As a tribute to some of our favourite past digital campaigns that disrupted the status quo, we've compiled the following. Note that the years represent when they were introduced to consumers.
CHALKBOT, 2009, for the Livestrong Foundation and Nike, by Wieden + Kennedy. Consumers used a Web site and social media to submit messages “of hope and inspiration” that were chalked onto the course of the Tour de France.
DOVE EVOLUTION, 2006, for the Dove brand sold by Unilever, by Ogilvy + Mather Worldwide, part of WPP. A commercial that began running online before it appeared on TV asked for a reassessment of traditional standards of beauty.
DREAM KITCHENS, 2005, for Ikea, by Forsman & Bodenfors. Ikea’s first online commercials presented 3-D renditions of six wish-list kitchens.
ECO DRIVE, 2008, for Fiat, by AKQA. Software that recorded driving habits and offered tips on efficiency.
HBO VOYEUR, 2007, for HBO, a division of Time Warner, by two agencies, the BBDO New York division of the Omnicom Group and Big Spaceship. Passersby on a Manhattan street were invited to watch the goings-on in eight faux apartments in a campaign that also included a Web site.
THE HIRE (aka BMW Films), 2001-2, for BMW, by Fallon Worldwide, part of the Publicis Groupe. Clive Owen played a mysterious driver in a series of shorts — or long commercials — directed by filmmakers like John Frankenheimer and Ang Lee.
NIKE PLUS, 2006, for Nike, by R/GA, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies. A Web site, heralded by Nike as an “online goal-tracking running motivator,” supports Nike Plus shoes, which are equipped with sensors that transmit data to iPods.
SUBSERVIENT CHICKEN, 2004, for Burger King, by Crispin Porter & Bogusky. To promote the TenderCrisp chicken sandwich, Burger King invited visitors to an oddball Web site to order a chicken to perform fanciful tasks.
UNIQLOCK, 2007, for Uniqlo, by Projector. A widget, or small application, bearing the brand of Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing retailer, offered computer users music, dance clips and a qlock — er, clock.
WHOPPER SACRIFICE, 2009, for Burger King, by Crispin Porter & Bogusky. The campaign asked Facebook users to give up 10 friends in exchange for coupons for free Whopper sandwiches. Facebook, which was not party to the campaign, pressured Burger King to end it early — perhaps generating more publicity than if it had run its course.
All the above campaigns leverage both new media and new technologies for “great storytelling” that rivals the stories told by ads in traditional media like television and print. Viral, branded utility at it's best.