VW

Eos Shadow Poster.

This is such a simple idea, but it is really brilliant. DDB Berlin, created a simple structure that is placed horizontally above a busy pedestrian traffic area. When the sun is shining, the sign displays a simple call to action, “Perfect day for a test drive.” This simple ad, was able to generate a 12% increase in test drives of the VW Eos in almost every location it was placed at. Those numbers show the effectiveness of this simple concept.

Design Friday. BP’s Immersive Online Gaming Experience.

Over the last year there has been this huge debate about HTML 5 vs Flash. I’m not going to get into a debate, or start some rant about which is better or why people should realize that HTML 5 and Flash can work together for an even better user experience. OK I’m starting to rant. Enough of that, and on to what I really wanted to post about, which is the solid gaming design and beautiful interactive design execution for BP’s Ultimate Ride 2 website.

HelloComputer has created an online interactive game for BP South Africa that lets you design and build your own custom Volkswagen GTI. The game is built with Flash and takes advantage of some of the latest Flash technology to create a highly interactive 3D gaming experience with hooks to social media channels.

Ultimately the game functions as a brand extension for BP, creating brand buzz and associating the oil giant with something fun and cool. The multi-player online game lets you modify and customize your virtual GTI, race against others online, and judge others car designs as well. As you play the game, you develop street cred which translates into virtual cash letting you buy more items or your car. As your car gets judged by others and as you win more races you continue to get more virtual cash so you can build and customize more cars. This applies to sharing your results with Facebook and Twitter as well. The game has an addictive hook and sets up a viral loop that helps sell the site, and extend its reach with the target audience.

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If you have some time go to the Ultimate Ride site and check it out. By the way, did I mention that the game was built using Flash? Oh I did, didn’t I. Yes this game was built using Flash, and while you might have been able to build it using HTML5, I can’t even imagine the difficulty, or what the end result would be like. I hate to say it Flash naysayers but I don’t think it would have been as fluid or as polished as it is if you had built it with HTML 5 alone.

My Top 5 I mean 6, Super Bowl TV Spots for 2011.

Last night I DVR’d the Super Bowl, not so I could re-watch the game, but so I could re-watch the TV ads that ran during it. While there is no actual science to this, these are my top picks. The way I came to these results was pretty simple.

  • Was the ad memorable?
  • Did I remember the actual product being sold or promoted?
  • Did the ad reinforce or establish the brand message?

Based on these three factors, here are what I considered to be the 5 best TV spots that ran during the game, (and yes VW’s “The Force” didn’t make the cut because they butchered the 60 second version in the 30 second cut down.)

These Ads are in no particular order, for the most part I think they were all pretty effective. A couple of points though. The Doritos ad featuring the pug was produced for 500 dollars by a website designer, so it scores extra points on the budget and consumer buzz front. The Chrysler ad featuring Eminem  scored extra points for me because it conveyed the same visual and editorial brand voice that Wieden & Kennedy has established for Chrysler’s sub-brand Jeep.

I forgot to add this to my list this morning. I was pairing things down to five so it didn’t make the top cut but I was going to include with an honorable mention, because I am a MINI owner, and I thought it was a pretty damn funny ad. Thanks to my buddy Paul for reminding me to include it.

Design Friday, George Lois.

Everyone is probably familiar with George Lois work, even non designers. Lois is best known for more than 92 covers he created for Esquire magazine between 1962 and 1972. Those covers offered a controversial statement on life in the 1960s and 1970’s and had a direct impact on magazine design at the time. His cover subjects included Norman Mailer, Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Germaine Greer, and Richard Nixon, and a host of others.

Born in New York City in 1931, Lois was raised in the Bronx. His arts career can be traced back to its beginnings when he attended the High School of Music and Art, in New York and then the prestigious Pratt Institute. After Graduation Lois had a brief stent with Reba Sochis before being drafted into the army for the Korean war in 1953.

In 1955 after his discharge from the army, ent to work for the advertising and promotions department at CBS where he designed print and media projects where he worked until being hired by the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1959. One year later Lois was recruited away from DDB by Fred Papert and Julian Koenig to form Papert, Koenig Advertising. Lois spent seven years at the firm before leaving to form his own company. “Lois”.

As Lois formed and began o take on clients, he developed what he called  “The Big Idea”. Some of his more well-known contributions to the advertising world have been; creating the concept and prototype designs for the “New York” magazine supplement for the New YorkHerald Tribune (forerunner of what became New York magazine). Lois also created the legendary “I Want My MTV” campaign in the late 1980’s and he helped create and introduce MTV’s spin-off channel VH1. Lois was responsible for the re branding of renamed Stouffer’s frozen foods products to Lean Cuisine. He developed marketing and messaging for Jiffy Lube stations. He created the initial advertising campaign to raise awareness of designer Tommy Hilfiger.

Other clients include: Xerox, Aunt Jemima, USA Today, ESPN and four re-election campaigns for U.S. Senators: Jacob Javits, Warren Magnuson, Minority Leader Hugh Scott, Robert Kennedy. In addition to print and advertising, Lois also has created music videos and broadcast design. His one music video, “Jokerman” by Bob Dylan, won the MTV Best Music Video of the Year Award in 1983.

A point of note, George Lois is the only person in the world that has been inducted into The Art Directors Hall of Fame, The One Club Creative Hall of Fame, and holds Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Society of Publication Designers, as well as a subject of the Master Series at the School of Visual Arts.

Not that it really matters since his contributions have still so great, but it should be noted. George Lois has been accused of stealing credit for others’ ideas and for exaggerating his participation on certain campaigns and designs. The June 19, 2009 episode of “This American Life” Ira Glass featured a segment in which several of Lois’ former associates claimed he took credit for ad campaigns, ad copy and Esquire covers that were partially or wholly the work of others. The program contained interviews from Carl Fisher (the Esquire photographer who shot the famous Sonny Liston cover claimed by Lois) and two of Lois’ former partners, Julian Koenig and Fred Papert.

On May 18, 2008, the New York Times published a correction of an April 27, 2008 review of a George Lois art exhibit. In the correction, the Times stated that the “Think Small” Volkswagen ad campaign and the “I Want My Maypo” campaign were not created by George Lois. The correction identified Julian Koenig and Helmut Krone as the creators of the VW ad campaign, and John and Faith Hubley as the creators of the Maypo campaign, contradicting Lois’ published claims of credit for these ad campaigns.

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