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Makita Drills Their Point Across

Makita Drill Billboard

Rarely is a billboard the best place to do a product demo, but for Makita, a blank wall proved to be the perfect way to show off what their drills can do.

Since you can call your products consistent, reliable, long lasting and accurate till you’re blue in the face and still not convince people, a demonstration of those characteristics is often the best way to make your point, which is why Makita created a self-portrait of one of their drills using 20,081 holes, all drilled with a Makita drill. The tagline was simply ‘Makita Precision’, and the work is meant to speak for itself. Taking a closer look, you’ll notice that all of the tones were created by merely spacing each hole appropriately, and that if just a few were off, the whole board would have been ruined.

Makita Drill Billboard Detail

According to Makita, the drills themselves are ergonomically designed to fit perfectly into any hand, rotate at an optimal speed to minimize vibration, and have a ‘shock buffer’ system that ensures the perfect pressure of the drill bit on any surface, but all of that can be learned from the tool isle display at the local home improvement store. For a billboard like this, the goal isn’t to try and sell the tool, but rather to give people a reason to go to the tool store in the first place, and secondly, to take a closer look at the Makita drills once they get there.

In addition to the foot traffic that got to experience the Makita billboard firsthand, this campaign managed to do what many campaigns strive for lately: It got the interest and attention of bloggers. Through the use of a well put together one sheet and a few high quality photos, many of the internet’s top blogs wrote about the billboard, giving Makita infinitely more value (and an infinitely wider audience) than they would have received from foot traffic alone.

It would have been nice to see them take the idea a step further and create something like a widget that turns any picture into a drill drawing, or a game where you have to drill out a certain number of holes in a limited amount of time to recreate pieces of art, but in this case, the idea was unique enough and the existing collateral was good enough that plenty of blogs picked up the story and ran with it, even though they were essentially putting out carbon copies of the same images and story.

The Good:

  • A simple but effective idea resonated well with a wide audience.
  • Unique creative got the attention of a variety of blogs and exponentially increased the engagement with the ad.

The Bad:

  • Labor intensive idea can’t be duplicated easily for large deployment across many markets.

The Future:

  • Ads become their own product demo, allowing consumers to get a feel for what the product can do before even knowing exactly what the product is.

Philips, Charmin And Duracell Are Creating A Clean And Green New Year’s Eve

Times Square New Years Eve

Large public events are always a great time to show off your product and get your brand name into the public eye, and Philips Lighting, Duracell and Charmin are using the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop to their advantage by sponsoring various parts of the festivities.

New Years Eve Ball

Philips Lighting

First, Philips Lighting helped to revamp the Ball for 2009, doubling the size of previous Balls and creating a new Ball that weighs in at 11,875 pounds. The 12-foot geodesic sphere is covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals and powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED lights. The end result is a Ball that is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns that will definitely be tough to miss.

In addition, the Philips technology that’s powering the Ball is greener than ever before. According to Philips, even though the Ball contains more than three times the number of LEDs used in last year’s Ball, the solid state lighting technology that’s being used to light this year’s Ball results in an astounding increase in impact and color capabilities, while being 10-20% more energy efficient than last year’s already energy-efficient Ball. In fact, Philips claims that despite being a central focus of the entire Times Square New Year’s Eve party, the Ball consumes about the same amount of energy per hour as it would take to operate two traditional home ovens.

New Year's Eve 2009 Sign


Second, once the Ball finishes its drop, Duracell’s battery technology will kick in to power the 2009 sign that will signify the arrival of the New Year. Just powering the sign with batteries doesn’t send much of a message though, so Duracell is bringing the power to the people in 2009 by lighting the sign with energy generated through human pedal power.

Duracell Snowmobikes

Inside of what they call the Power Lodge, Duracell has set up a fleet of ‘snowmobikes’ that visitors can pedal to capture and store energy using rotary technology, and each snowmobike feeds into giant Duracell batteries that then ‘store’ the energy needed to light the sign.

“We estimate our goal is to get 230 hours of people doing the cycle over the course of December and then we will have enough charge in the batteries for at least 10 to 15 minutes during the live telecast.” said Kurt Iverson, spokesman for Duracell.

When all was said and done, it took 137,228 people to generate enough pedal power to light up the 608 halogen bulbs that make up the sign, as it will require 7.25 kilowatt-hours of electricity after the famous ball drop. (For comparison, in 2006, the average residence in the United States consumed 920 kilowatt-hours per month.)

Gisele Bundchen

As with any good publicity stunt, Duracell also brought in a number of celebrities to pedal some power into the campaign, including supermodel Gisele Bundchen, entertainment legend Liza Minnelli, news anchor Katie Couric, musicians Nick Lachey, Leona Lewis, Brandy, Sean Paul, Lady GaGa, Ne-Yo and Natasha Bedingfield, actors Peter Facinelli and Michael Urie, the cast of the New Electric Company, and “Project Runway” winner Christian Siriano.

In addition to powering the sign, Duracell is also helping tourists and revelers to ‘recharge’ with the Duracell Recharge Rest Stop, a part of the Power Lodge that allows anyone to plug-in and charge their personal entertainment and digital devices – including digital cameras, cell phones, BlackBerrys, iPods, MP3 players and gaming devices – at Duracell Power Stations.

“Times Square visitors are learning that Duracell is here to serve their personal power needs to keep their devices juiced up — even when a power outlet is nowhere to be found,” said Craig Bida, Duracell brand manager. “People depend on their mobile devices today like never before, and Duracell is making it easier to keep things powered up anytime and anywhere.”

Charmin Restrooms


Lastly, Charmin will be the toilet paper of choice at the third annual Charmin Restrooms in Times Square. The Restrooms, which sit directly below the Duracell Power Lodge, give tourists and New Yorkers alike a bit of ‘relief’ with the ultimate bathroom experience, and sit right on Times Square as a special holiday gift from Charmin.

Not one to pass up a good celebrity publicity stunt either, Charmin brought in Joey Fatone as the ‘King of the Throne’, and he christened the ‘Luxurious Loos’ with a ceremonial ‘First Flush’.

Charmin Restrooms Detail

Together, Philips Lighting, Duracell and Charmin are creating a clean and green New Year’s celebration for 2009 that has earned them plenty of publicity, and a well-deserved ‘Thank You’ from the city of New York.

The Good:

  • Sponsoring a huge event results in tons of press coverage.
  • Consumers get a chance to experience your product first hand.
  • Symbolic products highlight the features and benefits of your main product line.
  • Green technology taps into a current trend and consumer concern.
  • Sponsored products are seen by millions through television coverage of the event.

The Bad:

  • High cost of sponsorship brings the return on investment down.

The Future:

  • Sponsoring pieces and parts of a large event keeps sponsorship costs down while still allowing consumers to see and interact with your products on a large scale.

Philips Lighting – New Year’s Eve Ball

Duracell – Power Lodge

Charmin – Restrooms