SXSW Insight: Google’s Art Copy Code Project

Before #shamber headed to South By Southwest Interactive 2013, I predicted that Google would have as equally large a presence as last year, when they rented out an entire city block of houses; each one themed for a different Google product. It was big and bold and noticeable. However, to my surprise, Google took a grassroots approach instead. They focused on thought leadership and demonstrating their moonshot thinking, rather than a big, flashy brand activation. In a lot of ways, it’s a metaphor for Google itself. To sum it up, they are “killing it softly.”

At the start of 2013 I said this will be the break out year for Google Plus. And then, we learned that Google Glass is due for its consumer launch later this year. After checking out Google’s Art Copy & Code playground at SXSW, I can now see a much larger Google story unfolding. A story that takes us beyond powerful advertising platforms, search, and even our devices. This is an endless world where wearable technology, social media and devices create an ecosystem that seamlessly connects our virtual world with our real lives. Google’s innovative projects are bringing us evermore closer to daily life with ambient technology. And they’re doing it so subtly, many of us hardly even noticed. Google Plus has been seamlessly integrated into advertising, search, YouTube, blogging platforms and social media.  And now we add a new layer.

Take, for example, The Talking Shoe project in which Google has partnered with interactive collective YesYesNo to retrofit Adidas sneakers with an accelerometer, gyroscope, and Bluetooth. The project takes it one step further than similar consumer technology like Nike FuelBand or Fit Bit by humanizing the data and translating it into a personality that can motivate you, make you laugh, or even cry. Moreover, the experience can be documented via a live stream to Google Plus. Now, imagine how this technology could apply to a sponsored athlete or a brand.

Here are a two Vine videos I created from Google’s Art, Copy & Code Playground exhibit:



While Google Glass‘ presence at SXSW was quite muted by the fire hose of conversation that takes place during the event, it doesn’t make the product any less meaningful. Glass has already graced the runways of New York Fashion Week and the eyeballs of adrenaline junkies. During SXSW, they hosted a few Google Glass talks, announced a suite of Glass apps that includes Evernote, Path, New York Times and Gmail, and succeeded in getting their product into the hands of the most influential tech nerds.  When Glass launches to consumers later this year, I believe things will change.

Here’s a great sneak peak from The Verge on the product:

Fun technology aside, it’s time to look at the big picture of what the introduction of  powerful wearable technology means to marketers. Our new interconnected ecosystem will demand subtle and personalized marketing approaches. Brands will need to collaborate on hardware products that add value to the daily lives of their consumers (think hackathon.)  A quote on the Art Copy Code website sums it up best for me:

“Marketing has become less about talking and more about doing.”

How are you adding value to your customers through your marketing efforts? Tell us in the comments below.

Header Image Photo Credit: dingatx via Compfight cc
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