be here. It would be great to see some metrics and see how many lives were saved by this simple application.
For very similar reasons, I really like the 'Life saving dot' developed by Grey for Good. An iodine patch, designed like a regular bindi. When stuck on the forehead, it delivers the daily required amount of iodine—100 to 150 micrograms—to the body by absorption through the skin. It is expected to help 100,000 tribal women in northwest Maharashtra battle iodine deficiency. Since these tribal people don't consume iodized salt, they usually lack this nutrient. These iodine bindis were distributed free to tribal women in villages near Nashik and Ahmednagar. Each woman got 30 bindis, to last a month.
And finally, some incredible content on a big iconic brand: J. Walter Thompson Sydney’s ‘Unstoppable’, for Nutri-Grain (here's Campaign Asia's coverage of the campaign launch). In a world where we all worry about being skipped at the fifth second or the 15th, it fills me with joy to see a brand brave enough to put its stock in long-form content that is at points actually hard to watch. I sat through the seven-minute films at our creative council meeting and by the end, had tears in my eyes. And I don’t cry easy.
Centred around ‘unstoppable’ individuals, each inspiring story showcases the Nutri-Grain brand values of courage, strength and determination, and dramatises a new brand belief that 'the only limits are those you place on yourself’.
There are so many pieces of content that come out every day; so clumsily and obviously trying to manipulate your emotions and failing. But these stories are told elegantly and non-melodramatically. Authentic, moving, powerful stuff.
Branded content is a tough category but I hope this does well because it’s work like this that is meaningful and relevant.
|Juhi Kalia (@juhikalia) is executive creative director, global Lux and Friso, at J. Walter Thompson Singapore. She has shared her impressions from Cannes for the last two years (the picture here is from 2013).|