Creativity in Public Relations » cool stuff http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal Creativity, marketing, great ideas, smart thinking, public relations, insights, inspirations, innovations and more. (Formerly known as Ryan's View) Wed, 05 Aug 2009 00:52:54 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Nike Text Chalk Messaging For Tour De France http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/07/13/nike-text-chalk-messaging-for-tour-de-france/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/07/13/nike-text-chalk-messaging-for-tour-de-france/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2009 00:30:44 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=643 Heard about this froma friend who is a massive Tour De France fan so not sure if its been on TV as part of the coverage or not, but a great example of creative thinking using technology to entertain people in a whole new way.  Enter the Nike Chalk Bot.

Most of us have done some type of chalk drawing in our lives, showcasing our inner michelangelo for anyone who happened to walk by our sidewalk.  This form of art has also been used by friends and family who write special encouragement messages on marathon, bike and walking events all over the world.  Now, those messages can be written by a cool robot that accepts up to 40 characters and then prints/chalks them onto a road or sidewalk – in clear, legible letters of all sizes.

Take a moment to watch the video to see how it all plays out, then follow the ChalkBot on Twitter and send in a tweet of encouragement for the Tour De France riders.  I’m guessing this robot will have some sisters and brothers spreading the text chalk love all over the place, probably coming to a sidewalk or road near you soon.  Solid on all fronts – a great way for Nike to continue to support Lance Armstrong’s live strong campaign in a whole new way.

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8 Examples of “Win Great Stuff” Efforts To Drive Twitter Followers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/07/01/8-examples-of-win-great-stuff-efforts-to-drive-twitter-followers/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/07/01/8-examples-of-win-great-stuff-efforts-to-drive-twitter-followers/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2009 12:12:04 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=637 Getting followers on Twitter for brands is an obvious new way to engage and entertain people (and of course raise awareness of products they sell).  I’ve been watching a new trend over the past few months of brands using a new “tweet to win” tactic to motivate and encourage people to follow them on Twitter in exchange for the chance to win some big and small things – an easy way to build an active and current database, with people “opting-in” to actually hear from these brands.  This isn’t for every brand (although I’m totally waiting for BMW or Mercedes to giveaway a car – you know it’s coming) but for some it can work very well.  Here are 8 of some recent favourites – great to check out to see if this could work for you.

  • twtFM – Yesterday this new twitter app launched a way to win a new iPod Touch complete with Colbie Calliat’s new album (Breakthrough) and tickets to an upcoming show by checking them out and tweeting about it.  With twtFM you can stream your favourite music using Last.fm mashed up with Twitter (worth check out)
  • Moonfruit – these guys who create do-it-yourself website building tools are celebrating their 10th anniversary, and doing it in style giving away 10 new MacBook Pro’s, one each day for 10 days.  All you have to do is tweet using #moonfruit and a creative message and follow Moontweet on Twitter to see if you’ve won – nice!  Still a few more days to win.
  • SquareSpace – also celebrating an anniversary (their 5th) with a Twitter giveaway is Square Space, makers of great software to create beautiful websites.  They are giving away 30 new Apple iPhone 3GS, one each day for 30 days – anyone who sends a tweet with #squarespace is entered to win and of course you need to follow them on Twitter to see if you win.   One more week to win.
  • Mr. Tweet – One of my favourite ways to find people via Twitter, Mr. Tweet, has regular giveaways of books and flash drives, T-shirts and more fun.  You can obviously follow Mr. Tweet on Twitter and/or check out the Mr. Tweet blog to see what the latest giveaway.  (Also, when you visit the blog scroll down to see the “live traffic feed” and you’ll see yourself visiting from your home town in the sidebar – nice added fun.
  • The Pro Designer – an easy one from these guys, you simply make a comment on their website and you are automatically entered to win a one-of-a-kind Twitter T-shirt.  And of course you need to follow them on their blog and via Twitter, so a nice casual way to attract some new followers.
  • Buddy TV – this one was from a few months back, but simply offered fans a chance to win a new Sony Blu-Ray Disc player by following them on Twitter and tweeting a specific message about the competition – plain and simple.
  • Twitter Power – another one from a few months ago but a great example of an author who hosted a live show via UStream to talk about his new book, giving away bookstore gift certificates every hour he was broadcasting via Twitter when people tweeted a simple tweet about him, his book and the competition.  Another one that was simple and to the point.
  • Mashable – one of the goliaths of Twitter really understands how to do “tweet and win” contests right – as evident by a book giveaway they recently did.  To win people simply had to tweet a fun Twitter tip to @mashable with #twittertip included in the tweet.  The most original, funny or creative tips, as judged by Mashable, won one of 5 books.   And a few weeks ago did a similar contest to win passes to the “140 Characters Conference in NYC  (people won by simply tweeting why the wanted to attend, using the @mashable and the #140conf in their tweet).
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4 Reasons Why I Now “Get” The Possibilities of Augmented Reality http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/30/4-reasons-why-i-now-%e2%80%9cget%e2%80%9d-the-possibilities-of-augmented-reality/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/30/4-reasons-why-i-now-%e2%80%9cget%e2%80%9d-the-possibilities-of-augmented-reality/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2009 00:41:01 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=635 I love new technology advances and what it does to your brain – stopping you in your tracks and having something you see every day in front of you become something totally different.  I’ve been watching the new world of “augmented reality” (AR) and have been waiting for the “A-HA” moment – not from the musical group from the 80’s introducing a new augmented reality music video (although it could happen) but to see the technology in action and to see how I’d have fun with it or how it would basically make life easier or better.  Over the past few weeks a few great examples have made their way into my world and now my brain can’t stop thinking of how to use AR in some campaign coming up.  To stop you from scratching your head on the AR scene I thought I’d share them with you (and recommend to keep an eye on this interesting area:

Layar. This is the world’s first mobile Augmented Reality browser (and only works on an Android mobile operating system and I think probably on the new iPhone 3GS) showing real time digital information on top of reality, reality in this case the camera screen of the mobile phone. While looking through the phones camera lens, a user can see houses for sale, popular bars and shops, jobs, healthcare providers and ATMs. The first country to launch Layar is The Netherlands and yes, it rocks.  Watch the video here (it’s awesome).

Zugara. Imagine standing in front of your webcam and “holding up” clothes of all colors and designs and styles in front of your body, helping you see what each would look like – all from home.  Then send a photo to your friends simply asking “does my butt look big in this?”  With a new online shopping app from Zugara that brings together the functionality of Augmented Reality and Motion Capture in some incredible fashion fun.  No more embarrassing moments trying on clothes in public.  Check out the fun here.

US Postal Service. You know when you are ready to ship something with an overnight delivery service and not sure if what you are going to ship will fit?  Now, thanks to this cool tool, you can find out in a very fun way.  Check it out here.

Topps 3D Live baseball cards. And my favorite of the new ones thus far, a very cool interactive 3D baseball card augmented reality masterpiece from Topps.  Your baseball card comes to life via AR, creating a cool 3D baseball player and the ability to play a game too.  It’s hard to explain, but easy to watch to see for yourself via the video below.

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Visual Video Eye Trickery http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/29/visual-video-eye-trickery/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/29/visual-video-eye-trickery/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2009 00:40:59 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=633 I love smart, creative people, ones that can take something that people know and understand (in this case the use of blue screens and green screens) and take it to a whole new level.  Today’s show: Megaforce, a new band from France that entertains to the max with their new music video which starts out like a basic, shot-at-your-house music video and then explodes into something quite the opposite.  The video was recently showcased in Cannes and is definitely worth 3 minutes of your time to check it out.  And a warning in advance, get ready to start asking people around you if they can do this and if so, why haven’t they thought of it before.  :-)   And if anyone knows who directed this please feel free to give them a shout at in the comments section below.

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CEOs Sleep Outside Overnight For Charity http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/19/ceos-sleep-outside-overnight-for-charity/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/19/ceos-sleep-outside-overnight-for-charity/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2009 01:26:43 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=628 Last night it was cold (7 Celsius; 44 Fahrenheit) and rainy in Sydney.  And last night more than 200 CEOs from some of the city’s biggest companies felt it more than the rest of us, participating in the annual “CEO Sleep Out” – raising funds and awareness of the more than 20,000 people in Sydney who are homeless each night (part of the more than 100,000 homeless people nationwide, a third of those are children and nearly half are women).

The event was hosted by St. Vincent De Paul Society, and takes a head-on approach to raise awareness of the homeless issue by inviting CEOs to see what their life is like for just one night.  It’s easy for anyone to write a check, it’s quite another to experience a cause firsthand and in turn, probably become a vocal ambassador to help even more. The CEOs were able to bring their own warm clothes, a sleeping bag and a pillow, but were only provided a piece of cardboard and were fed soup, bread and tea/coffee for dinner and porridge and an apple for breakfast.

CEOs either volunteered on their own or were nominated by co-workers from the campaign website which made sending a “you should participate” email.  Once a CEO agreed to participate they set-up a profile on the website and then invited colleagues, friends and family to sponsor their night out with a donation on the site.  And donate they did – the campaign has already raised more than $500,000 and with the CEOs returning to their jobs today that number may go higher as people are inspired by the stories they are no doubt hearing today.

I spoke with Andrew Littleproud, the APAC Regional Director of McAfee (an H&K client) who participated in the event last night to share his thoughts on the experience.  Here’s what he shared:

“The whole event was an incredible eye-opener.  Throughout the event there were different people sharing their own storeis of either being homeless now or once homeless.  The reality of homeless people couldn’t be farther from what the perception is – 80% of people are women or kids or families and not only sleeping outside but sleeping in cars, staying with friends and family.  Some of the speakers had lots jobs last year and talked about being homeless with kids.  Once you lose your address its hard to apply for welfare or health benefits.  And when you try to apply for a job without an address you can see how the downward spiral can start.  You start losing your feeling of security, how you are perceived in the community and other psychological issues.  We all talked about how we had friends in countries all over the world making donations and hearing about the event, and some talking about the event being covered by the media as well, so it was great to know this event was reaching other places who also have a homeless issue.  I tried to start sleeping at 11PM but obvioulsy it was cold and there were a lot of people snoring and getting up in the middle of the night and then getting up early – the whole experience really brought the issue home.”

The numbers speak for themselves – $50 can provide a homeless person with a bed, a meal and a fresh change of clothes for one night.  Double that and you can help fund the Vinnies Night Patrol vans that deliver food and hot drinks to homeless people across Sydney.  A donation of $500 will help a homeless person complete a life skills course to help them get back on their feet.

The campaign works on so many levels.  First up, the experience.  Its one thing to tell a story about a homeless person, it’s quite another to sleep outside on the street. Second, the word-of-mouth that occurred last night via people at the event using Twitter to in-person conversations happening at businesses all over Sydney today, raising awareness of this important cause.  Third, the visuals from the event, showing some of Australia’s most powerful business people sleeping outside.   And finally, how the event itself made it very easy to ask someone to donate – how could you say no to someone who is going to be doing all of the work, sleeping outside, in the cold (and in the rain).

Growing for only 8 people 4 years ago to 60 last year and now more than 200 this year, its great to see a campaign so worthy making such an impact.  Now, next up, this concept needs to “go global.”  It’s an easy event to replicate and one that would only help to raise awareness of this incredible issue.  And know that Sydney was the home to the first “Earth Hour” and the legendary “Movember” campaign, I’m hoping that CEO SleepOut will become the next big Aussie innovation to go global.

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Old Spice Hands Out The Cash http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/18/old-spice-hands-out-the-cash/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/18/old-spice-hands-out-the-cash/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2009 01:15:51 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=623 Everyone loves cash – plain and simple.  While some promotions have prizes and trips and the like, Old Spice is launching a new campaign that is all about winning cash.  The campaign – Swaggerize Your Wallet – provides actually lots of ways to win cash, depending upon how much work you want to put into it – which I think is fair enough.  The campaign is connected to Old Spice’s deodorant line, Swagger, with body spray, deodorant, body wash and more focused on 18 to 24 year old guys (who obviously love cash like the rest of us).  This effort follows the hilarious “SwaggerizeMe” campaign that made it easy for people to create fake articles to show up all over the Internet to make them look “as awesome as possible.”

The challenges are all a bit out there and right on target for the challenge 18 to 24 year old target who needs the right motivation to do anything – something too hard or too cheesy can backfire.  You can win $500 by making a cake in the shape of the Swagger logo, eating it with friends in a Swagger way, videotaping the whole thing and hoping the judges pick yours as the winner.  You can win $1,500 by throwing a Swagger product by at least 65MPH and capturing the whole thing with a radar gun.  Or you can win $2,500 with the old classic “hold up an Old Spice Swagger sign at a big sporting event and be caught on TV.”

The campaign site will have new challenges posted every week, with 2 weeks normally given for people to send in entries to compete.  You can just imagine the great photos and videos – solid Old Spice Swagger content – that will start showing up on YouTube and Flickr and of course all over people’s Facebook profiles too, showing up their cake or fastball.

This is one of my new favorite campaigns for a bunch of reasons.  The challenges have the right balance of effort and return – making a cake to win $500, a cake you can eat so it’s like someone paying you to eat which you have to do anyway.  And the challenges all sort of feel like some 21 year old just randomly thought them up, none have to be explained twice.  And of course the product is in the center of every challenge, so as far as product/brand integration, it’s hard to miss that.

Only thing that could improve would be some added social media connections.  I was unable to find a Twitter feed for the campaign – which you’d think would be an easy way to remind people of the new challenges happening each week.  And nothing on Facebook or YouTube either, but maybe once the campaign kicks off and has some content these areas will pop up too.  And didn’t see a lot of blogger conversations yet about the campaign, was thinking there would be a bloggers-only competition to get the blogosphere talking about the campaign too.

The campaign kicks off this week so we’ll see how it goes.  The good news is that because the campaign is over multiple weeks with more challenges coming up, there is an easy opportunity for the Old Spice people to get some feedback and keep coming up with new challenges, looking for those that really hit the mark and get people talking, playing and videotaping.  Watch this space.

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Starbucks, Toyota, Dell and Qantas Ask http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/17/starbucks-toyota-dell-and-qantas-ask/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/17/starbucks-toyota-dell-and-qantas-ask/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2009 01:18:45 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=621 Building relationships that last, that’s what brands are focusing on more and more these days as everyone thankfully has realized you can’t just keep selling, selling and selling to people.  Building relationships around value (versus buying) is a totally different way of doing business for a lot of brands.  A few brands are ahead of the game on this front, recently simply asking their customers “what do you think.”  Here are a few examples I’ve been watching lately:

IdeaStorm
.  This is where Dell asks people to join in on some crowd-sourcing of ideas on how Dell’s products or services can be improved.  The site has a great “promote” or “demote” functionality that moves ideas up and down the list on the home page, and a really simple navigation to view, post, vote or see ideas that have been offered by the community.

Why Not.  Toyota asks people to provide any idea, large or small, related to a few specific buckets of discussion (i.e., safety, water, land, air, community and energy).  It’s flash-heavy so takes some time to load but once there it’s a nice site to browse around.  The ability to add ideas is easy, as is the ability to browse other people’s ideas and to share with friends or to add to a personal commitment list.

My Starbucks Idea.  Similar to Dell, Starbucks simply asks fans to share, vote, discuss and see ideas that are all centered on making Starbucks a better place.  The site has great real-time lists of recent ideas and leader boards of people making comments.  The site has a nice explanation of what happens to the ideas once submitted – their team of “Idea Partners” review them and see where they could fit at Starbucks and presents them to decision makers who see how the ideas can be put to work.  Overall, a great “Q&A” for reference too.

All of Aus.  This campaign recently launched from Qantas, asking Australia what they love about Australia and showing all of the comments on a very cool designed site.  The plans are to turn the comments into a newspaper insert and some other yet to be unveiled ideas.  It doesn’t have the same “help us change the world” as the other campaigns but a good example of company trying something new to engage its fans.

Next time you are thinking of “what’s next” take a moment to review these and other similar campaigns, focusing on entertaining, engaging and having a conversation with your target audiences instead of selling, selling, selling.  You’ll have more fun in the process and your fans will start seeing you as a valued part of their world, not just someone who keeps asking for money.

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Indie Sydney Radio Station Asks Richard Branson For $1M http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/15/indie-sydney-radio-station-asks-richard-branson-for-1m/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/15/indie-sydney-radio-station-asks-richard-branson-for-1m/#comments Sun, 14 Jun 2009 22:43:32 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=615 Before the economy drama independent radio stations were already having a tough time, battling not only the mega broadcast radio networks that own multiple stations but also iPods, MySpace music, digital radio and satellite radio, just to name.   But when you throw in reduced advertising dollars it’s easy to see why indie radio stations are hoping to hear a different economic tune soon.

One great indie radio station in Sydney – Fbi – is tackling their financial challenges head on, recently launching a fundraising campaign with one target in mind:  Richard Branson and $1M dollars (or 450,000 British Pounds).  While Sir Richard may not seem like an obvious choice – he’s not Australian and he doesn’t have any connections to independent radio – but he does like one thing . . . publicity.

The campaign – Ask Richard – launched a little over a month ago and works on a simple premise:  get Richard’s attention through some type of publicity stunt or event or something that motivates him to donate $1M to FBi.  If your action/idea/stunt was the catalyst for Richard to hand over some big bucks you get rewarded too – to the tune of $50,000.  (And don’t worry, if Richard donates less based on your idea you still get 5% of whatever he gives.)  The campaign blog site and Twitter activity captures everyone’s amazing ideas and inspires others to do more.

To get Richard’s attention, the station has given its loyal listeners an open playbook – do whatever you think could work to get Richard to write the big check.  And the listeners have responded with a number of amazing ideas, including:

  • Hosting a flash mob wearing Richard masks in front of Sunrise (Australia’s top morning news show) studios when Sir Richard was in town and being interviewed on the show
  • Having a “We Play Til You Pay” all day concert event, inviting people via Twitter and Facebook to be a part of the event
  • Creating a mini viral video game with a Richard character grabbing money off of a tree and giving it to FBi before the tax man comes
  • Launching a Google Ad Words campaign under the assumption that Richard Google’s his own name and will then see the FBi campaign
  • Making T-shirts and posters and having fans wear them and put them up everywhere
  • Translating “Ask Richard” into as many languages as possible

The campaign works on multiple fronts.  First, selecting a high profile target (that would be Richard) and leveraging a known insight that motivates his daily life (that would be publicity).  Next, giving everyone a “do whatever” call to action, not limiting any idea or thought.  And of course the simple visual for the campaign being used on T-shirts, posters and social media banners ties everything together.  A great example of a campaign that knows its audience, keeps the conversation credible and authentic.

Now the finale – Richard Branson called in this morning (15 June) to FBi for a live radio interview from his Necker Island home.  Turns out, as the story goes, that Richard heard about the “Ask Richard” campaign first from an Australian girl who allegedly swam 2 1/2 miles from an island close to Richard’s island, swimming right up to his beach and telling him about the campaign.  (Sounds fishy but let’s go with it.)  Richard said he has asked his teams at Virgin Mobile and Virgin Atlantic and V- Australia to help out FBi – and on-air promised to give a few flights to the UK and LA via his airlines for some lucky winners of the radio station.  The station is starting a “Save FBi” supporter drive campaign and will definitely use these prizes for some great fundraising efforts later this year.  The on-air host for FBi was able to get some money out of Richard – $70 – to become an annual member of FBi.  Richard stated the obvious – they get asked for money all the time and try to channel their funds to their global efforts around climate change and disease control in Africa.  The $70 is not $1,000,000 but no doubt Richard’s Virgin empire will be jumping in to help as much as possible, and hopefully will help keep the FBi radio station on the air for years to come.

Who knows, maybe Richard will change his mind.  Come on Richard, pay up already.  We’ll call it RFBi – Richard’s FBi – haven’t you always wanted to “own” the FBI?

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Levis Drops Pants With Twitter http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/10/levis-drops-pants-with-twitter/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/10/levis-drops-pants-with-twitter/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2009 00:22:07 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=613 I’m of course on Twitter (@ryanpeal) and have had a lot of fun watching to see how brands are using the new fun to engage with people in a number of ways.  I’ve seen brands simply trying to sell stuff (like Dell), those trying to provide customer care (like Telstra BigPond) and some just trying to show the fun side of their brands (like Zappos).  Today I came across a new way to use Twitter – pant dropping!

A few weeks ago Levis in Australia and New Zealand started sending out people wearing new Levis and twittering about it with their iSpy Levis Twitter campaign.  Ok nothing out of the ordinary yet.  The catch, if you follow the campaign by Levis on Twitter you will see that their tweets are clues on where they are, providing photos and narrative of things around them, helping you track them down.  Why would you want to track them down, to get a free pair of jeans!  If you follow the tweets and hunt down your prey and ask “are those levis?” – magic will happen – instantly the people will drop their pants and give them to you right on the spot (putting a smile on your face like the winner above, Jimmy Curtis).  I’m guessing in reality you get a pair that is your size but you never know down under – may be forced to squeeze into some jeans but at least they are free.

A great example to share with clients and colleagues of how Twitter can add some personality and fun to your brand and have you actually engage with real, live people in the process.  Great work Levis!

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Canon Photo Competition Zooms In On Charities http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/03/canon-photo-competition-zooms-in-on-charities/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/03/canon-photo-competition-zooms-in-on-charities/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2009 07:34:34 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=606 We all know a “picture is worth a thousand words,” but thanks to a new campaign from Canon Australia and New Zealand, a picture could be tens of thousands of dollars for your favorite charity. The new “Canon, Creative For A Cause” campaign launched today, grounded in the notion that a single photograph can represent the hopes, dreams or concerns of an entire community or nation or race. (Full disclosure: Canon is a client of H&K)

The campaign is a simple one (the best kind) on multiple fronts. Here’s how it works: visit the site, register (name/email), upload a photo, provide a title and a short description, and now the twist, select a charity you believe is visually represented by your photo and submit. A photo of a homeless person connected to the Hutt Centre working with the homeless definitely grabs your heart strings. And a cute dog reminding us all dogs need a home that Doggie Rescue could provide is another great one. Each definitely showcases the power that one image can have to tell a deeper, broader story.

Once registered you can browse photos and read stories that will make you laugh or cry or anything in between. And the fun part, you can vote for ones that really grab you and stop you in your tracks. The votes go toward awarding the related charity to the winning photo with some big bucks – $60,000 to an Australia one and $25,000 to one in New Zealand. Public votes select the final 24 and a celebrity judging panel picks the winners.

You can share your participation via Facebook, invite friends to vote for your favorite charities/photos and nominate new charities to be included on the site.

What can we learn from this campaign? One thing is certain, simple campaigns work. Everyone has a camera, knows how to take a picture or already has one they probably love – so it’s easy for everyone to enter. Next up, the charity component isn’t just a bolt-on to the effort, it’s grounded in the overall foundation of the campaign – there are lots of photo competitions but Creative For A Cause and the charity connection to each photo definitely sets it apart. Third, it’s easy to share the story of the campaign with your friends, so driving word-of-mouth to increase participation is natural.

It’s also important to note that the campaign directly connects to Canon – a company grounded in photos and making/sharing memories/emotions. Some campaigns can come across as a bit disconnected to the brand or a bit too “try hard.” And of course, my favorite part of this effort, there’s no sales job, no “buy this” no “check out the latest Canon product.” We all know brands need to “sell” products. With that said, the smart and confident brands know they also need to entertain and engage too. Thankfully Canon knows how to balance both needed areas, and thus, brought to life one of my favorite campaigns this year (again, I’m biased, but I think its true).

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