Sometimes, not always but sometimes, we have theme weeks here in the halls of Top 5. Now, these aren’t predetermined Shark Week-style gimmicks, but unintentional yet significant similarities that emerge amid the great work of any given week. Today, dear reader, the theme is one of service. The brand work here has clearly identified a way to not only avoid giving us eye rabies with a hard sell, but get to the other end of the scale and actually help us out. Dementia research. Mothers of premature infants. People who need a pep talk. Fans of great music. They’re all addressed here. Onward!
What: A smartphone app that makes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson your personal alarm clock, fitness tracker, motivational speaker, and more.
Who: Project Rock, Droga5, WME
Why We Care: The Rock’s partnership with Under Armour launched his new lifestyle brand, and he goes to a very unique place with this app. It takes the all-smiles, embrace the world optimism epitomized by Johnson and puts his Tony Robbins-meets-Knute Rockne motivational energy right in your pocket.
What: Nail polish from KFC that tastes just like the fast-feeder’s perfectly seasoned chicken.
Who: Ogilvy & Mather, KFC Hong Kong, McCormick
Why We Care: As Dan Solomon pointed out earlier this week, we’ve recently seen GE reveal a new hot sauce, and brands from Burger King to Pizza Hut to Cheetos have all made perfumes over the years. Smelling like your favorite junk food is not new. But when your slogan is “finger lickin’ good” and you go for a branded nail polish, well, you get an extra special high five. And I feel that way despite the fact all that finger dancing creeps me out. In any case, let’s just be thankful there were no toes used in the making of this ad.
What: A new branded mobile game that is also collecting data to help researchers advance their understanding of spatial navigation, and therefore understand one of the first symptoms of dementia, and getting one-step closer to developing new diagnostic tests for dementia.
Who: Deutsche Telekom, Saatchi & Saatchi London, University College London, The University of East Anglia, Glitchers, Alzheimer’s Research UK
Why We Care: Deutsche Telekom’s 200 million user base, and the 3 billion hours people spend playing online and mobile games every week, is being harnessed to help advance research on an important condition facing tens of millions of people. Yeah, that’s enough of a reason.
What: An app to help mothers better communicate with their infants stuck in neonatal intensive care. Moms can record their heartbeat, as well as other recorded messages like stories and lullabies, that are played back to the baby through a speaker that muffles the sound to mimic how the child would hear things from within the womb.
Who: Samsung, Leo Burnett Chicago
Why We Care: I’ll let Leo Burnett Chicago creative director Debbie Mudd and associate creative director Mikey Hester reason this one out. As they told us earlier this week, “There were 15 million premature babies born around the world last year alone. We then found research that showed how a mother’s voice and heartbeat can help provide a preemie with the maternal sounds they need for healthy brain development, we started wondering how Samsung technology could help connect mother and child.”
What: A 22-minute short documentary profile of Grammy-nominated R&B artist Leon Bridges, sponsored by Squarespace.
Who: Squarespace, Preacher, Danny Clinch
Why We Care: The brand and agency Preacher teased the doc (directed by Danny Clinch) with a spot for The Grammys back in February, and now we get the full 22-minute film following Bridges back home to Fort Worth, Texas. It’s a stylish example of a brand finding a cool, entertaining way to use content as a marketing tool, with the key factor here being that people will actually want to watch this.