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Pure Interactivity: Some of the Best Online Interactive Projects of Summer 2012

While virtually any advertising campaign is designed with the consumer engagement in mind, interactive activations are the best to serve this purpose. They catch your attention, encourage to communicate with the brand and to give it a few minutes of your life. Digital is the best place to bring interactive activations to life—such projects arise on the official websites of brands or dedicated micro-sites or social media channels and sometimes even stretch into the offline world. Let’s take a look at the latest projects in the field of pure online interactivity. The recap of the best interactive online campaigns of summer 2012 goes below.

Pure Fun

Old Spice Guys always deliver ultimate fun to consumers using all ways possible (interactivity tops the list, of course). With the help of Wieden&Kennedy and an impressive creative and production team, last week the brand launched a mind-blowing video featuring Terry Crews, who is playing music using his own muscles. Totally weird and hilarious, it also encouraged viewers to join the action by pressing keys on their keyboard and thus activating Terry’s triceps and other muscle groups. The agency employed Vimeo—not YouTube—for this state-of-the-art project, as the platform was the only one possible for implementing the project’s idea.

Google, which is always on the edge of interactive innovations, has introduced a few new Chrome-based projects this summer, including its collaboration with Tate Modern London Gallery and LEGO. For the art venue, it has launched a new experiment dubbed This Exquisite Forest, which is revolving around the idea of growing many variations of creative idea from one stem. Google encourages users to contribute their own animation pieces to the story, creating the new video chapters online. “This Exquisite Forest is an online collaborative art project that lets users create short animations that build off one another as they explore a specific theme. The result is a collection of branching narratives resembling trees,” says the description to the project. “It makes extensive use of Google Chrome’s HTML5 and JavaScript support, as well as Google App Engine and Google Cloud Storage.”

The second project is a collaborative product, created in a tie-in with LEGO to celebrate the toy company’s 50th anniversary in Australia. The new interactive game titled ‘Build’ calls to take a free plot and construct all kinds of 3D buildings online using nearly 1,000 LEGO bricks.

Pure Story

Grolsch has revealed two silent characters, Officer Journt and football coach Herman Finterkilt, who never say a word, but manage to communicate with public through sms. The online campaign, which tells two stories about extravagant Dutch personalities, is connecting UK consumers in the material world and online characters in a very smart and intriguing way—the character asks to test him your name, and replies with a message featuring a code to be redeemed for getting a free pack of beer. In other words, he buys you a beer.

Calvin Klein has used a tried method to get the audience engaged—to promote its new fragrance Encounter, the brand has launched an interactive film, revealed in three stages and which requires the audience’s participation. In the noir online film, which tells a story of one encounter between Him and Her at a rainy night, viewers are asked to unlock challengers to get closer to the end of the story and get a chance to win a luxury gift.

Hyundai infused a story-telling approach with more interactivity. The brand teamed up with Australian champion boxer, Lauryn Eagle, who starred in a new action film without final scenes—people, who watch the short Tarantino-style movie about a bold girl in a wild car, are encouraged to suggest the end for the story. A nice (though, quite old) way to engage public—ask them to be part of a creative team and contribute intellectually to a piece.

Intel and Toshiba have gone even further by launching a hilarious multi-face The Beauty Inside film about a guy who every day wakes up as a new person (physically). Since this guy can transform into all kinds of people, Intel and Toshiba encouraged its fans on Facebook to star in it, “Hollywood’s first film that gives the audience a chance to play the lead role.” The auditions for the project, which consists of six films, are running through September 20.

Pure Practical Use

Committed to sustainability and spreading green practices across the globe, Unilever unveiled an interactive Timeline image on its Facebook page with green tips and inspirations from its fans. Users can add their own eco lifestyle suggestions using the ‘Sustainable Living Pledges’ tab, creating green guidelines for everyone for the chance to become a “featured fan” on the Unilever Brand Facebook Pages’ Cover Photo. “Tell us how you would live more sustainably, such as switching the light off when you leave the room, buying ethically sourced products, or maintaining a healthy balanced diet. Enter your pledge into the box and see your profile picture as part of our cover photo,” says Unilever. You don’t know how to add a green twist to your lifestyle? Visit Unilever’s Facebook page.

There is a bunch of brands which release online tutorials (Louis Vuitton, Hendrick’s Gin are just a few of them). Ahead of the premiere of “Barfi!” in India, a movie starring Bollywood best modern actors Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, the Glitch and Media2Win teams created a series of interactive YouTube videos, inviting the audience to discover how the protagonist does a lot of things, from cooking dinner to giving flowers. This hearing and speech impaired guy can really teach most of viewers the great ways to express emotions in a truly charming way—Barfi shows how to do something in his style after a user types in the request.

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BBC’s new project may seem both as fun and useful piece at the same time. Introduced as “a BBC Research and Development experiment into new editorial formats,” the futurebroadcasts.com platform offers you the content, which is tailored to your tastes and visions. Currently, the website is running only as a demo version, but the future of the perceptive media project is great. It will allow to deliver entertainment content based on your preferences and personal information (so far, in the ‘Breaking Out’ audioplay, the location influences the plot’s evolvement, the website works better in the UK). Perceptive Media can fit well with the BBC remit of inform, educate and entertain. This format, used by many other brands in their entertainment projects before (Intel’s Me the Musical) opens a plethora of opportunities to such giants as BBC. Here, audience even doesn’t notice how it interacts with the platform, it just gives access to its personal info on a social media channel. BBC notes that perceptive media can “make the stories more relevant to the audience, enable alternative learning styles to be accommodated in a single program and stretch the audience’s horizons by introducing challenging elements or take the audience on new journeys.”

Online, which is the premier platform for interactivity, is not the only media to enable audience to interact with the brand through technology. For instance, Ballantine’s has amazed the globe with its “wearable, sharable and programmable” T-ShirtOS with programmed display, which can show whatever you want on the tee. IKEA has released a highly interactive 2013 catalogue, which offers even more experience to people with mobile phones—pages in the catalogue can be scanned to open more information about the products, while Louis Vuitton called to spot the differences between its two ads, and report on them using Twitter. Red Bull stepped out into the open air to promote Jessie Ware‘s debut album Devotion with an interactive street billboard, which was designed to be finished by passers-by. With all respect to other media, digital remains the best platform for interactive efforts. Why? Simply because it can reach more people and easily absorbs new technologies. Still, the idea is the key thing here, and it defines which platform to choose.

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