Tech viewpoint on invisible technology
A view from Jon Andrews

Tech viewpoint on invisible technology

We've been working with technology inside the advertising arena for donkey's years, leading to some amazing work. We're fascinated by anything that's new and shiny,...

I get excited as much as the next person when something like Oculus Rift appears on the scene or somebody figures out they can print their lunch with a 3D printer, but I also see an industry largely struggling to integrate any of this particularly well into advertising.

On one side of every agency, you’ll find the guys making the ads and, on the other side, you’ll see a bunch of guys playing around with a Leap Motion, not really knowing what to do with it, but still having a hell of a fun time testing it to destruction.

Putting "traditional" and "digital" aside for one minute, I see two streams of advertising right now: anything we can put emotion into – and then everything else.

We seem to be able to work very comfortably in the first of these spaces, whether it’s TV, YouTube or an interactive video website. But what about the rest – how do we work in those streams?

The rest of it, well, I think we start getting our knickers in a twist a little. More often than not, we start breaking all the rules that have served us so well in the past. We see something new and shiny such as 3D printing and start thinking less about the big idea and lose ourselves in the possibilities of technology.

We need to have a longer-term view in mind when using technology to communicate to audiences

We bring the technology to the fore, we focus less on the idea and we end up with work that everyone else is doing. In ten years’ time, the technology looks dated and, as such, so does our work. It’s OK for the here and now but, for the work to stand the test of time, we need to have a longer-term view in mind when using technology to communicate to audiences.

I like to play in spaces nobody else is in. Mash up stuff that everybody else has long since forgotten about to make new and interesting work for clients that gets real traction. I’m neither clever enough nor have the time to invent something amazing myself.

Above all, I like to have an emotional insight at the heart of the idea and make the technology hidden.

With our "magic of flying" campaign for British Airways, I like to think we managed to do this.

We started with a simple emotional insight and placed this at the forefront of the execution. It was the child pointing up at the planes that people first related to, capturing their imagination and bringing them back to that magical moment when they first flew.

The technology was always the back story. Completely invisible, but helping to deliver a powerful and emotive story – and that’s how it should be.

Jon Andrews is the creative technology director at OgilvyOne London

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