This month, Nissan cleverly capitalised on the low-fi craze with a 4-hour-long Youtube ad. A Reddit user shared AI-generated images with embedded QR codes which remain fully functional despite their intricate designs. To celebrate Suntory whisky’s 100th anniversary, filmmaker Sofia Coppola directed a special campaign starring Keanu Reeves. Japanese camera maker Nikon launched a vibrant campaign to remind people of how the world can be much more beautiful than any image created by AI, and I finally published the second volume of my “Design lessons from Singapore” series.
In other words, another month filled with amazing new design discoveries, some of which are listed below.
Nissan 4-hour Lofi ad
Imagine an agency pitching this ad: “How about we make a 4h commercial with a cartoon character driving your car, some low-fi music playing continually, no dialogue, and absolutely no action other than subtle background changes that periodically flash your brand?”
Believe it or not but Nissan Motor Corporation recently choose this approach to promote its new electric SUV and what could have led to outrage instead became a viral success, attracting more than 18 million views, 3,700 comments, and a positive rating of more than 96%.
So why is this ad so successful?
To start with, Nissan cleverly capitalised on the low-fi craze on YouTube. ‘Lofi Girl’, a YouTube channel with more than 1.5 billion views since 2017, is clearly the “inspiration” behind it. Additionally, the ad constantly changes backgrounds while retaining elements of Japan and there is a subtle brand recall in all the billboards the girl passes by. The video is also 4 hours long, deliberately, to drive home the following message: Nissan Ariva is an electric car that lasts for 4 hours on one charge.
The ad wasn’t designed to annoy people but to provide a pleasant experience that they associate with the product. Well done!
Art and QR codes: an unexpected mix
A Reddit user recently shared AI-generated images with embedded QR codes which remain fully functional despite their intricate designs. Inspired by anime and Asian art styles, these QR codes were created using Stable Diffusion.
The interesting use of this diffusion model here is possible because of the innate error correction feature built into QR codes. This capability allows a certain percentage of the QR code’s data to be restored if it’s damaged or obscured, permitting a level of modification without making the code unreadable.
His discovery opens up new possibilities for both digital art and marketing. Instead of just being tools of convenience, ordinary QR codes could be transformed into intriguing and complex works of art.
Design lessons from Singapore – Volume 2
I live in Singapore for more than a decade and I’m still regularly (and pleasantly) surprised by some design choices made here. Everything is so functional!
So I started to document some of these designs to draw a parallel with User Experience and (Digital) Product Design. Today, I’m pleased to share the second volume of my observations.
Suntory Whisky 100th Anniversary
To celebrate Suntory whisky’s 100th anniversary, filmmaker Sofia Coppola directed a special campaign starring Keanu Reeves.
She looks back at a century of history with a high-speed short film chock-full of vintage archive footage from past campaigns, commercials, pop culture moments, and even self-referential moments from her own archive.
The #SuntoryTime tagline doesn’t come from a classic advertising campaign but was dreamt up by Sofia Coppola for her Oscar-winning film Lost in Translation which premiered 20 years ago. In the movie, Bill Murray‘s character was asked to advertise Suntory’s Hibiki 17 whisky in the iconic “Suntory Time!” scene.
AI is present everywhere these days and especially in image generators, which, although controversial, continue to take up more and more space. Japanese camera maker Nikon recently launched a vibrant campaign to remind people of how wonderful the real world can be without the help of technology.
Entitled “Natural Intelligence”, the initiative revolves around several clichés that emphasise how our planet is self-sufficient and can be much more beautiful than any image created by AI. Additionally, each picture comes with a somewhat nonsensical textual request (or “prompt”) that could be used to achieve a similar result with software like Midjourney.
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