Midweek Motivation: 16 Brands Getting Creative With Mobile

It’s Wednesday. And all the high hopes and excitement that marked the start of a new week (and in the UK, the August Bank Holiday) have begun to die down as we realize that we’ve still got a ways to go before the weekend.

Here at Distilled, we’re pretty excited about our newest DistilledU module, which is all about Building A Mobile-Friendly Website.

So, to help you over the midweek hump and get you re-inspired (and maybe even coax a smile), and in honor of our new mobile module, we’ve decided to share some of our favorite examples of brands using mobile in creative, fun ways.

From clever integrated campaigns and fun apps, to social media engagement and crazy QR codes, here’s a look at some unusual approaches that marketers are using to interact with mobile users.

Online/Offline Integration


Nivea solar-powered phone charger

The 2013 campaign for ‘Summer in Brazil’ promises that “with Nivea Sun’s protection, you don’t need to leave the sun for anything...not even to charge your phone”.

The ingenious print ad includes a solar panel which will charge your phone from the comfort of your beach towel, while you soak up the Brazilian sun safe in the knowledge that you’re wearing Nivea’s sun protection lotion. It’s a beautiful integration of mobile technology with offline advertising, and ties in neatly with the skincare brand.


San Pellegrino robot

San Pellegrino’s August 2013 ‘Three Minutes in Italy’ app allowed Facebook fans to remotely control a robot in real-time in the streets of Sicily. The robot had a tablet screen for a face, displaying the Facebook profile picture of the current user. Users of the app could take a virtual tour of Taormina, a Sicilian village, and in this video, the robot even made a friend!

You can find more robot videos on the San Pellegrino Facebook page.

Debenham’s pop-up stores

This one’s an old one but still good! In October 2011, UK department store Debenhams created virtual pop-up stores near famous UK squares, such as Trafalgar Square in London and George Square in Glasgow.

Shoppers could view ten dresses, only available in those locations, try them on virtually and order them (with an exclusive 20% discount) to be delivered to their home. They could also upload pictures to Facebook and Twitter of the virtual dresses they tried on.

Tesco Home Plus Subway Stores (S. Korea)

More recently, in South Korea, Tesco has been experimenting with their own version of a virtual store (under their South Korean brand, Home Plus). Tesco had a problem: they wanted to become the #1 supermarket in South Korea, but they didn’t have enough storefronts to expand as quickly as they wanted to. Korean shoppers had a problem: they were spending too much of their free time shopping for food.

The solution: a virtual store in the subway. Commuters could do food shopping on their way to work in the morning, while waiting for their train. They would scan QR barcodes on the images of commonly purchased items (over 500 options) and buy them immediately. As long as the order was placed before 1pm, it would be delivered that evening when the shopper arrived home from work.

The result? Home Plus online sales went up by 130% in 3 months, and the number of registered users of the Home Plus shopping app went up by 76%.

Fun with Apps


Johnson and Johnson Muppet Magic Band-aids

In May 2012, Johnson and Johnson created a fun augmented reality campaign for their Muppets brand band-aids.

Parents can download an iOS app which, when held over a Muppets band-aid, prompts a video in which the Muppet character featured on the band-aid comes alive to entertain the child and distract them from their injury.


Red Bull Illume

Red Bull has been reinventing itself as a media and publishing brand, and their Illume iPad app certainly takes advantage of the wealth of high quality images that they produce. The Illume app is a virtual photobook, showcasing the top 250 images submitted to their Red Bull Illume Image Quest competition in 2010.

22,764 photos were submitted by 4,773 contestants in 112 countries. A judging panel of 53 expert photo editors selected the Top Fifty from these 250 semi-finalist images. The winning images currently tour internationally in outdoor exhibits.

The app also includes background information about how the photographers got the shot, and audio commentary from the photographers.

Tate Museum’s Magic Tate Ball app

Mobile is becoming an increasingly hot topic in the culture sector, particularly in the museum industry. The Tate Museum is getting ahead of the curve with its ‘Magic Tate Ball’ app, which has become the Tate’s most downloaded app.

Users shake their device to activate the ‘Magic Tate Ball’, which accesses contextual data including the date, time of day, geolocation, local weather and ambient noise levels. It then returns a piece of artwork from the Tate collection most relevant to the individual user’s surroundings. It also includes a Twitter-sized tag with an explanation of the piece’s relevance.


Non-branded Bonus:

Interactive film-watching with “storytelling apps”

These “storytelling apps” are a new trend in, well, storytelling. Combining elements of gaming and film, these apps take the user on a journey through a fictional story which requires their input. To read more about this new approach to creating a new type of storytelling ‘experience’, take a look at this article on ‘How Mobile Apps are Changing Storytelling’.

Social Engagement


Mashable’s #TwosCompany Vine Challenge

Mashable is jumping on the Vine bandwagon with Vine “challenges” for their followers: and their most recent was a challenge to create a vine illustrating the saying ‘Two’s Company’. The amount of creativity displayed in these short videos speaks to the level of social engagement that this type of challenge can encourage. My favorite one is below, but you can see all of the Top 15 #TwosCompany Vines on the Mashable site.


Lowe’s “Fix in Six” Vines Tumblr

Home improvement brand Lowe’s has also taken to Vines but in this case they’re the ones creating them, under the hashtag #lowesfixinsix. These fun little videos provide useful DIY tips for easy lifehacks around the house, such as using coffee filters to keep flower pots from leaking soil, or making holes in the rim of a paint can to keep it from getting messy.

They get bonus social media points for collecting all these six second videos on a Tumblr.

Rapid-Fire Round: Crazy QR Codes

And now, just for fun, some creative and crazy QR codes!

Cake Studio’s instagrammed wedding cake

True Blood QR

Red Cross - Save Japan campaign

Guinness QR cup

This clever QR code interacts with the product - it’s only readable when the glass is filled with Guinness (whereas if it is empty, or filled with a lighter-colored beer, the code isn’t scannable).

  • Brand: Guinness
  • Linked to: “it tweets about your pint, updates your Facebook status, checks you in via Foursquare, downloads coupons and promotions, invites your friends to join, and even launches exclusive Guiness [sic] content.” - quote taken from the article below (NB: the link from the code scan is not currently live)
  • Found on http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/guinness-qr-cup-reveals-scannable-code-when-full-140602
Emart’s shadow powered QR code

This code, which provides a link to a lunchtime sale promotion, is only readable during midday when the sun casts the right shadow.

Royal Horticultural Society’s QR code garden

This is Dairy Farming - QR Cows

Had enough? No? You can find more fun QR codes here, on Hongkiat’s "40 Gorgeous QR Code Artworks" post.


Well there you have it! Hopefully you’re feeling inspired and motivated to explore the wonderful world of mobile marketing.

If you’re not sure how to get started with mobile, why not check out our new DistilledU module on building a mobile-friendly website? This module walks you through the entire process of creating a mobile-friendly site, from choosing the right approach (responsive? dynamic serving? separate subdomain?) all the way through to how to track your mobile visitors in Google Analytics. We also cover some of the major design and development considerations, whether you’re creating a brand new site or working with a legacy system. You can take a look at technical best practices for mobile SEO, and the Future of the Mobile Web (which leads to exciting ideas like the ones featured in this post!).

Happy building!

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