About Natasha Szczerb

Posts by Natasha Szczerb:

Creative Corner: Bring Art to Life

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There are things that no matter how old they are, people should know about it.  Especially as a reference to understand how we got here. It happens with movies, music, pictures and also with advertising campaigns.

This week I selected two incredible campaigns in this style. Old (for Internet time) but a must when the theme is promoting movies. Why specifically movies’ campaigns? Well, because unlike most products, no one needs to create a story for the product, since the product itself is already a story.

It makes everything more interesting when you have a whole world to explore.  So without further ado, on with the show(s):

Batman – Why So Serious

There are no other words to describe this campaign other then “the best campaign ever made.”  Really. People can say that it’s easy to promote something that millions already love.  And while this is certainly true,  they went beyond this, and involved people in an amazing game for a one year campaign (from 2007 to 2008.) The cherry on top of the cake, for me, was to see how every step of the campaign was in a way synchronized to the movie. Winner of the Cyber Grand Prix Cannes Lion in 2009:

Those are some of the websites that were part of the campaign:

http://whysoserious.com/
http://www.ibelieveinharveydenttoo.com/
http://www.gothamcityrail.com/
http://www.thegothamtimes.com/

(I assume everyone saw this movie already, but if you made a terrible mistake of not seeing it, now is the time! Go.  See.  It.)

Coraline

This movie had a completely different scenario. Both the character and the movie itself were less-known. So incase you missed it, here’s the trailer:

This creepy animation initially makes you think it’s a kids movie.  But it’s not, believe me.  The movie had such a terrific campaign that it nailed a Titanium and Integrated Silver Cannes Lion in 2009. Here is why:

What you can’t properly see in the video case but you should are the banners made featuring a supporting character. Pure entertainment, something rare when talking about banners:

For more, check out Coraline’s official website: http://www.coraline.com/

Happy End of the World

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What would you like to do in your last day on Earth? That’s the main question Axe/Lynx asks you in their Facebook app promoting the Final Edition deodorant. An interesting idea, with a very well done app, but with a major failure: The brand doesn’t  bother to help you realize your wishes — it just invites you to think about them and share.  That said, some might argue that by “putting these thoughts out into the universe” you can bring them to fruition.  What do you think?

To check it out you need to like the page first: https://apps.facebook.com/lynx-lrg/


Pimp Your Holiday Card

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Tired of the same old same old paper cards, emails and e-cards over the Holidays? So is Adidas. That’s why they brought Snoop Dog and Jeremy Scott to handle it this year. Through a Facebook app people can write their own personalized messages, choose the friend to receive it, the date to be sent and voila!

While it’s too late to submit your own message now, you can check out more than 300 videos that were recorded in the app: http://apps.facebook.com/originalsgetthegift/

What do you think?  If they offer this next year, will you try it?

R.I.P. Farfar

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It is often said that all good things must come to an end.  Following ten years of incredible work, the Swedish agency Farfar shut its doors…and ironically enough, they closed up shop on the very day that they won yet another award.

I just  learned of the sad loss of Farfar, and in order to properly honor this groundbreaking agency I’ve prepared a tribute showcasing 3 of their best and most indelible campaigns:

“Heidies 15 MB of Fame” (2007)

Let’s begin by turning up the temperature a little bit with this provocative and astounding campaign that Farfar put together for Diesel. The recipe is actually quite simple: Put two hot girls in a hotel room with an equally hot (and mostly naked!) guy. Then stand back and let them do all kinds of crazy stuff. And then show everything online. And to make it even more tantilizing, give the trio control of Diesel’s official website, and allow them to transform the site into a personal blog and live-chat. Not innovative enough? Well, this went down way back in the day in 2007. In Internet years, this is like “the Dark Ages.”

Here is the video case-study:Bjorn Borg (2007)

Let’s keep the heat turned up, shall we? Here is another Farfar campaign from 2007 that uses sexy people to maximum effect, except this time they mix in a some humor. To boost the Swedish lingerie brand Bjorn Borg, the agency chose to make fun of the universal blond-Swedish stereotype. The result is an amusing story involving fake company employees sharing their crazy ideas of how to change the world using the “power of underwear”. Unfortunately, I found very little online about this great campaign, so below are two videos, one presenting the general concept of the campaign and the other bringing to life one of the um, “creative” (shall we say) concepts.

This is the concept video for the campaign, which presents the office, the characters and the general story:

Here is the video of the first “mission” promoted by the “power of underwear”: Peace on Earth:

 

The World’s Biggest Signpost (2010)

Finally, let’s jump ahead to 2010. Farfar was able to count Nokia as a regular client for many years and several great campaign came out of their relationship. However one stands apart from the rest: “The World’s Biggest Signpost”. Designed to generate interest in Nokia’s navigation products, it featured a 50m high SMS-controlled signpost displaying people’s favorite places around the world. This brilliant idea received tons of awards, including the one mentioned in the beginning of this post.

Here is the video case-study:

5 tips on how to prepare your brand for the new Facebook Timeline

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Facebook’s biggest change so far – The Timeline – was announced last month, but it still hasn’t reached the masses. Nevertheless, as many speculate as to when the public launch will happen, some eager users couldn’t wait and have already enabled the new profile for their accounts. ( Want to do the same? Learn how to do it here.)  And while everyone is talking about how these changes will affect users, many companies wonder: How will all of this affect our brand(s)?

Since Facebook has yet to announce how branded Fan Pages will look in the new format, we don’t have all the answers.  (Yet!)  Still, we can definitely help you understand how you can get your brand ready for these changes with 5 simple tips:

 

1. We don’t like “Like” anymore

Ok, you may want to sit down for this part.  (And if you’re already sitting, then take a deep, cleansing breath):  Yes, it’s true.  The magic word everyone pursued since the “Like” button was created in April, 2010 is about to go out of fashion.  See, when you have “Timelines” with people’s stories, what they “Facebook-Liked” along the way becomes a minor detail and loses its relevancy. At first you will also notice a drop in your numbers, like less visitors and less interactions.

The only advice we can give right now is to wait. (Or hyperventilate into a paper bag if absolutely necessary.)  Seriously though,  Facebook is not stupid – we hope – and we are sure that they have a trick up their sleeve to fix this issue for Facebook Ads payers.

 

2. Don’t be a brand, be part of people’s lives

With the reign of “Like” down, brands will have to think about ways of belonging in people’s lives. In other words, in order to be seen in  the Facebook timeline, the user will have to want your brand there. So the old concept of wooing your target audience instead of shoving your message down their throats is becoming more relevant than ever.

Companies will have to provide value, to engage users, and to have them as brand ambassadors if they want to enjoy their place in the (virtual) sun. Our advice? Stop for a second and think about what your brand really does to engage people. Is it enough? Or should you try harder?  Here’s another idea:  Ask your Facebook users what they think!

 

3. Get creative

From the new profile format we can speculate as to how the new fan pages will look. We think these changes are going to be awesome.Take a look at the profile pages — what do you see? The option for much more customization, starting with the big image in the header.   If we are right and the fan pages have the same possibilities, you should be totally cheering right now. Want clear examples? Check out some mock ups of how the new branded pages could look.

We think you’ll be inspired.

 

4. Tell Stories

The Timeline creates a record of our life on Facebook.  In other words, the strongest concept behind the Timeline is the way it shares our life stories.  As we said before, brands will have to think about ways of getting inside these personal stories, becoming at the end of the day,  storytellers. Literally. Look, if you want to be relevant to your audience, your company will need a strong story to tell,   and the key question to ask yourself is this: How can your brand make consumer’s lives more interesting?

 

5. Relax!  Everything will be fine

We get it: Change can be scary. Our minds get used to things working in a specific way, and when they change we must re-learn how to deal with them. But that’s the great thing about being human: We adapt.  Remember when Facebook changed the homepage and everyone freaked out?  And now, most of us can barely remember what the old profile page even looked like! With Facebook’s Timeline it’s the same. It might seem like too much of a change, to hard to understand, to unclear as to how the new functions will work.

Eventually, things will get easier.  And you may even prefer the changes!  And here’s our final tip: Relax, drink your coffee or tea or whatever, and save your white hairs for more serious issues. Because at the end of the day, if you really get stuck, we are here to help your brand stand out in the Digital world.

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From touch-screen to touch-skin

From touch-screen to touch-skin
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Microsoft’s research lab in partnership with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University has brought life to a true sci-fi-secret-agent concept: Using skin as a touchable gadget! The general idea is simple: A projector displays images somewhere on your body — say, your arm, for example — and a sensor captures your touch. Really cool, right? With such technology you can play games, control an MP3 player, make phone calls, and much more…the possibilities are endless. For a more detailed explanation of the invention, check out the video:

Via:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18591-body-acoustics-can-turn-your-arm-into-a-touchscreen.html
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/cue/skinput/
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/03/skinput-turns-your-arm-into-a-touch-screen/
A projector displays images somewhere on your body

Twitter's First Self-Promotional Video: Failure in less than 140 characters

Twitter's First Self-Promotional Video:  Failure in less than 140 characters
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While Twitter has proven itself quite successful in the areas of content sharing and advertising, the company up until now has apparently dropped the ball when it comes to self-promotion. Specifically, their first promotional video is so blasé, so utterly flat, that it accomplishes nearly the opposite of its intent, serving more to drive people away from Twitter rather than towards it. Have a look for yourself:

Now try NOT to think of a hundred — heck, a thousand! — ways in which Twitter could have done a better job. Good luck!

Via Gawker:
http://gawker.com/5835981/twitter-is-advertising-how-self-absorbed-twitter-makes-you

Twitter’s First Self-Promotional Video

Very good listeners

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Everybody loves Google. True. We love G-mail, Google Maps, Google Street View and so on. But what if now Google used all his knowledge about you to create the perfect boyfriend?

Meet G-Male:

Very good listeners

Viral Video Factory: The formula to success!

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Ever take a moment to wonder about all of the cat videos available on the Internet these days? Meet the Kittywood Studios, the guys behind all of those videos! Click the link below to go backstage with the good folks at Kittywood and learn how they produce their digital hits. You will no doubt realize once and for all that successful viral video content is no accident, but is instead the result of careful research, planning, and execution!

Letting Your Eyes Do the Listening

Letting Your Eyes Do the Listening
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Glasses that display subtitles onto the cinema screen
Courtesy of Sony UK, cinema goers with hearing disabilities will soon be in for a pleasant surprise in the form of…subtitle glasses! Yes, you read that right. Sony UK is developing special glasses that will display subtitles to the wearer, just as if the they were actually on-screen (in other words, not too close-up). Learn more about this incredible — and incredibly practical — invention, one which is certain to lend immediate help to a significant segment of the population:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14654339