Social innovation is at an all time high and campaigns integrated with social media are the latest incarnation exemplified by the new Mercedes-Benz #YOUDRIVE Twitter campaign, which will let fans help shape the ending. Ever the innovator on digital, Mercedes-Benz is up 10 percent in Interbrand's just-announced 2012 Best Global Brands report.
TV viewers in the UK will ‘drive the action’ of a three-part story about the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class to be shown this weekend during commercial breaks in "The X Factor." A cat and mouse caper features a young music star (played by Top Boy actor Kane Robinson) aided by a female accomplice attempting to secure a secret gig that authorities are keen to close down.
Different scenarios give viewers the chance to ‘steer the action’ real-time in scenes shot on the streets of Portugal by Anthony Dod Mantle, whose movie credits include D.P. on Slumdog Millionaire.
“Our strategy is led by the way consumers now interact with advertising,” stated David George, Marketing Director, Mercedes-Benz UK. “People no longer want just to listen to brands, they want to interact with them, that’s critical.”
The campaign’s three ads are from Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, the first two airing October 6 and the final 90-second ad broadcast during Sunday's 'The X Factor' on ITV, will recap the first two before revealing the concluding chapter.
Twitter data showing the percentage of viewers who voted for each outcome will be integrated into the final ad and viewers will be directed to a custom YouTube channel, to view the ads and create their own. The campaign runs through December 2, and includes cinema, press and outdoor, and a promoted Twitter campaign next weekend to promote the activity.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, there's more Twitter-inspired social innovation from the CW TV Network — a print insert of a small LCD screen with video and the six latest tweets from @CW_Network in 1,000 copies of Entertainment Weekly distributed in New York and Los Angeles. Tagged with “Follow Us Now,” the insert promotes the network’s fall lineup. The campaign comes as P&G/D&G are testing interactive magazine ads in the UK and Volkswagen is shaking things up with its India newspaper campaign.
“We’re always trying to look at things that are first to market, that are really going to let people know that we are a digital network and that digital media is part of our DNA,” said Rick Haskins, EVP marketing and digital programs at the CW, to Mashable. “It’s important advertisers know they can come to us when they want to do something that’s new, that’s never been done before.”
It's not just advertising and entertainment using Twitter for innovation, of course. In Seattle, residents in 51 neighborhoods can follow the local police department on Twitter via "Tweets-by-beat," a digital police blotter mirroring the print edition that runs in local papers. "Liquor violation -- intoxicated person," and "Accident investigation at 5 Ave/James St," are example of recent tweets.
"More and more people want to know what's going on on their piece of the rock," Seattle chief of police John Diaz told CNet. "They want to specifically know what's going on in the areas around their home, around their work, where their children might be going to school. This is just a different way we could put out as much information as possible as quickly as possible."
A new website, "Connected To The Case" goes live on October 16, and crowdsources tips from users to help solve active police investigations. Using Facebook login for access, the service pulls data from profiles to prioritize cases you might be connected to through a filter of five key areas: date, location, time, relation and demographics
Citizens are encouraged to ‘Click-Connect-Solve’ in this social media approach to crime-busting designed by Praetorian Labs and Crowd Sourced Investigations, LLC. Law enforcement agencies can register to include current cases, and engage on Facebook and Twitter.
While initial roll-out targets the US, expansion to other English-speaking countries to build a global network of ‘internet do-gooders’ is part of the plan, as is integration with Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest and a smartphone app.
"We believe this innovation will have a profound impact in helping to improve society and assist law enforcement in the coming decade,” commented Alex Ford, CEO of Praetorian Group, digital platform leader in the Public Safety market with properties such as PoliceOne.com, FireRescue1.com and EMS1.com.
And on the healthcare front, social innovation is meeting surgery as doctors at the Swedish Medical Center perform a cochlear implant surgery using Twitter and Instagram during the procedure. Dr. Backous, Medical Director of the Center for Hearing and Skull Base Surgery said the live-tweeted surgery is part of a broader campaign to build awareness of cochlear implant surgeries which can improve and restore hearing even for those born deaf.
Social innovations like these are the best of breed for advertising and digital citizenry and up the ante for effective and inclusive communication and engagement.