On The Radar: The Best of Digital & Social

Social@Ogilvy is kicking off a roundup of the digital and social experiences outside of our own work that we think are cool, cutting-edge and inspiring. Check out what’s on our radar and follow us on twitter for our day-to-day discoveries from around the web.

Postagram: Let’s Take this Offline 
Shared by: Blake Bowyer, Senior Digital Strategist, @blakebowyer 
When’s the last time you developed a photo? For me, it has to be 5-7 years ago – which is nuts considering the proliferation of snapshooting devices we carry in our pockets. Every day, more than 4.5 million photos are shot, filtered, and uploaded on Instagram (photo sharing for iPhone) never to see life beyond a fleeting digital screen. If the thought of holding a memory in your hand makes you feel as nostalgic as Kelvin looks, check out Postagram. This is an example of start-ups that exist simply to bring tangible elements to digital touchpoints – and build revenue models based on social activity.

This is Your Brain on CSS
Shared by: Zach Kalman, Digital Producer, @zachkalman
Acko.net, a creation of developer Steven Wittens, is a bleeding edge case study in what will be possible using powerful new 3D tools in CSS. He uses HTML5, CSS and Javascript to create stunning 3D visual effects when scrolling and navigating through the site. Among them is a slightly disturbing but very cool human head, rendered in 3D using only CSS. Be sure to view the site in the current version of Chrome or Safari, the only browsers that support CSS 3D functionality at this time.

Free Rice
Shared by: Emily Achler, Digital Strategist, @ea_sportz
FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme. Originally just available as a Vocabulary quiz, you can now choose to be tested on a variety of topics from Geography to Chemistry. For each correct answer, a grain of rice is donated to the UN Program. All activity is tracked and measured, and a running ticker of how much rice is donated remains on the screen as you play. It remains an excellent example of how to use gaming mechanics to draw people’s interest, engage with your content– and in this case, actively contribute to a good cause. Just remember, surreptitious = clandestine.

Testing Responsive Design
Shared by: Brian Akpa, Web Developer, @citizen_is_live
Trying to easily get a sense of what your responsive site will look on different device screen sizes? Use the Resizer Bookmarklet. This is a really easy to use tool that lets you see what a site looks like on multiple device sizes, ranging from smartphone, small tablet, iPad landscape and portrait, and desktop. Just follow the on-screen instructions to install.

College Recruitment: It’s a Snap
Shared by: Jessica Solloway, Digital Content Producer, @JessSoll
Even if you have zero interest in attending Australia’s Central Institute of Technology, you’ll laugh and cringe at this witty recruitment video created by Aussie directing duo Henry Inglis and Aaron McCann. It’s a Snap has changed the face of higher learning advertising by showing off the school in a funny, engaging, and slightly dark film. (Beware; it gets a little gory.) Intrigued? This video not only tosses traditional college recruitment tactics aside, but it proves that you don’t need a huge budget to execute a good idea. (The alumni pair produced the film for free.) With over 2 million views since it’s launch, it will be interesting to see if other schools follow their lead to attract students.

What grabbed your attention online? Share a link below. 

Best of the Web: 2011

Photo by Daniel Spiess via flickr

This week, we turned our weekly DI staff meeting into a digital show and tell. Our DC team of designers, developers, strategists, art directors and producers shared some of the videos, websites, digital experiences and apps outside of our own work that we think are cool, cutting-edge, inspiring or just fun to watch. So, take a break from online holiday shopping working and enjoy our Best of the Web picks.

Israeli rocker Yoni Bloch’s “choose-your-own-adventure” music video is a must-watch. Viewers can interact with the video, seamlessly changing the course of events as the song continues. Yoni’s  a rock star off the stage too. He’s the founder of Interlude, the interactive video technology company behind this video and may others.

For a little more music to your ears, Philips partnered with the Metropole Orchestra on an interactive campaign to showcase their audio products. Viewers can single out individual musicians, hearing each note in a track played by the entire orchestra.

Cute kids, pets, people that take awkward to a new level… We love a good montage of the year’s best viral videos.  79 all wrapped into one great restrospective.

If you’re in the mood for a more serious look back at 2011, watch this Google Zeitgeist year in review video. From natural disasters to political uprisings, see the events and people that shaped our year. (You might need a tissue. Just sayin…)

Indie band Arcade Fire wowed us last year with The Wilderness Downtown, a personalized music video experience that used HTML5 and Google Maps. This year, they have us dancing at our desks with Sprawl IIWe enjoyed the sweet moves of one of our creative directors, as he demoed how the computer camera detects movement and incorporates it into the video.

It’s amazing what an artist can do with 1 pen and 3.2 million dots. Watch a beautifully produced video here.

Do you know your slavery footprint? We loved the design and execution of this informative, interactive survey, created by a non-profit to encourage consumers to ask brands to disclose their labor practices.

Get an audit of your social life with this Facebook app. There are a few kinks to work out (it showed the “hookup potential” of my co-worker’s 1-year old son), but a fun experiment nonetheless.

More and more brands are using Augmented Reality to engage consumers in never before seen ways. Here’s an example of AR done right by National Geographic.

Dominos had its fair share of bad press and bad pizza over the past few years. Will this Pizza Hero iPad app help them deliver better service and food?

To tap into the Tokyo gaming market, this MINI campaign pitted smartphone users against each other in a quest to track down a virtual MINI coupe and win the real thing.

Knowing firsthand just how much work goes into a well executed video campaign, we appreciated this Corona Extra web experience, which captures the life-changing journeys of 7 Chinese villagers who live in Bulin, the worlds’ furthest point from the sea. The beer brand traveled there to accompany a group of locals on a 7,500km trek to finally see the sea and share the story online.

And let’s wrap up with a really serious question: Is Ryan Gosling cuter than a puppy? Tough call. Peruse this wildly popular blog to make an informed decision.

What got your attention online, inspired your work, or just made you laugh? Share a link in the comment section below. Happy Holidays!

Get Better User Generated Content

Photo by jsawkins via flickr

User-generated content can be an inexpensive, effective way to boost the video component of a campaign and increase brand engagement. But the downside is that you have very little control over the content and quality of the video that’s coming back to you, video you assured your client would be a great addition to their program and representative of their brand. (Is anyone else breaking into a cold sweat?)

As much as you’d like to be at every shoot with a professional crew to ensure material with real viewer benefit is being created, lighting looks good, and all cell phones with a Macarena ring tone are silenced  it’s not feasible on a limited budget. When you’re counting on fans to create their own videos or mailing Flip cameras to bloggers … just pressing record doesn’t cut it. These simple production tips will provide direction when you can’t be there to call the shots … and help you when you’re putting on your producer hat and filming the content yourself.
Continue reading Get Better User Generated Content

Food Trucks: Thinking Outside the (Lunch) Box

Photo by Elvert Barnes via flickr

On Wednesday around noon, half of the 10th floor at Ogilvy Washington made a mass exodus to the corner of 20th and L, all in the name of grilled cheese served out of a truck. Not many things make a large group of very busy people suddenly crave the same lunch and wait outside in the cold for it. While gourmet food trucks are nothing new in cities across the US, the excitement surrounding them hasn’t waned. Why? Because their whereabouts are unpredictable, they exude an air of mystery and you can personally beg them via Twitter to go to your neck of the woods, not Virginia.

Like many of the clients we work with, food trucks’ entire business models are built on social media and word of mouth. It’s their lifeline. But with more mobile businesses staking their claim on street corners, these entrepreneurs can’t just tweet about their coordinates or shortages of bulgogi steak and call it a day. Thanks to new technology and mainstream acceptance of the trend (restaurants and fast food chains are getting in on the action), food truck entrepreneurs are thinking outside the box to keep customers coming back for more. Here are some online and offline tactics we’re seeing:


– Mobile Meteor just launched a new app (it works with an existing Twitter account) that optimizes food truck websites for smartphones, so they can reach new customers who may not use Twitter as regularly. A Google map feature with their exact location will automatically appear on the mobile site. With half of all Americans expected to own smartphones by the end of 2011, it will be interesting to see how many trucks go this “route.”

–  Huge corporations see the value of reaching consumers through food trucks — Virgin America worked with Loopt and rebranded two taco trucks in California with specials to market the airline’s new flights to Mexico.

– Food trucks are joining forces on tracker sites, like Food Truck Fiesta (DC) and Mobile Cravings (which covers about 30 cities), making it simple for fans to get a quick glimpse at the daily food truck scene.
Continue reading Food Trucks: Thinking Outside the (Lunch) Box