Behaviour + Idea + Platform = smart advertising

Posted on 04/02/2013


c is for cancer

Four in ten people are predicted to develop cancer during their lifetime.1 With February 4th being World Cancer Day, a team in London have come up with a smart way to remind us of this. is a plug-in for your website, which turns all the letter C’s on a webpage into hyperlinks, taking people to disease awareness websites.

Normal web page copy

Normal web page copy

Web page with all the C's hyperlinked for World Cancer Day

Web page with all the C’s hyperlinked for World Cancer Day

Ideas like this which seamlessly merge behaviour and technology don’t come along very often. Fortunately, I’ve been keeping a record. Here are some of the top smart online ad campaigns from the past few years:

Scrabble Battle Captcha

Recognise the captcha form verification tool? This time it was turned into something fun: a scrabble challenge to raise awareness of the World Scrabble Championship.

Twitter assassins game

Twitter assassin's creed death match battle
Twitter is more than just a talking shop. Among other things it can also be a text-based engine used to parse code. Red Interactive came up with the idea to create a Twitter assassins game, where players entered and directed their attacks via Twitter. Fail to parry an attack or fail to respond within 6 hours and you’re dead.

Smart car Twitter ad

Until this came out I had no idea that you could scroll down a twitter feed using the arrow keys. The team behind this used the same principle as in cartoon animation, creating ASCII art tweets, showing off the smart car.

Band in a banner

Band in a banner ad for Axion
Thinking inside the box, Boondoggle in Belguim decide to show the banner ad for what it truly is: a teeny tiny online media placement. So for Axion Footwear, they created the “band in a banner” concerts, squashing 5-pieces and singer songwriters into medium rectangles and leaderboards and making them perform.

Grolsch Silent Detective

grolsch-beer silent detective at a bar
There’s a mystery to solve. Can you help the silent detective? Text in your name and if the detective knows you, you’ll win a free pack of Grolsch. Smart use of dual screening and web – SMS interaction.

Ikea store launch in Malmö

Still one of my favourite campaigns of all time. Ikea sets up a profile for the Malmo store manager, gets him to post photos of the shop interior, creating a Facebook showroom for the store. But that wasn’t all: friends and followers were able to tag themselves to furniture in the photo. First one to tag each item wins it. A lovely fusion of online behaviour + the Facebook platform + an idea = a very smart campaign.

  1. Macmillan Cancer Support, July 2011