The Lists 2020: Top 7 digital innovations

The best of the industry in 2020.

1 Mojang “Blockdown Simulator”

If Covid-19 was the inspiration behind much of the best digital innovation this year, this socially responsible game is, rightly, its poster child. The makers of legendary computer game Minecraft launched a free, pandemic-themed spin-off to educate children about the need to socially distance. Created by WPP’s AKQA, Blockdown Simulator centres on a map featuring a village that is exposed to highly infectious zombie villagers and an underground hospital where the sick may be cured.

Agency AKQA London

2 Asos “Digital sizing”

Launched in January, but ramped up later in 2020 when the pandemic took hold, Asos rolled out this augmented-reality tool that digitally maps its clothes items to 16 different real-life models of differing heights and body shapes. Not only did it help models and Asos staff photograph products in their homes during lockdown, it helps create a realistic representation of the garment for shoppers.

Agency Zeekit

3 Sonantic

Digital creative ads ideally need to be able to respond in real time to changes in consumer behaviour or the environment. British artificial voice start-up Sonantic could be a game-changer when it comes to ad voiceovers and voice assistants in ecommerce. The tool, which aims to convey “deep human emotion”, has captured attention from ad agencies; entertainment companies and game studios could be next.

Agency n/a

4 “BigUp.AI”

This AI tool is designed to encourage women to use more confident language. BigUp.AI analyses passive language in emails and messages to identify when users are unintentionally talking themselves down. Once detected, the tool suggests how to change the language so that it becomes bolder and more persuasive. BigU.AI won the Future Impact Pencil for Initiative at the D&AD Awards 2020.

Agency AnalogFolk London

5 Social Chain “Shoppable live streams”

Even before the pandemic-driven spike in demand for ecommerce, Social Chain turned to “shoppertainment” in January with shoppable live streams via Facebook. The service activates a chatbot to help sell products to Facebook users who comment on a live video stream. It is reminiscent of QVC but enables interaction with influencers, and the buying process is more frictionless.

Agency Social Chain

6 EE “The world’s first 5G-powered dress”

Once again, the telecoms brand delivered something arresting for the Bafta red carpet. This year it adorned TV presenter Maya Jama with a six-layered dress that appeared to transform in real time (if you were looking at her on nearby big screens or a smartphone with 5G). Super-fast 5G mobile internet enables such marketing activity because of the amount of data that can be processed in real time.

Agencies Publicis.Poke, Cake

7 UK government “Gov.UK Coronavirus information line”

Working with WPP’s Wavemaker, the UK government launched the Gov.UK Coronavirus Information Line built on the WhatsApp Business API information feed, using Infobip’s global communication platform. It enables the sharing of timely, vital knowledge and updates about Covid-19.

Agency Wavemaker


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