If GPS Could Talk…



Forsman & Bodenfors wants to make sure drivers “drive 25 to keep kids alive,” and they’ve found an ingenious way to do it. Talking GPS are standard features in modern vehicles, but the agency has conceptualized an app that will switch the voice on the GPS to a child’s when within range of a school, daycare, or other area populated by children.

It’s currently available in Sweden, Finland, and Norway, and comes pre-loaded with all schools and daycare centers in the Nordic region.

The agency hopes that this will serve as an audio reminder to drive carefully and watch for children, reducing the number of accidents in school zones and other kid-friendly areas.

What Sparks Our Fire: Using innovation and unconventional problem-solving to draw attention to an often-ignored safety hazard

McWhopper for World Peace


Burger King released a video proposal on Wednesday as an open letter to its No. 1 competitor McDonald’s, calling for the two burger powerhouses to bury the hatchet in honor of World Peace Day on September 21st.

The fast-food chain proposed a pop-up shop at the halfway between its headquarters in Miami and McDonalds’ headquarters in Chicago, in Atlanta as the middle ground. The shop would exclusively serve “The McWhopper,” half-Big Mac and half-Whopper, designed to “settle the beef” between the two companies for a day. In addition, to the video, the company also created a website illustrating the logistics of the proposal, even featuring an endorsement from nonprofit Peace One Day founder Jeremy Gilley and the recipe for the proposed hybrid burger.

However, the advertisement was seen by some as both a not-so-subtle challenge and a cheap marketing stunt, namely, by the face of McDonald’s himself, who released a public rejection letter of the proposal. “We commit to raise awareness worldwide, perhaps you’ll join us in a meaningful global effort?” wrote Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s. “And every day, let’s acknowledge that between us there is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.”

Despite what is clearly a highly-publicized branding move, Burger King seems sincere in its efforts to contribute something meaningful using its status as a popular fast-food chain. McDonald’s seems a little more reluctant to do so, at least in partnership with Burger King.

So who “won”? McDonald’s is making it clear that they refuse to play the game, and in terms of tactics, what was doled out to them as a friendly curveball was slam-dunked over Burger King’s head. But the circumstances of the offer should be taken into account as well. Was it smart or snobby for McDonald’s to reject the offer given that it was for a good cause, especially considering McDonalds’ struggle to stay relevant as of late? You decide.

But all things considered, McDonald’s had better come up with a really great campaign with all this talk of “global awareness.”

What Sparks Our Fire: Creative inter-brand collaborative marketing campaigns (and a little beef)

And So It Begins

old spice

For the first time in history, the two Old Spice spokesmen (Isaiah Mustafa and Terry Crews) are squaring off in a spot together. Last week, Old Spice released a commercial simply entitled “And So It Begins,” which features Mustafa as the rugged everyman in-touch with nature spokesperson for the brand’s Timber scent. Mustafa pitches the scent as “what the angel-faced woman in your life deserves” but is interrupted by Crews, who interrupts him by bursting onto the scene, the embodiment of the aggressive, hyper-masculine male personifying the Bearglove scent. The third scent, Swagger, is also portrayed by Mustafa, as a smooth-talking, debonair gentleman.


The campaign encourages consumers (particularly male millennials) to choose which scent best fits their personality and “make a smellmitment,” and the use of both iconic Old Spice spokespeople in one campaign has garnered widespread attention for the brand. However, the two actors aren’t the brand’s only first. Old Spice, in conjunction with the video advertisement, partnered with Imgur, a popular image-sharing site frequented by male millennials, to create a sponsored post that would appear on the site. Its innovative use of GIFs, laser-shooting helicopters, and Imgur-friendly terminology won the community over, and the brand was commended for its familiarity with its target audience, with users commenting things like “a shamless ad I can get behind” and “I’ll allow it”.


The scents are available in a variety of products, from body wash to deodorant, and will be promoted through a series of six more spots this fall.

What Sparks Our Fire: Brands that not only invent creative and engaging campaigns, but know their audience well.

Free McFlurries Beat the Heat


Earlier this year companies took advertising to another level advertisements that dispensed beverages to promote their brand. Using “Dispensing Billboards” Like Coca-Cola and Carlsberg, McDonald’s in the Netherlands took a similar approach and found a way to beat the heat. They created a heat-sensitive billboard that dished out 100 free McFlurry cups to pedestrians walking the city streets.


When temperatures reached extreme levels, the billboard would open up and allow pedestrians to take an empty cup, which they could take to the nearest McDonald’s and get their free McFlurry. Who wouldn’t love to cool down with a treat like this on these hot summer days?

Unfortunately, in order for the panels to open, the thermometer connected must reach a set temperature of 101.48°F, so you might not want to wait around for it.

What Sparks Our Fire: Companies using interactive advertising to cater to their customers and the environment


Chevy <3’s Millennials


Visual mediums have taken a larger role in consumers’ lives and has started to trickle into brand storytelling and communication. We’ve written about the latest trend of brands creating their own emoji keyboards, and now Chevrolet has gone one step further and released a press release for the 2016 Cruze, written entirely in emoji. Released this morning, Chevy will give consumers a chance to decipher the statement written in modern glyphs before releasing the translated version this afternoon.

Chevy, not traditionally known for their ground breaking marketing initiatives, is taking a big step in the right direction. No other company has released a formal press release written almost entirely in emoji, though Domino’s did write hundreds of Tweets using just a pizza emoji a few weeks back. By embracing the “emoji” trend and adding an element of social media driven gamification to the sometimes stale press release ritual, Chevy is taking great strides in effectively engaging with the target millennial audience.

Take a look at the full press release, and see if you can piece together the full story.


What Sparks Our Fire: A unique integrated campaign targeted at millennials.