Category Archives: Uncategorized

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner


So proud to be have been part of the team that has won a clean sweep this year in the Telly Awards. We entered 4 and won 4 for our work on the Ford press conference and films we made for Edge, Mustang and Ranger in the non-broadcast.

We also won bronze in the Non-Broadcast Charitable Category for United Way South East Michigan.

I’m particularly pleased with this because they are a great client and a powerful force for good in this area. The strategy was taken directly from a short survey we ran amongst our contacts across the region asking simply “What do you think about when we say United Way?”. Our answers were pretty evenly split between the macro and the micro, but there was no connection between the two. So we focused on the insight that humans love to feel connected – to each other and particularly to the charities they support. The brief was focused a quote from Helen Keller and an image of a mosaic:-

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

This was the resulting creative ‘On our Way’ generating  65,000 views on Facebook and 171 shares.

 

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Two Ex Awards!


In these days of bad news it’s nice to hear something good.

So here you go…

Imagination Detroit are up for Best B2B Trade Show with their amazing work on SEMA 2017 at the Ex Awards in May.

And for their amazing work on the Bullitt activation at the NAIAS.

Magic.

Experiential Trends for 2018


The Imagination strategists on the Ford account from both USA and Europe have pulled together the experiential trends they are seeing take hold in 2018. We visit a lot of shows and experiences and we always have our eyes and ears open to other brilliant trend reports.

This is a very experiential focused piece because Imagination is focused on creating connected and connecting experiences so though we do examine some high level mega trends we are looking more closely at design, architecture, technology and behavior in physical space.

Here’s hoping you have a peaceful and happy New Year.

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Back to Books – Holiday marketing


Do you remember the Sears Wishbook? (You should they only stopped publishing them in 2011!) Filled with dreams and visions of wonderful gifts, holiday home furnishings, fashions and treats to buy, you could pore over it for hours. And dream.

As digital took over the Sears Wishbook took a rest. But now it’s  back! Why?

It’s a tough time for traditional retailers and Sears is no different. In the past ten years, it has closed nearly 60% of its U.S. stores and its stock has fallen 50% year to date. If you want to cut through the cut price, cut and run efficiency of Amazon you have to offer something more, something Amazon can’t or won’t offer.

Books still communicate something special, representing a moment to yourself which is always attractive in these days of FOMO and LOMO. There’s a particularly aspirational dreaming  around wonderful Christmas you’re going to have which lends itself to a slower more contemplative read than scanning the bright yellow and white pages of Amazon.

Then there’s nostalgia. Refreshing people’s memory about they way they used to buy is a classic and classy play that digs deep into our dreams of Christmas past.

And finally, it’s authentic. The first Wishbook was published in 1934. Sears has history with this so why not tap into that authenticity to remind visitors that the brand is still there, ready to sell them everything?

But what if you don’t have that kind of  history to draw on, yet face many of the same problems? Enter the Toys R Us Christmas catalog.

Like the Sears catalog, it isn’t long, but with less  history to draw on Toys’R’Us has come up with a charming way to tug on the heart strings. Throughout the book are micro-stories written by children as a response to the catalogue montages and they are charming. They create an emotional response, a connection that reminds us of the incredible creativity kids bring to the toys they play with.

And that tangible moment combined with our love of dreaming might make a difference between visiting Toys R Us and sitting glumly in front of your computer this holiday season.

AI and experiential


A shot of drawings from Quick,Draw!AI has made it’s way into our lives without us really noticing.

The ads that recommend products you might like? Machine learning.

Siri, Alexa? They use AI to develop ever better wake-word detection (the words that wake them up and start them listening) and speech recognition.

And of course the ever popular Quick, Draw!

But working out how AI might impact on our own work lives is of course way more interesting. For instance, what will AI do to the world of experiential design?

Threats
The demise of the middle classes is the very latest apocalpyse promised by technology. But the threat is real. AIs work faster and can be more accurate than us, picking up nuances that humans miss. Examples?

  • We know that AI can plan moves to outwit a GO! master. So AI could plan the optimum path or paths through experiences. That would do away with the need for architectural design experts.
  • AI can analyze big data and derive insights in such a way that there may be no perceived need for strategists, particularly if the strategists have focused their attention solely on data and measurement rather than emotional connection and behavioral economics
  • AI can assess creative outputs and recommend universally appealing stories or interactions that deliver much of the work of human creatives, faster and more efficiently, and possibly even more effectively. IBM Watson was asked to make recommendations for a film trailer of the film Morgan. Check out the rather unsettling results. 

But as with every threat the flip side is the opportunity.

Opportunities
From the research I am currently reading and the pilot projects we are working on at Imagination I can see some interesting opportunities for experiential design agencies that hinge on doing at a more intricate level what we should always be doing – making more effective, emotionally affective experiences for our audiences.

  • AI can deliver a new way of measuring volume and behavior inside experiences that gives new levels of detail. Instead of self-reported research responses which are always biased we can map experiential user journeys more accurately. As one example, we can look at whether people really ended up where we wanted them because they were attracted there, or driven there.
  • Facial mapping technology can help us determine high and low value experiences much faster than we have been able to do previously. This opens the possibility of more adaptive experiential spaces – screens that change content responsively, according to what most people in the space want, or to create shock and excitement with content that no one is expecting?
  • Speech enabled environments that can deliver personally crafted stories from a huge data set, via your mobile, on the fly. Imagine that for museums.
  • Identifying the places and moments inside an experience that require more human interaction.

Currently AI needs human input to be of value. Maybe it will reach a point where it doesn’t need human input.

But one interesting observation from game 4 of the 5 game match between AlphaGol and Lee Sedol.

The moment where the program made it’s fateful mistake in that match was the moment that Lee Sedol made an unexpected and unpredictable move.  We love to believe that humans are rational, predictable and definable. But if behavioral economics has taught us anything it’s that we are more emotional or ‘irrational’ than we like to believe. That’s where AI has problems. But that’s where experiences truly bring value to the marketing mix.

We are, after all, animals that thrive off emotional connection, so much so that it actually creates health in us.  So experiential designers should consider ways to work with AI as a way of generating more of that irrationality that seems to be a characteristic of humans to deliver emotions that drive brand energy.