What it takes to organise a high profile product launch

(c)iStock/Maxian

Earlier this year, Imagination was tasked with coordinating the launch of the new Land Rover Discovery.

We knew that with this quintessentially British product we had to pull out all the stops – and we did, along with the help of our team, Bear Grylls and 5,805,846 bricks of Lego.

To give you some background on the product we were launching, over six decades, Land Rover has developed into a British icon. This much-loved vehicle has come a long way since its inception as a post-war agricultural workhorse. Its latest iteration, the Discovery 5, markets Land Rover as a highly desirable and versatile premium SUV.

Family friendly: LEGO’s role

While keeping its rugged specs, the Discovery is also aimed at families. As such, we needed a dramatic concept that would demonstrate its high-grade engineering along with a family-friendly aura.

So, we chose LEGO – the ultimate engineering tool for children, after all – as our centrepiece. Tying this in with the ‘national instution’ theme, we went for a recreation of Tower Bridge and a crack team of LEGO master builders built the scale replica for us.

Once completed, this was the largest LEGO structure ever created, giving us a great media opportunity with the Guinness Book of Records.

Risk and drama: Bear Grylls and Zara Phillips

In the launch event, we also needed to include an element of risk and heightened dramatic tension; highlighting the adventurous spirit of the brand.

As such, we got Bear Grylls on board, along with Zara Phillips to both perform some spectacular stunts.

Three days of rehearsal at the deer park in Packington Estate were needed for this half-hour presentation, in conditions of complete secrecy and unpredictable weather.

The key to an effective reveal for a brand like this is creating and managing a sense of anticipation

Bear Grylls’ stunt partner, Dangerous Dave, had to rehearse a helicopter drop in a strong wind, and Zara Phillips prepared to execute a daring horse jump.

An event like this involves a host of engineers, lighting technicians, logistics experts, sound designers, graphic artists, 360 animators, medical staff and caterers. It’s my job to make sure everybody’s happy and on the same page. I have to be unflappable; I make sure we have a contingency plan for everything.

But I don’t mind admitting that on the night, as Zara launched her horse over two Land Rovers and a horse box, the audience weren’t the only ones feeling the excitement course through their veins.

Reveal finale: Sir Ben Ainslie

For the reveal finale, we had Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie on board to drive his team under a bridge through 900m deep water, towing a LEGO scale replica of the Land Rover BAR speedboat.

Stepping out, the seven-strong team demonstrated the vehicle’s versatility, and helped us nail the message of ‘Bringing it Home’ with their warm endorsement.

Such associations encourage Discovery consumers to feel they are not only ‘Buying British’ but, like the BAR team, representing their country in terms of global competition. And, in forging strong partnerships such as this, not only is inestimable value is created for a brand, but exposure in terms of earned media is vastly increased.

The key to an effective reveal for a brand like this is creating and managing a sense of anticipation. You want to create a buzz that will have maximum impact and, in this respect, timing is crucial.

One of the hardest parts of our job has been keeping a lid on social media, preventing leaks that could dilute the impact of the reveal. Inside information about a hotly anticipated car like this is catnip to a legion of trade journalists, car-fans and bloggers; in this respect, and many others, it is hard to underestimate the value of a strong sense of team spirit.

A crucial part of my job was fostering loyalty in a large crew and building the client’s trust, so that they could be confident that when the live-stream went close up on our bridge and the #DISCOVERY sign lit up, the world would take notice.

The launch was covered in a number of publications, including Auto Express, which has a host of pictures and videos from the evening.

[“source-ndtv”]

Robots Organise Your Photos, So You Can Procrastinate

Robots Organise Your Photos, So You Can Procrastinate

Robots Organise Your Photos, So You Can Procrastinate
If you’re like many people, you have thousands of photos on your phone, long forgotten after you’ve posted a few on Instagram or Facebook.

They don’t have to stay forgotten. Apple and Google are both applying a form of artificial intelligence called “machine learning” to organize your pictures and video – and along the way, help you rediscover last year’s vacation, dinner with close friends and a casual summer outing to the park.

Apple’s tools are part of last month’s iOS 10 system update for iPhones and iPads. The Google Photos app for Apple and Android devices has a digital assistant to automatically organize these memories – and Google signaled last week that it will only get smarter.

Here’s a look at how they take you down memory lane:

Apple’s memories
Apple’s new Memories feature automatically generates video highlights around a theme, such as a trip or birthday party. Individual photos and snippets from video are chosen for you, as is the music, though you can change it to reflect a different mood.

This isn’t just a slideshow. There’s slow zooming and panning, reminiscent of Ken Burns historical documentaries. Some of the photos also come to life, at least on newer iPhones that automatically take three seconds of video with every photo.

When you’re ready to share, the app creates a standard movie file – so it works on Windows and Android devices, too.

For me, Apple’s app created a “Florida to Illinois” package for a three-week trip in January and one for a day trip to Philadelphia last November. But Apple goes beyond date and location. Apple created a “Together” package for shots with family over the past two years. It also created an “At The Beach” package with beach photos since 2013. Other scenic themes could include mountains, lakes and sunsets.

Apple offers up to three new Memories a day. You can create more based on photos you add to an album and generate new automated ones by scrolling down to “Related.” You can also add or delete images within Memories – in my experience, a few included mundane screenshots I had to get rid of.

Nothing will ever replace the human touch. But let’s face it, even though I keep meaning to organize my photos, I never find the time. The machine-generated selections aren’t necessarily ones I’d choose myself, but with a small amount of tweaking, they’re presentable and will tide me over until I get around to catching up manually … someday.

Google’s Assistant
Google Photos has been at this longer and offers more types of packages. With collages, Google combines smaller versions of several shots into one layout. Animations combine a bunch of photos taken in succession so that they resemble as a moving image. Unlike typical “GIF” animation files, Google applies its magic to align successive shots, so buildings and bridges look steady – without the shake common with handheld video. Google also offers albums and video highlights, though without the Ken Burns effect.

Google’s Assistant generates much of this for you automatically. You can edit auto-generated albums and video highlights, but not collages or animation – although you can create your own from scratch. (That does defeat the purpose of letting the robots do the work, though.)
Sharing is easy and doesn’t require recipients to have Google Photos.

The results vary in quality. I tend to take several shots of the same subject, just in case some are blurry. Yet I get collages and animations out of those repetitive shots. And the albums and video highlights seem based on location and date. I got nothing that spans several months or years (though Google does combine several days on the same trip).

Most of my computer-generated creations are animations and collages. As with Apple, Google’s choices aren’t necessarily ones I’d make, if only I had the time. But some are good enough that I look forward to alerts for new ones to check out.

I also enjoyed a feature called “Rediscover this day.” Google will automatically create collages from shots taken on a day, say, two years ago. But it only does so if there’s anything memorable, such as a trip. As my life is boring, most days go by without a rediscovery.

Searching
Apple and Google are both getting better at image recognition. Apple’s version tends to be more conservative. While Apple found four photos in a search for fireworks, Google found dozens. Google also found more photos with hats, though one was actually a strange hairdo and a few were of a headband. Then again, Apple thought an illustration of a hut was a hat.

Google is also bolder with face recognition. Its technology is smart enough to recognize the same child at 2 months and 6 years, while Apple often separates the same child into multiple identities (you can merge them, and things will be fine after that).

Google has an edge over Apple in part because it taps its powerful servers to process photos. Apple leaves all the machine thinking to your device as a privacy measure. But Apple says it also favors being right more than complete to reduce the work people need to do to fix things. Being wrong can also have consequences: Google had to apologize last year after its software got too aggressive and mistakenly labeled two black people as gorillas.

Storage
To free up space, both services will automatically clear photos from your phone after uploading them to the internet, once you activate the option. You still have a lower-resolution version on the device and can get the sharper image anytime, as long as you’re online.

Google Photos offers unlimited online storage of photos at up to 16-megapixels and videos at 1080p high definition – good enough for most people. It will compress larger photos, or you can store the original and have it count toward your Google Drive limit, which starts at 15-gigabytes for free. Apple’s iCloud Photo Library requires paying once you exceed 5 gigabytes, which is enough for a few thousand photos.

Tags: Apple, Apple Memories, Google, Google Photos, Google Assistant, Apps, Artificial Intelligence, AI

[“Source-Gadgets”]