Project Isaac Awards 2019

Throughout the year, we celebrate creativity, trailblazers and young influentials, efforts around diversity and inclusion, sports leaders, brand geniuses, and standout agencies and media plans. But the Project Isaac Awards are something else entirely: They honor those who answer a craving for invention, that rare quality at the heart of truly standout work. In the case of We Believers, winners of the Gravity prize, they also honor those who answer the urge for a flame-grilled burger.

Burger King Mexico’s ‘Traffic Jam Whoppers’
We Believers
Gravity Award Winner

We can all agree rush hour is pretty miserable, but this past April, commuters in Mexico City got a bit of a reprieve: the ability to order Whoppers to their cars.

The inspiration for the campaign came after Gustavo Lauria, chief creative officer of We Believers, spent an hour in a car on the way to a meeting with Burger King CMO Fernando Machado. Recalling that Machado wanted an idea relevant to Mexico, Lauria—fresh from his commute—arrived at the meeting and said, “What if we deliver Whoppers in the middle of traffic jams?”

Machado approved the idea in less than five minutes, no formal presentation required.

Planning was a bit more involved. They had to identify traffic hot spots and restaurants, and what combination would enable 30-minute deliveries. After that, there were just a few minor details to deal with: developing an app to support mobile payments; asking consumers to preregister with email addresses and license plate and credit card numbers; ensuring delivery drivers had compatible handsets; creating a back-end interface to identify daily delivery zones and to track orders; figuring out a means of integrating the service into restaurants (the solution: an iPad placed next to cash registers); and populating digital billboards with data from customers and their orders.

Then they realized orders would have to be voice-enabled to comply with traffic laws. The voice-activated menu simplified orders not only because consumers were driving, but also because voice assistants had to speak Spanish.

“It was a long weekend,” says Marco Vega, chief strategy officer at We Believers, the AOR for Burger King Mexico.

The result: nearly 400 Whoppers delivered to traffic-marooned customers—10% to 15% of which were handed off at the moment the driver passed by Burger King, Vega says.

The campaign also created a new revenue stream and marked the first time Burger King Mexico accepted mobile payments.

“This was the proof: a) people are open to mobile payments, and b) they were safe and willing to give you their credit card number,” Vega notes.

Now We Believers is considering other high-traffic cities like Los Angeles, São Paulo and Shanghai, as well as locations like the Tijuana border, which has lots of potential customers waiting. —Lisa Lacy

Marketing & Advertising: Event/Experience Invention

Runners love to crush a beer after crushing a personal best. Tapping into this motivator, New Balance created the Runaway Pub to support its sponsorship of the Virgin Money London Marathon. Using a mobile app that connects with running app Strava, runners could turn their miles run into currency for free beer. “More than a pub, the Runaway became a hub for runners,” says Jason Xenopoulos, VMLY&R’s CEO, New York, and CCO, North America. “They urged for the pub to remain open after the marathon.” Over 23,000 runners logged more than 532,000 miles through the app—the equivalent of more than 20,000 marathons, or almost 63,000 pints. —Rae Ann Fera

Marketing & Advertising: Digital Transformation Invention

To make choosing paint colors (dare we say) fun, Behr Paint teamed up with IBM Watson Ads to develop AI-powered ads that helped people find their perfect color. Using natural language processing and tone analysis, the ads engaged consumers in real-time, 1:1 conversations to deliver a personalized paint color recommendation—based on things like what room they’re painting and the feeling they want for the space. The interactive ads, which were the agency’s first AI-powered campaign for the retail industry, drove a 17% increase in purchase consideration and an 8.5% lift in store visits. —Heide Palermo

Marketing & Advertising: AI Invention

New tech meets the Wild West in HBO’s Westworld: The Maze activation, where superfans are able to interact with the Western world they love in an entirely new way. Using an Alexa Voice Skill, fans can navigate the world by challenging their own fandom and recalling trivia to help them find the center of the maze. The ultimate destination was a place in viewers’ hearts long after the show’s season finale. —Nicole Ortiz

Marketing & Advertising: Product Development Invention

Everyone loves a good selfie, except dogs, who have no time for sitting still. So to help New Zealand dog parents take Insta-worthy pics with their pups—and bolster brand loyalty—Dentastix devised the Selfiestix, a captivating treat holder that attaches to phones. The accompanying app uses facial recognition that was developed with Stanford University’s canine data set to create fun dog-face filters. With a goal of getting 1 in 2 people to share their photo, the project yielded impressive results: 59% who used the app shared their photo on social. Better still: Dentastix sales grew by 21% and is now rolling out globally. —Rae Ann Fera

Marketing & Advertising: Creative Invention

What if you could cut down the time it takes to fully animate a CGI character from weeks to just one day? The Mill’s groundbreaking real-time animation system Mascot combines live rendering with motion sensors in a proprietary system that enables humans to “puppeteer” photorealistic CG characters.

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