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Throwback Thursday: Cardboard…Packaging an Experience

MARKETING - TBT - Cardboard_NO TEXT-2Today, Volvo announced that they will be using Google Cardboard as part of their new vehicle launch campaign (https://www.media.volvocars.com/us/en-us/media/pressreleases/154381/volvo-is-first-automotive-brand-to-use-google-cardboard).

Regardless of the specific Volvo implementation, we see this as great news. It has the potential to take a “connected experience” to the masses. The campaign has some room to grow, of course. Some ideas that may “spawn” from it may be:

  • Personalize the test drive – Allow for brand advocates to upload photospheres to be used as the background of the test drive. Can you imagine getting in your new, yet to be released vehicle, in your driveway or at your favorite vacation spot?
  • Distribute Cardboard – Still too expensive for mass mailing, I would have loved to see the campaign include a distribution of cardboard to some of the early adopters in the brand’s CRM network. At the end of the virtual test drive, a real drive could be scheduled.

So how can this fresh, new campaign be “throwback”? It reminds us of 2 things:

  • 3 months ago – While working on a similar client Proof of Concept, we were using cardboard at a breakfast table in Detroit. We were blown away at the reaction from everyone in the place. While we were enjoying chicken and waffles, patrons, parking attendants, and passersby stopped one after another to understand “why are you holding that box to your face?” “What are you seeing?”.   One after another, we realized the brilliance of cardboard as a marketing tool. Shiny plastic or metal devices look technological and often are cold and uninviting. Brown cardboard is so common, it is inviting. Imagine the point-to-point marketing that brands like Volvo will experience, especially if we had 15 people ask us about the product, in a single morning, in a single location.
  • 24 months ago – The connected consumer brings so much technology already with them. In the course we teach at Oakland University (“Competing in the Connected World”), we teach students that the connected world is enabled by many trends, one of which is that consumers carry connectivity (and computing power and data storage) in their pockets. MANY connected experiences can occur by connecting to these smart devices, even if it is only a few pieces of cardboard, plastic, and a magnet.

Where will cardboard take us? Hopefully this “throwback” will spawn even more ideas.   Tell us what you think!

Enterprise innovation leaders and entrepreneurs recognize that some of the best ideas are created as derivatives of other ideas. We refer to this as “Idea Spawning”.   Similar to upstarts “pivoting” several times prior to locking in on an offering or business model that the market can appreciate, ideas often need refinement to find their real value.

It is the concept of Idea Spawning that has encouraged us to launch a sporadic “Throw-back Thursday” campaign. We highlight ideas that have been derived from old concepts. Some of these will be our own ideas that we have previously shared in publications, journals, webinars/conferences, whitepapers, or our blog (available at https://www.cgsadvisors.com/) . Other ideas will be from outside sources that we feel need to get attention.