location, location, location… a virtual link to emotional bonds

We are territorial by nature – not just in our evolutionary need to stake out one’s claim, but also in how we relate to our environment as frame of reference. When we return to a place or recall the location of a moving experience, higher order feelings are triggered.

Great TV and print advertising has always taken advantage of this through music and imagery that transports us. The possibilities in digital marketing are plentiful, yet few agencies and marketers have fully embraced this.

This experience of virtual location can be two-way. It can be integrated with evocative imagery such as one’s neighborhood; it can also transport someone into a powerful “you had to be there” experiences.

A number of digital campaigns have effectively “mashed-up” with Google Earth, Street View, or mapping APIs.  Arcade Fire’s interactive music video, The Wilderness Downtown, took away awards at Cannes because of its integration of intimate geographic imagery, unique to an individual.  More recently, Project Re: Brief’s re-imagined, digital expression of Coca-Cola’s iconic 1970’s TV ad ( I’d like to buy the world a Coke), took connecting humanity across physical locations to an entirely new level.

Advertisers and marketers should think about their brands, think about their target consumers, think about the emotional hooks of location and build amazing digital brand experiences – experiences with relevance that can be even more engaging than a well directed TV spot.

It’s all about location, location, location.  See you there?

A few more contemporary examples:

  • State Farm’s Chaos in Your Town: While gimmicky, it is a fun execution that combines street view imagery with an augmented reality robot invasion of your home.
  • History in These Streets: A virtual recreation of the Black Panther Legacy tour that the Huey P. Newton Foundation conducts in West Oakland.
  • The Art Project: The world’s leading art museums have joined in creating virtual tours of their collections, allowing online visitors to walk through their galleries using Street View technology.
  • Street With A View: Fiction, both subtle and spectacular, blended into the doppelganger world of Google Street View. Artists Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley collaborated with the Google Street View team and residents of Pittsburgh’s Northside on a series of tableaux along Sampsonia Way.
  • Royal Wedding Precession: A Google Earth simimulation of Buckingham Palace and the precession through London.
  • Cycling the Alps: Another Google Earth simluation of one of the toughest stages of Tour de France.
  • Return of the Goo:  Cadbury’s campaign that let’s you virtually launch a gooey mess at any location you choose.
  • Travelogic: An experimental website by Gabe Morton-Cook which plots his travels.

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