The Los Angeles–based advertising agency’s best work, of which there’s been a lot lately, is “about behavior, not messaging,” says CEO John Boiler. “It starts with a cultural truth.” Its insights, gleaned from cross-disciplinary teams and embracing clients as teammates, produce eminently consumable (and shareable) content. Last year, it did cool work for the likes of the Call of Duty Endowment and Starbucks. The former, a stark video featuring vets entreating the camera for a chance at a good job, was considered by many to be the ad of the year. For the ubiquitous coffeehouse, it sent 45 filmmakers around the world, ultimately stitching together a short film and interactive storytelling widget to show how Starbucks fits into people’s lives.
Most notably, 72andSunny’s work for Google shows off what the agency can do when unleashed. Its “Ask the Google App” campaign—in which frequently asked questions are woven into New York City landmarks such as Top of the Rock and Brooklyn Bowl—displayed Google’s utility in a real-world context. Meanwhile, “Night Walk” blended several Google products such as Maps, Places, and Knowledge Graph into an immersive 360-degree world where you navigate the streets of a hip neighborhood in Marseille, France, checking out its street art. It also helped amplify Made with Code, a Google-backed initiative that’s a destination and a resource to encourage and inspire girls to take up coding and computer science. Its coup de grâce was coordinating with the White House and National Parks Service to wire up 56 digitized Christmas trees that girls could program via a coding project.
All of this work ends up feeling more like art projects that convey their subject’s values rather than capital-A advertising. And that’s exactly why it works.
- Ok, Google: Queries at New York landmarks like Brooklyn Bowl (“Ok, Google, how many holes can a bowling ball have?”) show Google’s utility.
- The Honest Truth: Vets ask for job opportunities, illuminating the mission of Call of Duty Endowment, the video game’s not-for-profit arm.
- Meet me at Starbucks: Thirty-nine filmmakers capture a day in the life of the coffeehouse around the world.
- Sugar Coated: 72U, the agency’s talent incubator, produced an award-winning documentary short on Lolita culture.
Illustration: Marco Goran Romano
These are some of the “Ok Google” questions 72andSunny posted around New York City.
[Photos: courtesy of 72andSunny, Illustrations: Marco Goran Romano]