How Creative Technology pushed the limits in 2013

At the Createch 2013 conference I picked up on an overarching theme: We all want to push the limits for our work to have the best impact in the marketplace. Not not just for the advertiser, but for agencies creating the work as well. The case studies presented at the show were no exception.


Everything from emerging new technology to completely abstract concepts were presented with inspiring results. One approach seemed to carry across all the projects. Whether creative or development was the driving factor in the work, it just didn’t matter. It was all blurred. I saw this in three stand-out projects:

  • Google’s hangout car configurator,
  • Vuforia augmented reality,
  • and the most abstract project presented during the conference: Vortex cookie swapping digital identity hacking

1. Google Hangout Car Config. (Toyota makes car shopping social)

Toyota Collaborator with Google+ screen capture from

Utilizing pre-exisiting software (Google hangout) and incorporating HTML5 , CSS3, 3D models and other emerging tech, Toyota was able to leverage the social power of “group chats” to modernize the car buying experience. The creative technology allows for several users to build a car by having everyone build collaboratively. Once complete, everyone can take a test drive. Very interesting stuff, but what really stood out to me was the integration of the geo-tracking software that Google has for local car dealerships to be notified about people using the app and allowing the dealers to offer to join in on the hangout. They can help in the process of building your vehicle, compare to dealer stock and removing inefficient time typically spent on the lot and implementing with a more streamlined process.

There were a few downsides to the project: ie9 and below = a black hole as the technology that is being used can only be shown by modern browsers, the inherent challenges that “design by committee” creates. And, my biggest worry is the lack of control over a hard selling salesperson being assigned to your group hangout that doesn’t understand the dynamics of online interaction.

Overall I though the idea of what they did with the technology could lead to great adaptations in the interactive learning marketplace. Imagine Rosetta Stone teaching in a hangout where everyone can interact with test questions, practice with each other and have the teacher mediate and drive the learning experience.

2. Vuforia (Augmented Reality)

image taken from qualcomm vuforia website.

Voforia, a platform created by Qualcomm, enables augmented reality by taking items that we normally don’t associate with digital technology and letting them join in on the fun. Whether its superimposing items (buttons, images, etc) over print ads or utilizing the platform to identify 3d objects in space to play advertising, this platform sure does have a lot to offer. From a client perspective the great selling point is in the hard metrics that can be provided by utilizing the platform.

Ballard+ Catalog App screen

For example, Ballard Designs created an app for viewers to interact with the print version of the catalog, offering a more informative and visually rich experience. They utilized videos & 3D models of furniture and directly tied into online store data allowing them to optimize allowing based on what people are most interested in. Ballard Designs is more accurately tailoring all of their print collateral to what resonates with their customer base the best.

I would love to see this technology pushed to the next level, for example having a zoo tour where you could pull up your phone or iPad and have an interactive experience with the animals, again adding more of the creative tech fun to every day activities.

3. Vortex
Image Courtesty of

Vortex is a data management game that was by far the most thought provoking presentation. Rachel Law, a conceptual artist, designer and programmer living in Brooklyn, New York created a game where she could essentially change her Internet identity while browsing the internet just by loading a different set of cookies to the browser. Sounds pretty innocent right? When the NSA caught wind of her project they sent a few cease and desist letters. Because so much of our personal information is stored in cookies (bank account numbers, login information, email accounts), someone creating a shortcut to access all that info is definitely a scary thought.

On a lighter note there are great uses for being able to modify cookies. For example, non persistent advertising. If there were more research into how to utilize and modify cookies we could get rid of repetitive advertising offering a better UX for viewers and a much better ROI for advertisers since only valid prospects would be targeted and only until they purchase.

My eyes have definitely been opened to the possibilities for what lies in the future in advertising and creative technology. I’m excited to be a part of the rapid growth in the next few years, simply because client and agency both are pushing the limits of what can be done creatively, while utilizing technology to put them miles ahead of their competition.