There are times when I look around and can’t imagine what it would be like to have even half the technology available to teens in 2017 when I was growing up. Sure, I had the internet (sort of), but the freedom and fun wrought by the almighty smartphone is unprecedented. But this new Toyota app stopped my GETOFFMYLAWNing the young folk immediately. As a piece of utility marketing it’s fantastic, but the fact it links up the smartphones of parents and teens so adults know where the kid is and how fast they’re driving while controlling incoming calls and texts doesn’t spark even one hint of generational techno-jealousy. Onward!
Toyota “Safe & Sound app”
What: A new app that allows parents to monitor their teen drivers by linking their driving skills with their Spotify account.
Who: Toyota, Saatchi & Saatchi London
Why we care: The app syncs smartphones between parents and young drivers. The “safe” part is how it uses Google Maps API to track how fast their kid is driving. If the car moves faster than 9 mph, it automatically blocks all incoming calls and social media notifications. For the “sound” component, the app also links up Spotify, so if the driver tries to touch the phone or speeds while listening to Spotify, the app begins to play the parent’s playlist. Clever and useful, it’s a prime example of marketing utility that still exudes brand personality.
Ikea “SKOLD Rug Night’s Watch Instructions”
Want a cape like Jon Snow for Halloween (or a Minnesota winter)? We've got you covered. All you need are scissors and a SKOLD rug pic.twitter.com/WLrlSo0JKr
— IKEA Twin Cities (@IKEATwinCities) August 16, 2017
What: After Game of Thrones head costume designer Michele Clapton revealed that the capes worn by the Night’s Watch are actually just sheepskin rugs from Ikea, the brand took its duty seriously enough to create special instructions for would-be guards on the Wall.
Who: Ikea, SMFB Oslo
Why we care: Not only is the Swedish retailer known for its award-winning traditional ads, it’s the little things like this and the whole high- fashion blue bag situation that really bring home just how agile and smart a marketer it is.
Plan International “Maternity Wear For 12-Year-Olds”
What: A Finnish PSA to raise awareness around the issue of underage motherhood in developing countries.
Who: Plan International, Hasan & Partners
Why we care: It’s a classic ad tactic, using the familiar language of one type of media–in this case a fashion shoot–to jar us into paying attention to a more serious issue (like what director Taika Waititi did for racism). Here, the agency got a Finnish designer to create clothing for a real-life pregnant 12-year-old girl from Zambia. And while it’s a real shock to many Western eyes, it also drives home the statistic Plan International reports that more than 7 million children give birth every year in the developing world.
What: A new Brazilian ad for Renault featuring the smashing car-sales skills of the biggest, greenest Avenger.
Why we care: The last time we saw Bruce Banner’s behemoth alter ego in brand mode was last year’s Super Bowl, when he was fighting over a Coke with Ant-Man. Sure, it may be the most obvious kind of brand licensing sellout one could imagine, and maybe I’m just anxiously awaiting his star turn in the upcoming buddy flick Thor: Ragnarok, but it’s good to see Hulk out and about anyway we can.
OtterBox “Unapologetically Overprotective–S’mores”
What: A new campaign for smartphone case brand OtterBox with Peyton Manning cautiously enjoying the great outdoors.
Who: OtterBox, CP+B Boulder
Why we care: As I said earlier this week, Peyton Manning may be a lock for the NFL Hall of Fame, but he’s also earned a spot in the Pro Athlete Advertising Hall of Fame* for his willingness to look like a complete and utter goof for a laugh. What started on SNL many moons ago in a United Way PSA spoof became IRL commercials for ESPN, Oreo, MasterCard, and Gatorade. These spots don’t break any new ground, but they manage to combine Manning humor with sports mascot absurdity in a way that makes commercial breaks between games worth tolerating.
*totally doesn’t exist