Can Video Games Be A Spiritual Experience? Short Film “Player Two” Answers

When I came across this video on social media, it hit me right in my geeky gamer feels!

This short film, called “Player Two“, was ostensibly based on a true story.

In response to a YouTube video titled “Can Video Games Be a Spiritual Experience?”, one commenter shared the story of how he had lost his father at a young age and reconnected with his ghost via a shared video game.

Here’s the video:

As a marketer and corporate communicator, I cannot help but note that this inadvertently serves as a great ad to the Microsoft Xbox. It’s a powerful, emotional story that does a great job humanizing the brand, video gaming, as well as the technology. Not a bad achievement in just under 2 minutes!

Now, Adweek has published an interview with John Wikstrom – the filmmaker behind “Player Two”. It’s interesting to note that Microsoft – the owner of Xbox – had nothing to do with the video.

Read the full Adweek story here: Here’s the Story Behind the Moving Xbox Video That Microsoft Had No Hand in Creating.

Shell We Move? – Suumo

Image Credit: Suumo

This was making its rounds on social media – clearly, as a testament to the viral nature of project.

Suumo is the biggest real estate information agent in Japan. Suumo was looking to build brand leadership when its agency HAKUHODO Kettle Tokyo challenged the company to meet the needs of a very unusual customer – the hermit crab.

The resulting initiative was called, “Shell We Move?

The initiative was a collaborative between Suumo and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology to develop the perfect house for hermit crabs; especially since suitable seashells for hermit crab use were dwindling in Japan due to environmental degradation. The resulting solution was not only effective for the brand (increased purchase intention for the brand to 120%), it was also a useful and impactful, environmentally-friendly solution.

The alignment to the brand proposition was perfect – hermit crabs are famous for being the “masters of living,” who keep seeking the comfortable houses throughout their entire lives. Suumo was then poised to provide new comfortable houses for some of the most challenging customers in the world – and even turn them into unwitting brand advocates.

A short version of the case study (in English) can be viewed here:

A more comprehensive video case study (in Japanese, with English subtitles) is available here:

 

The Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 2016

Shell Eco Marathon 2016

I just came back from my favorite initiatives Shell has when it comes to engaging young people for the future of energy: The Shell Eco-Marathon. This is my second tour of duty for the Eco-Marathon – a unique race about going farther, not the fastest; using the least amount of fuel.

Held in Manila from 3-6 March 2016,  over 100 student teams from 16 countries across Asia, Middle East and Africa, in the Philippines, from 3-6 March 2016, at a specially designed street circuit on the city streets of Manila.

It’s a truly unique and inspiring event – I’ve met some of the most passionate and intelligent young people Asia has to offer when it comes to science, engineering, innovation and technology as they stretch the boundaries of fuel efficiency in a real world urban environment.

I was especially impressed by Team UiTM Eco-Planet, who emerged as champions of the UrbanConcept Hydrogen Fuel Cell category for the third time in a row. This year, they debuted a 3-D printed car that was assembled from 120 individually-printed parts, with each part taking approximately 10 hours to complete. They told me they only had a small, office-sized 3-D printer, which meant that they spent over 1,200 hours printing the individual parts which was later assembled together when they arrived in Manila!

The other fun bit about the Shell Eco-marathon is the Energy Zone, which allows visitors to experience activities and games that explore the future of energy, cities and sustainability.

 

It was a really fun time in the Philippines, this year. I was very proud of our Malaysian students who swept four top awards – congrats to Team UiTM Eco-Sprint and Team UiTM Eco-Planet from Universiti Teknologi MARA (“UiTM”) Shah Alam; Team Eco-Voyager from Universiti Malaya; and Team Eco-Chaser from Monash University Malaysia!

I often say, when it comes to marketing and communications, it’s better to do “more showing, less telling.” Hence, I really think this initiative showcases Shell at its very best – especially when it comes to inspiring hope and challenging minds about the future of energy and mobility. I look forward to the next iteration of the Eco-Marathon in the next year!

More pics available here.

More info:

JetBlue Wants You To Reach Across The Aisle

I really love social experiment/guerilla activation campaigns. Given today’s noise and clutter, timely activation activities are often able to tap in to the zeitgeist of the day. From there, they join the conversation – and, if particularly successful, may even “hijack” the conversation in their favor.

This one by JetBlue is really cool – and comes at a time when the US is going into its presidential elections. 150 unsuspecting passengers were given the chance to win free round-trip airfare to one of 20 domestic or international destinations served by the carrier. But … they’d get those travel certificates (worth about $300 each) only if they could decide on a single destination by unanimous vote before their six-hour flight from Boston landed in Phoenix.

So, would they “Reach Across the Aisle” and compromise as needed? Check it out:

 

Infographic: Should I Hold This Meeting?

There are few things more soul sucking in corporate life than the bane of wasteful meetings.

It’s the kind of meeting where there are just too many participants; many of whom were invited in the name of “engagement” because they were deemed as necessary stakeholders with interests. Or the kind where people show up and provide updates rather than discuss decisions that drive an agenda forward (which makes the meeting extremely vulnerable to folks who feel they need to talk to be heard, rather than having something to say).

This infographic by Elizabeth Grace Saunders, by way of Harvard Business Review, is a helpful tool that I’m going to start sending out as a response to meeting invitations I receive where I’m highly doubtful of its value.

Should I Hold This Meeting

 

Here are the steps in more detail:

  • Have I thought through this situation? When you don’t have clarity about what you’re doing on a project, it’s tempting to schedule a meeting to give you the feeling of progress. But unless the meeting’s intent is to structure the project, at this point, scheduling a meeting is an inefficient use of your time — and your colleagues’. Instead, set aside some time with yourself to do some strategic thinking. During that time you can evaluate the scope of the project, the current status, the potential milestones, and lay out a plan of action for making meaningful progress. Once you’ve completed your own strategic thinking prep work, then you can move onto the next step of considering whether to hold a meeting.
  • Do I need outside input to make progress? You may be in the situation where you know what needs to be done, and you simply need to do the work. If you find yourself in this place, don’t schedule a meeting; update your to-do list and take action instead. However, if after clarifying what needs to be done to the best of your ability, you need outside input to answer questions or give feedback before you feel comfortable jumping into action, continue on.
    Does moving forward require a real-time conversation? If you need some answers to questions, but they don’t require a two-way conversation, e-mail can be an excellent option in lieu of a meeting. This is particularly true when you’re looking for feedback on your written plans or documents. It’s much more efficient for everyone involved if you send over items that they can look at on their own (while you’re not awkwardly watching them read during an in-person meeting) and then shoot you back feedback. If you feel your situation does require a real-time conversation, then examine different communication channels.
  • Does this necessitate a face-to-face meeting? When you need two-way communication but don’t necessarily need to see the person, you have a variety of options. An online chat can help you answer questions quickly, or for more in-depth conversations, scheduling a phone call or video conference can work well. This not only saves you transition time of going to and from a meeting place, but you will more easily able to get stuff done if someone is late, instead of having to sit and wait for them to show up.
  • If in the end, you decide that you need face-to-face, in-person communication, then schedule a meeting, and think through in advance how you can make it as efficient and effective as possible. That means considering your intent for the meeting, establishing your desired outcomes, and preparing any materials that you should review or send out in advance.