You may know Google for its hangouts, science fairs and doodles, but behind-the-scenes it is a serious company. By serious, I mean affluent—and by affluence, I mean advertising. So it is unsurprising that, along with the inventions of tomorrow, Google is also supporting creativity in advertising and the community engagement that accompanies it. Last year, we saw the ad-giant instate a project, entitled Project Re: Brief, which engaged advertisers in the modern reconfiguration of classic campaigns. This year, Google extends that project with an initiative branded Art, Copy & Code. Together with famous brands, filmmakers, creative directors and technologists, Google promotes software integration as a means of defying the boundaries of typical advertising and creativity. They call it “Advertising Re-imagined.”
The first of these projects, depicted above, is Volkswagen’s Smileage, an app that transforms driving into a social experience. According to Fast Company, the idea for the app stems from ad agency Deutsch LA’s 2012 campaign for the automaker, “It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them.” Simultaneously a mobile app and web service, Smileage measures how entertaining your trip, whether a daily commute or holidays spent on the road, truly is and functions with any automobile brand (not just Volkswagen). The free product was realized through the collaborative efforts of Google, Volkswagen, Deutsch LA and Grow Interactive.
While the app counts on weather, traffic, location, and time for its analysis, social interactions are also set into the equation; with Google+ sign-in, users (and their copilots) can stream a live interactive map of photos and videos for friends and families to see. Furthermore, digital bumper stickers (Foursquare, anyone?) are awarded to you for various achievements, including spotting similar Volkswagens on the road. At the end of your trip, the amount of fun that you had is represented through various visual data. When speaking of the motive behind this “useful marketing” app, Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead, states:
The inspiration for the service came from a recent study showing that every day, 144 million Americans on average spend 52 minutes in a car—76 percent of them alone. We wanted to make that time a more shareable experience.
Currently on the Art, Copy & Code website, an introductory video depicts the mission and vision of Google’s initiative not only through its selection, but also its presentation, of information. Along with promoting its partnership with director Ben Tricklebank and Tool for the video’s construction, Google also affirms its project’s simultaneous devotion to revolution and innovation. Uniquely, the visual experiment gathers current information (time, weather, location and more) and feeds it into the experience; by replaying the video, a customized visual will always appear—prompting viewers to watch repetitively and for longer periods of time.
Fans can follow the progress of the project at the official website and even subscribe for updates regarding new products and developments. So far, we (the people) are waiting for Burberry and Adidas to join in the fun, along with the talking shoes and web filmmaking that were promised. The Talking Shoe will most likely represent the relationship between technology and fashion, while Filmmaking for the Web is assumed by PCMag to handle display advertising. By empowering these brands and ideas with Chrome, Google+ and Android, Google hopes to lead by example.
Note: As with last year’s Project Re: Brief, Google will be disseminating information about Art, Copy & Code at this weekend’s SXSW, with Google Playground presenting try-outs of the products on March 9th and a talk on March 10th.