Innovation Grand Prix: Area 23’s ‘See Sound’ Area 23 received this year’s top prize with its vision for a household device which alerts people with hearing difficulties to potentially dangerous sounds – from a crying baby to a fire alarm or shattering glass. Once plugged into the wall, the device is constantly listening for one of 75 sounds, which its AI has learned to recognise from over 2 million YouTube videos, and users are sent a smartphone notification when one of these sounds is detected.
Radio and Audio: Westworld: The Maze by HBO and 360i Created to promote the second season of the HBO series, Westworld: The Maze is an interesting example of how entertainment brands can use voice-activated devices to engage with viewers. The campaign allows fans to enter Westworld from the comfort of their sofa, simply by saying “Alexa, Open Westworld”. Listeners can dive into the unconventional theme park through a series of choose-your-own-adventure-style levels, featuring 11,000 lines of script and 60 storylines.
Mobile: Burger King’s Whopper Detour Burger King took home its second Grand Prix this week (it also won in the Outdoor category) for its cheeky ‘Whopper Detour’ stunt, which comically plays on its historic rivalry with McDonald’s. FCB New York temporarily modified the Burger King app, so when users came within 600 feet of competitor McDonald’s, it offered them Whopper for a penny – so long as they drove to their closest McDonalds’ and tried to order it there first. The campaign features humorous real-life footage of bemused customers and confused MacDonald’s drive-thru workers. The sheer audacity of Burger King’s tactics paid off, as they reportedly pinched customers from all 14,000 McDonald’s locations in the US.
Brand Experience & Activation: Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller In an important step for the gaming industry, Xbox demonstrated how it would make gaming accessible for all, with its disability-friendly controller. McCann New York’s documentary-style video captured the real experiences of American children with limited hand mobility using the Xbox Adaptive Controllers. The tear-jerking video – screened at this year’s Superbowl – showed how the accessible technology brightened young players’ lives by allowing them to play games against abled-bodied friends. The campaign, which was based around the tagline ‘When everybody plays, we all win’, also included instructional YouTube videos and an e-sports tournament for gamers of all abilities. Campaigns which promote inclusivity are a running theme in this year’s entries – Ikea also picked up a Grand Prix with its ‘adaptable furniture “ThisAbles” campaign on Monday.
Creative Effectiveness: Carrefour’s ‘Black Supermarket’ The French supermarket Carrefour was honoured after it brought about real change with its ‘Black Supermarket’ drive, which put pressure on the European Union to change its regulations on organic farming. Agency Marcel’s campaign alerted us that in Europe, we can only access 3% of vegetables, cereals, and fruits. The other 97% of seed varieties – grown by 2 million farmers – are considered illegal because European law only allows seeds which are resistant to pesticides. The project played on the idea of a ‘black market’, creating an illegal range in Carrefour, which sold unique fruit and vegetables grown from seeds which were forbidden under the flawed law. Carrefour signed a five-year commitment with the farmers, who have since been re-authorised to sell their seeds as a result of the campaign.
Ecommerce: Doconomy’s ‘Do Black’ Swedish fintech company Doconomy picked up the ecommerce award for an innovative payment solution which limits users’ carbon footprints. Born out of a desire to address the climate crisis, the ‘Do Black’ card promotes conscious consumption. Card-users are prevented from overspending not based on available funds, but on their environmental impact. The banking service calculates how much it will take for each person to cut their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and tracks users’ emissions purchase by purchase. If they outspend their limit, it declines their next transaction. The ‘Do Black’ card is still in trial stage but Doconomy assured the cards will be going on the market soon.