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The Influencers
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2015: When Technology Found Its Purpose

CKSK, 9 months, 2 weeks ago

From Volvo LifePaint to shark-detecting sonar, CKSK's Graham Nolan looks back on the year's most exciting innovation

2015: When Technology Found Its Purpose

2015 has been a really inspiring year for creative technology with the concept of what is a technology really being explored in an open minded way. Technology at its core is problem solving and opens up new possibilities so in the creative and marketing arena it belongs front and centre within our thinking. Its great to see technology now being celebrated at awards like Cannes where we are beginning to see it used not as a gimmick but as the bedrock to how brands are rethinking their purpose in the lives of the people who matter to them. 


Volvo LifePaint

A great example of where the definition of technology is quite broad - and I welcome that. Volvo have a vision that by 2020 no-one will be killed or seriously injured in a Volvo. An idea with a powerful purpose and one, which is highly relatable to motorists. Life Paint sees Volvo use a reflective safety spray to brand out from its core audience - the motorist and instead reach out to the victims of increasingly busy roads - the cyclist. Invisible by day but illuminated in the dark - LifePaint protects both the cyclist and motorist on the roads. Its the kind of idea we are built to say no to, but someone said yes and Volvo are stronger for it. 



R/GA Hammerhead

Cycling while using your Mobile for directions is a really bad idea and no LifePaint in the world can protect you from distracted cycling. Hammerhead is a whole new way to get bikers where they’re going, safely and simply. Inspired by the system pilots use to land airplanes, Hammerhead guides riders with a series of lights—indicating turns, and the distance until the next one. 

It's technology that is problem solving, sleek and simple and feels like it is designed for the user. 


JWT Listerine Feel Every Smile

Its sad but true that blind people can’t see a smile. So in partnership with Listerine and the Royal National Institute of Blind People, JWT created an app that uses facial-recognition technology to detect a smile up to five meters away. A notifications alerts the user whenever it detects a smile around them. On paper it shouldn’t work, could feel a bit “Cannes-desperate”, but the authenticity of the partnership with the RNIBP combined with the joy of opening up smiles to those who can’t enjoy them just makes it feel warm and right. 


Optus Clever Buoy


Everything about this creative technology feels right - the significant problem of sharks for Australian beach goers gets more challenging each year, yet Optus imagined how to use sonar technology to create a warning system. Using sonar signatures they create data alerts that are sent to lifeguards mobile devices as an early warning system. What makes this highly relatable is the work M&C Saatchi have done on the branding - the name itself says it all - Clever Buoy indeed.


Panasonic ACH20

The idea of reusing our sizeable waste output as an opportunity is really beginning to take hold and given the mainstream emphasis on climate change recently, very timely. The idea that the waste from Air Conditioning units can be recycled and purified, as water is genius and just the type of thinking that elevates this from marketing gimmick to agenda defining innovation. 

The challenge going into 2016 as the idea of “Brand purpose” is woven into every client and agency brief is to push onwards and think ahead. The trap we fall into is imitating previous Cannes winners in the hope of achieving the same success. But that doesn’t always succeed and the downside is often thousands of ‘vending machine” ideas that flood the market.

Where brand purpose seems to work really well is when it’s simple, authentic, powerful and break through. 


Author : Graham Nolan

Head of Strategy @CKSK