Dianne Wilkins, the CEO of Critical Mass, admits that her agency may be at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to competing against Madison Avenue firms. Based on their headquarters in Calgary, they have to "fly further, try harder and sleep a little less."
But Critical Mass’ underdog status -- combined as Wilkins says its Canadian humility -- helped it power past the competition and reach new heights in growth, new business wins and award-winning work in 2019, all while keeping customer-centricity at its core.
Incorporating strategic, data-inspired ways to employ new technologies and digital design into brand experiences, Critical Mass spent 2019 serving up more relevant experiences for their customers.
For BMW, Critical Mass developed a BYO (Build Your Own) platform on which online customers could configure their own cars in an immersive digital experience. The platform was designed using personal user data, user location, look-alike modeling and more. The result was an intuitive experience where customers could focus on creating their dream car, not being bogged down figuring out how to use the technology on the platform or enduring glitchy issues. End-to-end user polls ensured there were no hurdles or pain points negatively affecting BYO users.
The BYO experience for BMW helped provide a 2.6x lift in product-page, lead-form submissions and a 37 percent increase in lead-form submissions against 2018 baselines.
Critical Mass also produced innovative work for Nissan, as the car company was looking for a way to creativity engage drivers on the virtues of its Intelligent Mobility technologies for its Altima model (such as rear automatic braking, proPILOT assist, blind spot warnings and more).
The critical element: Drivers couldn’t actually test drive Altimas to test the technologies without putting themselves in danger’s way.
The agency turned to virtual reality in a 360-degree experience called Tech Drive VR that let customers understand and connect with Nissan’s technologies in a virtual driver’s seat, instead of a real road test. Customers had an authentic, first-person perspective thanks to Critical Mass shooting the scenes used live, employing a 360-degree camera rig, and a real car on actual streets. More than 6,500 hours of Tech Drive VR were watched with more than 30 million impressions.
Like the automotive field, the world of wireless careers is fraught with hyperbole. Every company seems to boast it’s the best at something. So with Critical Mass’s guidance, AT&T flipped the script and delivered a series of spots that focused on how it was the best and others in the field were "just OK." Joking about mediocrity with a series of display videos and fake "how to" clips helped customers see just how ludicrous settling for mediocrity can be.
The work generated meaningful buzz, while also delivering a 79 percent higher click-through rate than AT&T’s average and a brand lift 3x higher than Critical Mass’s benchmark.