BBDO Pakistan wowed us with a campaign for a mattress brand Moltyfoam last year. It conceptualised billboards that could be turned into beds for the homeless by night. A good night’s sleep for the large hardworking migrant workforce, helped the brand do more than promise a good night’s sleep. It touched lives, and will therefore touch juries. What made it seem like the most natural thing to do, was the brand fit.
Further away, in Peru, a home furnishing / décor brand has hit the spot more recently. McCann’s Lima office struck a chord by creating shelters for drivers to rest alongside a long highway, with free parking, wifi and sleep eye pads. The single-car garages decorated like bedrooms, were courtesy Sodimac Homecente. Pointing to them on the endless highway were billboards. What’s special about these two examples besides the perfect brand fit, is that they were useful in a very real way.
Closer home, the activation by The Social Street for Britannia Good Day at the Filmfare Awards deserves credit for ticking all the boxes – and more. When the brand wants to underline ‘smile’, you can’t do much better than bring smiles on the faces of underprivileged children, by getting their favourite film stars to smile on the red carpet. The laughometer, the screens and the works are instrumental in bringing the idea to life, but should not be confused with the idea itself. The smiles on the faces of those celebrities can be bought. The smiles on the faces of those children, are priceless. Good Day made their day.
So when OOH major Kinetic’s global boss Mauricio Sabogal talks about redefining the scope of the medium, we should take him seriously. The future may be in the mobile, but the mobile talking to other objects may offer extremely exciting possibilities. That could be a gadget at home, or a store kiosk, a drone, or the bus shelter billboard.
The possibilities are immense. But their role in brand communication will boil down to the basics. Of brand fit, creative engagement, user experience. You still need to come up with the experience people will want to have, for them to engage with the activation.
And then, it becomes more than the activation, because it has enriched someone’s life.
(This article first appeared in the 19 February 2016 issue of Campaign India)