How would you reinvent a classic ad like Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop” for a modern audience in the digital age? Google’s latest experiment set out to do just that. Project Re: Brief aims to shake up the ad industry and inspire new ways of thinking.
“I was born in 1932. Technology has left me pretty much in the past, largely because I tend to ignore it,” says Amil Gargano as he is about to embark on Project Re: Brief. In 1962, Gargano, the original Art Director of Volvo’s “Drive it like you hate it” campaign, helped introduce the car brand to America through advertising.
Now, in a collision of minds and media, Project Re: Brief, a grand experiment whereby Google teamed up with five “old-school legends” from advertising; Amil Gargano, Harvey Gabor, Paula Green, Howie Cohen and Bob Pasqualina, re-imagines their most iconic creative work from half a century ago for the web.
The project has already added a digital twist to Volvo’s “Drive it like you hate it” and Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop”. Alka Seltzer’s “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” and Avis’ “We try harder” will follow on the project’s website.
With the help of Gargano (whose campaigns for Volvo, Saab and Federal Express appeared in Lürzer’s Archive in the 1980s and 1990s) Volvo’s campaign from the 1960s has been re-envisioned through the story of Irv Gordon, a Volvo owner with nearly three million miles on his 1966 P1800S. Users can view the campaign in interactive tablet apps. They’re shown the most relevant stories from Irv’s life.
For example, car enthusiasts will relate to the story of Irv’s first 1,500 mile weekend in his car, while the romantics might find the tale of his 260 mile dinner-date drive from Long Island to Baltimore more charming. Built entirely in HTML 5, the app like navigation allows the user to explore nearly 50 years in the life of a man and his Volvo.
Of the four iconic brands involved in the project, Coca-Cola is probably the biggest.
“Sitting in an airport, on a napkin he wrote it,” says Art Director, Harvey Garbor, in reference to when Bill Backer penned, the now famous, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” line for Coca-Cola in 1971. With Garbor on board, Google recreated the campaign from napkin to the digital age.
“All I know of Google is the search engine. I use it mostly for email and to look up all my aches and pains, and what disease I think I probably have and I’m going to die from,” says Garbor before he is due to meet the Google team to brainstorm ideas.
In a film presented by Google and directed by Doug Pray, we see Garbor and Google taking the central idea of the original spot: buying the world a Coke, and recreating it for the digital age. They created an internet and mobile app to allow users to connect with strangers by sending a Coke, along with a digital message, around the globe to an unsuspecting recipient, distributed by special vending machines in designated cities. Recipients can also record their own messages to thank the sender.
Project Re: Brief, which was developed by digital agency, Grow Interactive, alongside creative agency, Johannes Leonardo, New York, came about with the notion: “In 2012, internet advertising turns 18-years-old and despite almost two decades of innovation online, digital ads are still being used to simply inform more than they’re being used to connect, engage and entertain. So we decided this experiment to re-imagine what advertising can be and push the boundaries of how creative ideas and our technology can work in hand.”
The experiment will be accompanied by a documentary in Spring 2012, which aims to show: “while shifting formats and media platforms is one thing, as we learn from our heroes of the past, the basic tenets of human storytelling haven’t changed.”