Friday, March 9, 2012

[G] Re-imagining classic ads for the modern web

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Official Google Blog: Re-imagining classic ads for the modern web

This year, digital advertising turns 18. Over nearly two decades, waves of innovation have transformed the medium—it’s come a long way since the blinking banner ads of the early Internet. But we think the most exciting changes are still to come, as marketers and agencies increasingly embrace technology to enable new types of creativity, and build online ads that don’t simply inform, but delight and engage their audience.

For example, what if an online ad could bring together two strangers on opposite sides of the globe? Or let you follow a real-life adventure as it unfolds? We wanted to find out. So we started an experiment, both to celebrate 18 years of online innovation, and to link advertising’s digital future to its storied past: Project Re: Brief.

We started with four iconic ad campaigns from the 1960s and ‘70s from Alka-Seltzer, Avis, Coca-Cola and Volvo, each considered groundbreaking in its day. The advertising legends who made the original ads then came out of retirement to rethink their original “brief,” this time, using the full range of technological tools at their disposal, to reach consumers in today’s digitally connected world.

Here are previews of two of the re-imagined ads:

Original Art Director: Harvey Gabor

A Coca-Cola can connect people. This was the idea behind a 1971 ad in which young people from all over the world stood on a hilltop singing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company.” But imagine being able to walk past a vending machine in New York and finding out that a stranger in Tokyo actually sent you a free Coke. Technology can make this possible by linking online ads to real-world devices, like vending machines, in real time. The new ads let you record a video or text message and send it, along with a free Coke, to special vending machines in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Capetown, South Africa; New York, NY; and Mountain View, Calif. The recipient can also record a message from the machine and send it right back. To see how this ad was brought to life, watch this short film.

Original Art Director: Amil Gargano
A Volvo is so durable, you can “Drive it Like You Hate It,” according to a 1962 series of print and TV ads. The re-imagined ads center on the durability of one particular Volvo—that of Irv Gordon, who has had his car since 1966 and put a world-record 2.9 million miles on it, so far. In these ads, you can join Irv on his journey to reach 3 million miles. Starting with colorful stories from his past and a live feed of his car’s odometer, you can interact with him through Google+, and recreate some of Irv’s favorite routes throughout the U.S. on Google Maps. Watch the behind-the-scenes story in this short documentary.

We’ll have more to share from this experiment soon. In the meantime, these are just a few examples of how agencies and brand marketers are harnessing technology to rethink what ads can be and make the web work for them (not the other way around). To learn more about the project, visit And if you’re planning on attending SXSW, stop by the Discovery House at the Google Village to see demos of these campaigns, or attend a talk.

Posted by Jim Lecinski, Vice President, U.S. Sales and Brad Bender, Director, Product Management

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