Useful Blog

Volvo LifePaint aims to make cyclists easier to see at night. An invisible reflective spray that glows under the glare of a car’s headlights, the “paint” is transparent and makes no noticeable difference to the feel of material it’s sprayed on. Lasting for around one week once applied, LifePaint can be sprayed on bicycles, clothing, helmets, bags and shoes. LifePaint turns to a hot white glow in front of headlights, making cyclists (and pedestrians and potentially pets) easier to see at night.

This fantastic innovation in safety is part of Volvo’s 2020 Vision, the goal of which is to have no serious injuries or fatalities involving new Volvo vehicles by the year 2020.

Serious problems, particularly medical related problems need to be solved with serious advertising right? Well, not so much. The new television ad for Tena Men proves that the use of humour even for the treatment of the particularly unfunny condition of incontinence can be appropriate and powerful.

This ad by AMV London uses a series of superbly crafted and executed scenarios to explain to men suffering with incontinence that Tena is the way to maintain their control.


IBM’s Cognitive Cooking Food Truck is a recent demonstration of IBM’s “big data” cognitive computing technology. Known simply as Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing technology understands information more like a human than a computer. Watson is best known for an impressive 2011 triumph over his human competitors on quiz show ‘Jeopardy’.

IBM’s research team recently applied this humanised way of comprehending data to cooking. The mission was to create never-before-imagined dishes by pairing unlikely ingredients and methods. IBM’s approach was to draw upon a number of datasets – regional and cultural knowledge as well as statistical, molecular and food-pairing theories. IBM was looking to create “dishes high in surprise and pleasantness” by crunching big data.

The cognitive cooking process began by capturing and analysing tens of thousands of existing recipes to understand ingredient pairings and dish composition, which the system used to create innovative new recipes. Watson cross-referenced these new recipes with data on the flavour compounds found in ingredients, and the psychology of people’s likes and dislikes, to determine how the regular human tongue would respond to different flavour combinations. Amazingly complex and amazingly clever.

Dishes created by Cognitive Cooking and made available from the Cognitive Cooking Food Truck included Indian Turmeric Paella, Baltic Apple Pie & Ecuadorian Strawberry Dessert.

We love that quintillions of possibilities and a battalion of computational algorithms resulted in a food truck dishing out an apple pie with a totally awesome and unexpected taste. Now that’s how you humanise technology.

Be My Eyes is an iPhone app that connects visually-impaired people with volunteer helpers from around the world.

Visually-impaired people use the camera on their mobile device to shoot live video of whatever it is they need help distinguishing or reading. The challenge could be anything from knowing the expiry date on milk to navigating new surroundings. Sighted volunteer helpers receive a notification for help and a video connection is established. From the live video the volunteer can help the visually-impaired person solve their problem.

The app is open source, which means the source code has been made freely available and may be redistributed and modified.

Incredibly useful and very nicely delivered.


Online life insurance company Beagle Street wants to make taking out life insurance a more positive experience, and while they’re at it, ensure customers’ important policy documents aren’t lost. Positive Prints is a limited edition art series by noted artists with a customer’s life insurance policy printed on the back. They’re designed to be hung in the home or given to a loved one so customers and their families can easily find their policies if they need them. Policies are also stored online for 24/7 access. We like the thinking and positivity.


Wow! Thank you to our clients and partners for helping us win three awards at the 2014 Newi Awards for Digital Creativity. The Newi Awards “showcase the best work in technology, advertising, design and communications”. We were absolutely stoked to win:

Clients and partners – thank you for helping us win the awards and earn the title of ‘Digital Agency of the Year’!

In 2013 we were finalists in AWARD, the highest honour in the Asia Pacific for advertising and design.

TD Bank turns ATMs into Automated Thanking Machines to create very special moments for customers across Canada. This film went viral faster than any other promotion in the history of banking, amassing over 6 million views in under a week.

#longstreetsmart is a campaign designed to help reduce street crime in Capetown, South Africa.

South Africa is well renowned for its appalling crime rates (50 murders and 178 rapes every day) but what is less known is  that Capetown has taken over from Johannesburg as the crime capital. The city’s Longstreet is famous for its vibrant nightlife but it is also gaining an unwanted reputation for the growing number of street crime incidents – and the people have had enough.

The Safety Lab, a social innovation test centre and ad agency Y&R Capetown created an innovative campaign to take back the street from the criminals.

Using the street’s myriad of CCTV cameras, operators were instructed to look out for crime incidents in real time. Footage and details of the incident were immediately sent to a team on the ground. That information was then projected onto a moving billboard which was moved to the exact location of the the crime incident.


People in the street could then see the incident taking place in the same place and time that they are in. They were now aware to look out for crime such as ATM scams.


‘The shoe scam’ was another crime incident that passers by now knew to look out for.

Twitter followers also had a place to share information and report incidents that they themselves came across.

It is early days for the #longstreetsmart campaign and it will be interesting to see the effect it has on the street crime. No doubt it has increased awareness of crime generally and people are more knowledgable of what to look out for. #longstreetsmart is already a great example of government agencies working together with creative thinkers to solve social issues.

CB2 operates 14 home décor stores with affordable modern furnishings for apartments, lofts and houses.

To broaden its fanbase, CB2 created the first ever apartment designed in real-time and entirely on Pinterest. The APT CB2 project was about crowdsourcing the design of a Manhattan apartment by partnering with five talented interior designers/active Pinterest users (‘pinfluencers’). Each designer was responsible for a room in the apartment and was given a day to pin items from the CB2 website to the campaign Pinterest board. Their followers and the broader Pinterest community contributed to the final room design by ‘liking’ their preferred pins.

CB2 was established by Crate and Barrel in the year 2000. The APT CB2 project is the cornerstone of CB2’s ‘Modern Together’ brand platform and is the first major brand advertising from the company. The campaign – which included no TV – was hosted on Pinterest and a microsite. As the project unfolded live, Pinterest was updated every 15 to 30 minutes with photos from the apartment. The microsite was updated every few minutes.

A social media campaign was not a directive. Social media was a result of the brief, which was to “design a campaign that is truly innovative, breakthrough, and engages both our current community as well as qualified prospective customers”.

The campaign was promoted through a YouTube trailer, which could be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The microsite was built with HTML5 and integrated with the Pinterest API, and following the completion of the campaign, it showcased the design process from start to finish using time-lapse photography.

The campaign, which cost $US1 million to create and produce, attracted 160,000 unique user interactions and 663 million impressions in earned media reach. That’s $US6.25 per unique user interaction and $US0.001 per media impression.


Not a huge surprise, but a timely reminder. The Quartz Global Executive Study has found email newsletters are the preferred medium for business executives to receive industry-specific news, edging out industry news sites, general news sites, social media and industry events. 91% of the 940 top-tier executives surveyed share news they find valuable (most commonly via email). Mobile, of course, is the preferred device for reading news and email newsletters.

We regularly create digital marketing strategies, and as long as it’s the right fit and works strategically, email marketing finds itself in the mix more often than not. Email marketing can be very effective for customer acquisition – in some cases, nearly 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. Social networks and social media absolutely have their place – they’ve had a critical role in several of our campaigns and strategies, and the point of this post isn’t to knock Facebook and Twitter. The point is that email marketing is an extremely effective channel when used the right way with the right data at the right stage of a customer’s journey.

If you’d like to explore how strategic, mobile-optimised email campaigns can help your business grow, please feel welcome to say hello.