Susan Tormollen

Project Re:Brief™—Balancing Creative Thinking and New Technology


Google asked the question, “Can America’s most iconic advertising campaigns be reimagined for the web?” By means of Project Re:Brief™*, they decided to test it out by partnering with four global brands and the advertising legends that created some of the most effective and historic ad campaigns of all time, including Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop”, Alka-Seltzer’s “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing”, Avis’s “We Try Harder” and Volvo’s “Drive It Like You Hate It.”

We all know that without the right message, regardless of medium, advertising doesn’t resonate. But the idea of taking great messages, reinventing them for current audiences (assuming it makes sense) and using digital media to improve targeting, enhance messaging, and engage the audience is thrilling—especially considering the enormous technological shift occurring and the multitudes of ways we can communicate.

Sometimes it’s difficult to know when and where new technology and capabilities make sense. Take, for example, the Yellow Pages. In 2008, the internet surpassed the Yellow Pages and became the number one source for information about local businesses. I can’t find figures for 2012, but I can safely speculate that the decline has continued exponentially. Yet, according to Google, over 90% of businesses have not claimed their Places pages (not to mention added video, links and content that could not have been included in a printed directory). Surprising, considering that this is the very location consumers are going for information!

The not-terribly-exciting white paper is another example. Even though most white papers are now distributed digitally, many marketers are still designing them as though they were printed pieces (adding only an occasional hyperlink to a website or another area within the white paper). But did you know, according to IDG Connect, 79% of consumers prefer front covers that hyperlink to relevant needs-based content?

                                                  BEFORE                          AFTER

This simple addition takes advantage of the digital format, yet how many companies aren’t modifying their traditional assets to enhance user experience and leverage new technology? And, how many companies are trying out new technology without considering the impact on brand strategy and overall message?

As Amil Gargano, creator of the Volvo “Drive It Like You Hate It” campaign says on the Project Re:Brief website, “No matter what media you are in, think about content. Content is what matters.”

Now, back to Project Re:Brief.

The new campaigns are exciting, innovative, and allow the user to participate, customize and engage. They include mobile application, location-based marketing, and community building. But they aren’t digital for digital’s sake. Rather, they strengthen the brand and remain on-target. I encourage you to check them out here; I think you will be inspired.

*Project Re:Brief is a trademark of Google.

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