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6 companies that got creative with Google Maps

4 Mins

1. Nissan’s detour

In February 2014, Nissan launched a virtual driving adventure in support of their all-new Rogue compact SUV.

The company found that new car buyers now spend twice as much time researching their purchases online than at dealerships.

“There’s more clicking than kicking the tires, so to speak”, said Jon Brancheau, vice president of Nissan’s marketing communications and media. “So we decided to bring the two together with an informative and enjoyable test drive in buyers’ own neighbourhoods.”

Digital agency Critical Mass’s executive creative director Steve Savic went on to say that they “couldn’t shoot the car on every road in the world, so we turned to Google Street View to give us our set. Working on ‘The Detour‘ was like creating an action scene on the most unconventional location ever.” 

They even included a few digital effects.

You pick your own point A and B, and as your requested road trip progresses, a soundtrack thumps in the background starting with the song ‘Y.A.L.A.’ – courtesy of M.I.A.

2. The search for red M&M

The award-winning ‘Find-Red’ campaign may have started as a bid to increase social media interaction in Canada, but ended up being an international success.

Using Google street view, Mars created a virtual treasure hunt where you had to scour the streets of Toronto and find hidden red cardboard M&Ms in the front window of people’s houses.

“The first thought I had when I saw Google street view was ‘this is an amazing immersive unique awesome experience’”, said Rene Rouleau, former creative director at BBDO Proximity Canada, at a Mesh Marketing conference in Toronto. 

The second, he said was: “How can I exploit the hell out of this for advertising purposes?”

“Everything had to be approved by the legal team at Google, but Google Street View is an open source tool,” explained Priyanka Goswami, vice-president and group account director at Proximity. “As long as we followed their terms and conditions, it was OK to do what we were doing.”

The campaign covered over 630 square kilometres and spanned four weeks in November 2010, with a chance to win a red Smart car.

3. ‘Don’t go Zombie’ campaign

This could possibly be seen as the world’s first Google street view zombie shooter!

A 2010 survey recognised that driving Brits were prone to “road rages, traffic terrors and steering wheel stress”. So the point of the game was to highlight how your daily commute could easily turn you into a zombie. If you don’t want to go zombie, then you better get yourself shot in the head by a ticket inspector.

Courtesy of Virgin Trains, your Facebook profile picture appeared in the game. And you were armed with a ticket gun which could ‘humanise’ zombies and magically transport them onto a Virgin train.

Furthermore, some of the zombies were well-known celebrities, including Sir Richard Branson himself.

Each month, the highest scoring players entered a draw to win first class travel.

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