Collaboration goes Google
The Story Builder lets users explore, create, share, and essentially drive this online campaign through GSP.
The internet has changed the way we receive and share content, but what about how we make it? Internet remix culture encourages playful communication between different media, but is limited to an endless loop of call and response. Now that the internet has "gone Google", work can be created online and in real-time with a community of collaborators.
For example, if this article was written using Google Docs you wouldn’t be a passive reader. Instead, you would be watching me write and actively participating in the selection of words and construction of sentences. Considering the nature of this web tool, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners couldn’t create a standard bit of one-way advertising for it. Rather, they launched the Google Story Builder and left the remainder of the work for the world to sort.
Building from Google’s number one belief that they must “focus on the user and the rest will follow,” GSP opted for a branded content website experience. The few online videos they created were made using the website and act as a launch-pad for collaboration. Making playful cultural reference and amusing hypothetical situations, these videos portray the tool’s potential and inspire creative engagement. One video shows how Hall and Oats might have written a song using Google Docs and another creates the comical scenario of a family debating a wedding list. Both videos went viral and lead to user-generated stories that have also been disseminated through social media. Thus, the consumer is at the centre of the execution as an active contributor and the campaign has the potential to be perpetual.
Adding to the labyrinth of possibilities, GSP also created the Docs Demo: Masters Edition; an amusing and surprising tool that puts users into hypothetical ‘conversation’ with Dickenson, Nietzsche, Shakespeare and more. As text is added to the document, the program alters the words to match the characters’ writing style and operates like an Exquisite Corpse (a method of collective creation with roots in surrealism that has the nuances of a parlor game). This form follows GSP’s belief that “art is the secret weapon of great business.”
It seems Google’s goal is no longer to simply “organize the world's information.” With these new tools, the company is facilitating the creation of new ideas and creating uncharted territory. As online environments continue to expand and tools give users more creative power, successful advertising executions will be putting more control in the consumer’s hands. This execution shows how consumers can effectively drive a campaign when they're given the tools to contribute to it.
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