It is often said in business circles that half of advertising is completely useless – we just don’t know which half. Many companies spend on advertising because they feel they have to, but do not often know whether their efforts are working or not. And with degrees of trust in advertisers as low as 25% in Europe, it is safe to say that most are not doing very well. New technologies and platforms appear at an ever-increasing pace, but surprisingly little has changed in this respect - Bill- boards, TV, print and radio are now accompanied by banner-ads and pop-ups, but the fact remains, they are all being mostly ignored and largely mistrusted. In light of these facts, a group of ten students from three countries was given a less-than simple task by Finnish mobile gaming and entertainment company Rovio: “Revolutionize online advertising". A decisive direction towards an end-result was yet to be found, but four potential key factors for our solution’s success were identified: Enhanced Experience, Trust, Social Interaction and Pull. The winter quarter started out with exploring these directions, and the three country-teams diverged into separate focus-areas. These deep dives resulted in radically different “Dark Horse” prototypes that examined channeling consumer experiences, augmented real- ity and unconventional advertising methods. Testing concluded that each of these prototypes had its merits, but ultimately, the use of consumer experiences proved the most interesting of all. A total of six prototypes were then constructed and tested, which looked at how the communication link between company and consumer could be improved. The whole team then
met in Japan and established a vision for the final prototype: harnessing people’s actual experiences as the most authentic and impactful kind of advertising. The spring term was all about making this vision a reality. This was no easy task, since using user-gen- erated content for the mutual benefit of people and brands can be seen as one of marketing’s Holy Grails; many have tried and failed to achieve it. We bench- marked relevant success and failure cases, analyzed the foundations of storytelling and came up first with over 30 concepts. We then chose six of the most potential to develop and prototype further. The final choice of the exact concept was perhaps the most challenging of the whole year, as all six had merit and potential. However, after considerable evaluating and analysis we agreed on it; a concept that would some weeks later be christened Pulse. Pulse is a system for collaboratively creating, experiencing and capturing events; a tool for matching people and brands in a way that is unique every time. It is a mobile and browser application that makes it possible for any group of people to create an event simply by taking a picture. And not just any event, but a Pulse-Event. These events capture all the pictures taken at them in real-time, and show up on a “Heat Map” to attract other event-goers. And what’s more, each event has a sponsor – a brand that helps users in enjoying their event experiences with something called Smart Content. In this way, brands become part of our experiences not by interrupting them, but by actually improving them. For brands, it is a completely new kind of tool for brand- building and advertising. For Rovio, it fits naturally in their vision of being a powerful media channel, and a provider of entertainment in all its forms.