I’m pretty sure we can all agree, it’s been a year. A year when so many unbelievable, unprecedented, and unwelcomed events have taken their toll on family and friends, our work, our institutions, our sense of personal safety, in short, our lives. As I reviewed some of the most celebrated campaigns produced over this past year, it occurred to me that these four featured here cover a breadth of human concerns. From the personal challenges that living with a rare disease presents to the afflicted, to the societal issues that can leave us all with an unsettling feeling of vulnerability.
Each of these campaigns captured my attention (and to some extent, envy) by taking advantage of evolving digital capabilities to set their creative ambitions free and allow their respective missions to be brought quite literally to life. A pretty stunning feat that these four campaigns collectively accomplished was to add to the lives of the living and breathe life into the dead.
Enough with the preamble, here they are:
Sick Beats, Woojer
The concept of the SICK BEATS Vest just blew me away. An audacious undertaking, the convergence of technologies employed here completely transforms a treatment for people with cystic fibrosis from something that verges on the torturous into an experience that actually looks to be “fun”. Retro-fitting the established tech of the oscillating vest and linking it to a Spotify playlist to produce a therapeutic effect is proof that it “hasn’t all been done before”. Beyond that, introducing such a dramatic experiential shift for people who truly suffer with a disease as difficult as cystic fibrosis seems to be one of the best reasons to do what we do.
Know your audience. That tenet of marketing savvy was clearly honored in a campaign that reflects a thorough understanding of the challenges that men with hemophilia face and the channels through which they could be reached. Genentech discovered that online gaming provided access to this audience and cleverly spoke to them in a manner that was respectful of their condition and fit their interest in social engagement. Knowing their audience interests and need for social connections delivered impressive results. Well done.
I have from time to time pondered the “what if?”. For example, what if some of my favorite musicians had lived to a ripe old age? I imagine most people wonder the same thing about artists or anyone who may have influenced their life. That’s why I was intrigued by the concept behind Mozart 80. While their use of AI to “compose” works that Mozart would have created had he not died at 35 requires some suspension of reality (at least for me), the program proved a success in Pfizer’s efforts to recruit medical talent and promote the value of vaccines while they tackled the global pandemic.
I suppose the message behind this campaign will not be for everyone. Accepting that I believe it is (or should be) for everyone, the concept itself is brilliant, the execution respectful and powerful. It takes imagination, courage, and an unwavering commitment to a cause to be so bold as to even propose the use of AI technology to reanimate a murder victim who will encourage people to vote. Even if that vote is in the interest of preserving the life of others. Very well done.