I don’t understand the time-worn squabbles between advocates of digital communication and champions of print – especially when each side can be overly defensive about its preferred medium.
Believing that both tools are valid and have their pros and cons may be a case of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds, but the reality is, it’s true! And more importantly, the facts support it. Whether a campaign is driven by digital or print, successful initiatives have one common denominator: the importance of surprise and engagement. Below are a selection of brand campaigns that have caught my eye.
A few weeks ago, famous publisher Harper Collins distributed 10,000 copies of a newspaper warning that contained the first few chapters of The Monogram Murders, a posthumous collaboration between the late Agatha Christie and Sarah Hannah. Designed as a 1920s paper, the publication was handed out to Londoners by street urchins dressed as newspaper boys in the style of the time. Newspapers and books can still be attention-grabbing and indeed, very cool!
In March, as part of its ‘400 years of Originality’ anniversary campaign, premium Dutch lager brand Grolsch invited artists to create 400 pieces of art inspired by the beer’s iconic swing-top bottle. These were then featured on a series of limited edition packs. The unique artworks were revealed online during the celebration of Grolsch’s official birthday. Such a project demonstrated that handmade processes and tactile objects, such as packaging, are important drivers of creativity.
Digital enthusiasts might have heard of the world’s first digitally connected champagne bottle, launched by Mumm during the Formula One Grand Prix a few weeks ago. The magnum bottle can be connected to a venue’s audio system via an RFID chip, so when the cork is popped the sensor triggers an interactive sound and visual experience that can be personalised and tailored to suit an event’s individual needs.
Finally, what about the Heineken GPS experience? Early last month, Amsterdam’s Heineken Experience brewery and museum launched a campaign involving the custom-made Heineken bottles integrated with a GPS system designed to lead people back to the branded building. The bottles, placed randomly throughout Amsterdam, were activated when picked up and would vibrate thanks to an accelerometer. The cap would then light up and become a digital compass, directing the holder to the destination. The Heineken campaign integrated digital technology and physical elements to create an interactive experience aimed at boosting visits to the museum.
These are just a few examples, but they support my belief that novelty, engagement and emotive triggers are essential factors in building impactful campaigns. So, do we still want to focus on digital against print, online versus offline, or shall we focus on developing clever ideas that maximise the individual capabilities of each medium – separately or together?