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Amnesty International Uses Eyeball-Aware Ad To Enhance Message

Amnesty International Eyeball Aware Ad

Amnesty International’s bus stop ad is a great example of how interactivity and eyeball-aware ads can be used to engage viewers and add another level of meaning to the overall message. The ad is for a campaign that aims to bring awareness to the problem of domestic violence, and uses a small camera to detect faces. When no one is looking, the screen shows a man abusing his wife. When the camera detects a face, the ad waits a few seconds for the message to sink in, and then the couple stops fighting and does their best to look normal. It’s a subtle message, but definitely drives home their tagline, “It Happens When Nobody Is Watching.”

It’s easy to see why an ad like this would be effective. Usually, when a viewer looks at an ad, they may only see the message for a few moments before looking away. However, with an interactive ad that responds to the viewer’s gaze, they’re more likely to look longer to see what will happen. Thus, views last longer, and the message has more time to sink in. (It’s important to note that video ads for the sake of movement is not what we’re talking about here. The movement needs to be a part of the message to really be effective at enhancing the overall ad.)

Taking the concept a step further, imagine an ad that ‘talks’ to the viewer. Since the technology gives ads self-awareness, a donut shop could create an ad that says good morning to anyone that walks by, or a clothing store could create an ad that compliments (or mocks!) outfits in the crowd. The technology would also allow advertisers to incorporate a video that starts only when someone is looking, rather than playing over and over again on a constant loop.

In addition to enhancing the message, an outdoor ad that’s aware of when people are looking at it ushers in a whole new level of measurement, as view numbers no longer need to be rough estimations of foot traffic and awareness. Instead, each ad can be bought and sold based on accurate view numbers and actual engagement, giving advertisers proof that they’re getting what they’re paying for, and allowing media companies to price their high profile ad placements with the premium they deserve.

Like any new ad format, eyeball-aware ads are in their creative infancy, and I would expect to see many more uses emerge as advertisers start to understand and explore the technology, but as an effective and engaging means of enhancing a message, this is definitely one format to keep an eye on.

The Good:

  • Uses eyeball-awareness to enhance the message and engage the viewer.
  • Allows for advanced measurement techniques that take into account actual engagement.

The Bad:

  • Expensive technology makes ads difficult to scale.

The Future:

  • Ads that are viewer-aware allow advertisers to create more interactive messages and engage the viewer in new and unique ways, while better matching cost to value.

When Forever Began Shares A Moment For Diamonds

When Forever Began

Every year, the holiday season brings out diamond advertising in full force, and it’s usually a bland and boring mix of ‘surprise’ gifts and ‘forever’ taglines, but this year, De Beers actually created a rather unique and compelling ad campaign called When Forever Began.

Unbreakable Kiss Mistletoe Installation

The idea was to capture the moment when an unbreakable kiss signified the beginning of forever. To do this, De Beers set up an Unbreakable Kiss Mistletoe Installation in New York City’s Madison Square Park, and added a Matrix like set of cameras to capture the moment as a 360-degree film. The end result was a 3D picture of a single moment in time that could be viewed online or sent to friends and family through the When Forever Began website’s gallery.

Behind The Scenes

One of the best parts of the When Forever Began campaign was the Behind The Scenes video series. For everyone that didn’t have a chance to see the installation in person, this was the only window into what the campaign was really all about, so it was important for De Beers to get this right, and I’d say that they did.

Chapter 1 covered the Construction of the Unbreakable Kiss Mistletoe Installation, and it was a great mix of close-up interviews, long-shot backgrounds and city scenes, concept sketches, facts and figures (two 50 ft. towers, a 20 ft. platform, eight 2,500 lb cement blocks, 60 lbs. of mistletoe, 60 still cameras) and a preview of what the end result would look like:

Chapter 2 covered the Installation of the Unbreakable Kiss Mistletoe Installation, and it was done as a series of time-lapse shots of the setup process, broken up by a series of real-time shots that captured specific moments of the setup process matched to the background music. Though there was no narrative during the Installation video, it takes you through the process in an easy to follow manner, and highlights difficulties that they faced, such as the mixture of weather and technology:

Chapter 3 concluded the series, and covered the Reactions to the Unbreakable Kiss Mistletoe Installation. It consists of the stories behind each moment, and serves to highlight the variety of reasons that people had for taking part in the project, as well as the diversity of those that participated. From families to newly weds to about to weds; husbands kissing wives to men kissing men to women kissing women to friends kissing friends to two people that met five minutes before documenting their moment, it was an eclectic group of people with a gamut of reasons for taking part, but each served to highlight that there are a million reasons to celebrate the beginning of forever, and that each one is worthy of a moment:

The Gallery

In addition to the videos, the ‘Moments Gallery’ was an online collection of moments that participants decided to share with the world, and it gave everyone else a chance to peruse through the various moments and pick out ones that they wanted to see in more detail. This was also where participants could go to find their moment and watch it, edit it or share it with others.

Like the Behind The Scenes footage, the Moments Gallery served to highlight the different moments that participants chose to document, and covered the spectrum from a single person standing beneath the mistletoe to couples kissing to friends jumping for joy, again highlighting the fact that there are a million reasons to celebrate the beginning of forever, and that each deserves its own moment. The videos begin with the exact date and time that each moment was captured at, as well as the tagline intro, “Two Things Last Longer Than Time; Love Is One Of Them”, and begins with a circling of the perimeter, and then dives in for a close-up of the kiss. The resulting effect from the Matrix of cameras is fantastic, and you really get a feel for the scene as it pops out at you as a sort of pseudo-3D photo. Each detail is brought to life, including snow that seems to hang in the air, subtle lighting that puts a glow on each face, and the tenderness of the moment that is being captured.

The Gallery Of Moments

The Moments Gallery was created in Flash, so it’s a smooth interface that entices you to play around and explore, though bookmarking specific moments is all but impossible, and there is no real way to pick out specific moments that were better than the rest, since every moment was presented equally with no way to return to a specific place among the moments after selecting one to view.


Of course, being a diamond campaign, the site also included an area where you could ‘Create Your Moment’ by answering a few questions about how forever began for you, and then letting the site pick out the right diamond to help you plan the perfect moment, as well as a guide on how to buy diamonds, though they were located on secondary menus, and thankfully not heavily promoted during the experience. With a touchy/feely campaign like this, it’s important not to ruin the mood with an advertisey and/or salesy tone, and De Beers did well with avoiding that pitfall.

One thing that they missed out on though was a social media element to the campaign. There was no way to share the moments with others outside of email, and even the behind the scenes videos were exclusive to the site, with no copies available on YouTube or any of the other popular video portals. This is unfortunate, because the technology that they used was very unique, so it would probably have done well in the social media world, but it seems like they chose simplicity over share-ability, so their options were limited.

The Good:

  • Avoids cliché diamond advertising techniques, while still referencing the well-known slogan.
  • Focuses on moments outside of standard relationships, expanding the market and allowing nearly everyone to participate.
  • Great ‘Behind The Scenes’ videos are a central focus of the campaign.
  • Unique technology puts an interesting spin on the classic holiday photo.
  • Send To A Friend feature allows moments to be shared, increasing the exposure of the videos and the website.

The Bad:

  • No way to share the videos with others outside of email.
  • Flash website makes standard navigation techniques difficult.
  • Video exclusivity makes it difficult to discover the campaign outside of search or reference.
  • Print ads didn’t reference the campaign.

The Future:

  • Interactive photography lets each person create their own ad and brings the offline world online to encourage users to spread the message independently.

When Forever Began