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LBi’s Simon Gill picks his Desert Island (Digital) Ads

Simon Gill joined digital agency LBi in 2006 as head of design for the web development team with responsibility for interaction and user experience design. He was rapidly promoted to creative director and is now executive creative director. He has helped to judge the D&AD Awards, Guardian Megas, Cresta, Creative Showcase, BIMA and New York Festivals.

This week LBi won six People’s Lovies awards (voted by consumers). Most of the awards were for LBi’s work on the launch of Microsoft’s IE9 and The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator, an online graphic novel that the public contribute to and manipulate (see below, number 10).

1/ Milko Music Machine. It’s not often you can remember when you first saw a piece of work and your reaction to it. I certainly can with this piece. The amazing Music Machine allows you to create custom clips of the singing, dancing, rapping cow to share with your friends. The storyline, the animation, the interaction and the propagation of the user generated content – all brilliantly done and all ahead of its time.

2/ Orange Balloonacy. The simple idea of an Internet Balloon race to promote Orange’s new tariff types is huge in its ambition. It required the co-operation of many site owners and some technical brilliance to make it all happen. Version 1 was good, with Version 2 making it even better. It certainly engages a very active audience with its highly addictive game play. A legendary piece of Internet creative technology brilliance.

3/ Mercedes A to S. I remember several pieces by Mercedes around this time, but it’s A to S that’s stood the test of time. Each letter tells a story about their S range, illustrated with the understated aesthetic sophistication you expect from Mercedes. Its interactivity is simple but effective and you feel compelled to work through every single letter – learning about the car and brand.

4/ Lynx Blow. Interesting in its use of the microphone to engage the target audience, who are able to blow the handsome model. The more you blow, the more reactions you get. It’s even possible to remove most of her clothes, gaining an impressive average dwell time of 10 minutes. The story behind it reveals things don’t always go smoothly and appearances can be very deceptive.

5/ Fun Theory. Digital is much more than websites and banner ads, and this project demonstrates the creative application of technology and the important crossover with experiential. It’s based on the simple premise that fun is the easiest way to change people’s attitudes. In this instance, it’s to do your bit for the environment and use VW’s Blue Motion technology. The use of Arduino boards has opened up lots of creative technology opportunities away from the screen.

6/ Orange The Feed 2009-2012. There is something very charming about the Feed, that could only be from Orange. It’s a great combination of regular content, strong tone of voice, lovely illustration and good use of wit. Creating weekly content takes some doing, and as a result it has established a few interesting firsts that have been appropriated by many an aspiring creative team. It inspired a loyal following, creating meaningful interaction but never managed to go mainstream.

7/ Uniqlo Lucky Switch. Good banner campaigns are hard to come by so this little beauty for Uniqlo is a real treat for its concept and media strategy. Created for an end of season sale, the banner works as a blog widget, which when clicked changed all the images on the blog to Uniqlo banners for their products. Hidden behind one of these is a lucky surprise for the person interacting with it and the owner of the blog.

8/ Get the Glass (North Kingdom). To many it’s just a simple board game with a loose connection to the milk it’s advertising, but in my eyes, Milko represents a leap forward in our understanding of online and sets a new watermark for digital ambition. It scores highly for its animation craft and marks the point when digital became more cinematic and immersive. It’s packed full of some clever tech and propagation thinking, is highly addictive and makes the long download well worth it.

9/ Samsung Shakedown. The live Internet video channel as an experiential ad has given us some real treats over the year, and I particularly like the simplicity and directness of this competition for Samsung. Call each phone to make it vibrate and if your call is the one to make it fall off you win the phone. It might hit the floor or land in the tank of water – no matter, this phone is pretty tough. Perfect example of interactivity showing you the key product benefit in an entertaining way.

10/ The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator. Our latest piece is a masterpiece of collaboration and intensity (although I say it myself). It’s a creative vehicle for inventive use of HTML5 and attempts to push the idea of the online series in new directions. It has many highlights and would be rich territory for a reinterpretation or even a new series…

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