GoPro’s Golden Gate flyby and 5 other interactive videos done well

Interactive video has had some highlights in the past few years—see: Bic’s “Insane Human Curling” in 2011, Terry Crews’ dancing pecs in “Muscle Music” for Old Spice or Bob Dylan’s seriously belated official video for “Like a Rolling Stone.” Even the infamous Subservient Chicken, star of Burger King’s 2004 interactive campaign, made a triumphant return for a 2014 follow-up.

Those, however, are the exception, not the rule, as most advertisers are content to roll a repurposed TV spot in front of content consumers really want to see. To inspire ad makers to greater heights, we’ve compiled this selection of interactive video that point toward the future – and use new technology in the service of skillful storytelling as well. Here’s our pick of the recent interactive video crop.


GoPro buzzes the Golden Gate Bridge, in 360
Who Made It: GoPro
Why We Like It: A clever PR gambit melded with stunning technology

To pull off this on-the-cheap marketing coup GoPro took journalist and Re/code co-founder Kara Swisher up in a helicopter above San Francisco Bay and filmed the view from up high using its new Six-Camera Spherical Array virtual reality camera system, mounted on the helicopter’s exterior. Use the directional arrows in the window to swivel the camera in any direction for some startling (and vertigo-inducing, if you’re inclined that way) results, especially when the copter flies under the Golden Gate Bridge.

The video naturally got itself posted on Re/code, on which a sizeable audience of influential media people watched it. The result was a marketing gambit that impressed on viewers how impressive GoPro’s new tech is — and that was as penny-conscious as it was effective.

Details does New York Fashion Week
Who Made It: Details Content Studio
Why We Like It: The smoothest use of touchable video technology yet

Marketers of all stripes are struggling to connect content to sales. But this recent video from the Details Content Studio pulls off the trick of integrating commerce and content in a graceful way, leading to what Kirby Duncan, the studio’s Director of Special Projects, calls “through the roof” click-through rates. (Fifty-two percent of viewers engaged, said Duncan, with 10,000 items clicked.) The video, called “In a Day,” follows a trio of Details’ style-bloggers as they navigate locations associated with Men’s Fashion Week in a winter-hued NYC. The touch-screen platform, meanwhile, allows the viewer to tap or click on, and thus choose, the clothes that the dudes on screen are wearing, as well as other elements.

At video’s end the screen transforms into a “boutique” page in which the items the viewer chose are displayed. Clicking on any of the items in the boutique takes the viewer to a buy page. There’s not an irritating pop-up in sight: just a smooth path through an elegant video, culminating in a user-friendly potential transaction.

Coca-Cola owns Mother’s Day
Who Made It: DAVID
Why We Like It: For its storytelling and its organic use of interactive tech

Owning Mother’s Day is an ambitious branding goal, but Coca-Cola pulls it off with this tear jerking ad, “Inseparable,” which uses interactive technology in an organic and intuitive way to tell a story that the makers couldn’t have told without it. The interactive elements, far from being layered over the top as a gimmick here, drive the narrative logic of the ad.

Okay, the Coke product placement is a bit heavy-handed, but it is an ad, and that’s a quibble given the fine storytelling. Go ahead. Grab a Kleenex. Check it out.

Car Town Streets offers a value exchange experience
Who Made It: Cie Games and AdColony/OperaMediaworks
Why We Like It: Actually getting, and holding, gamers’ attention

Your brilliant pre-roll clip’s not much use as a branding tool if no one bothers watching it. That’s where Ad Colony’s value-exchange technology, which prompts users to actually view an ad by offering them rewards for doing so, enters the picture.

Car Town Streets – Value Exchange Integration from AdColony on Vimeo.

Using Ad Colony’s tech, Cie Games worked advertising into its popular Car Town Streets mobile game in a smooth way. Tap on the movie theater in the game, for example, and you can choose to watch a video ad in exchange for virtual currency that will apply towards future goodies. The ad, powered by AdColony’s Instant-Play HD video (no buffering, no graininess), is integrated into the experience of the game, which strengthens the player’s positive identification with the brand. When the ad ends, the user learns what he’s won, and returns to the game. The result is higher click-through rates than other uses of video can offer — and a new way to do native video.

Honda plays both sides
Who Made It: Wieden + Kennedy London
Why We Like It: Seamless craft in support of a clever concept

Honda faced the challenge of highlighting the difference between its practical Civic and its sportier sibling, the Civic Type R Honda. The result was “The Other Side,” an ad that takes customization to a new level, letting you toggle between two registers from moment to moment by hitting the “R” button on your keyboard.

In Reality #1, a father ferries his daughters from school in his respectable Civic. Hit that “R” key, though, and you switch into Reality #2, in which precisely the same environments and camera angles are used to evoke a perfectly synced mirror-image shadow world in which Dad, driving the Civic Type R now, is very much up to no good.

“We had an overall average dwell time of just under three minutes for the film,” says Scott Dungate, Creative Director at Wieden+Kennedy London. “Each side was three minutes long, which meant most people stayed for the whole experience. Essentially, people watched two back-to-back three-minute car ads, so that’s not bad.”

Adidas slips a sneaker ad into Shazam’s feed
Who Made It: Adidas
Why We Like It: It’s a slick new take on in-feed video

Seamless integration is the goal when you deploy in-feed video and this ad, which Adidas created for music-identification app Shazam, pulls it off. Featuring Pharrell, this autoplaying video integrates cleanly into Shazam’s content stream.

Opera Mediaworks Native Mobile Video Example: adidas x Shazam from Opera Mediaworks on Vimeo.

The sound’s initially muted: a user who likes the creative right off the bat can tap to hear the audio and there’s a call to action button that can be situated either above or below the video window, depending on the publisher’s preference. Tapping the video expands it to full-screen size. And after it ends, a thumbnail of the video remains, with a play button overlaid should the user choose to re-engage.

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