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Posted by Nate Elliott on March 18, 2011
I've been talking a lot lately about how to build great digital branding programs, and it's gotten me thinking about the best ones I've ever seen. Remember the Ford Explorer home page takeover on Yahoo from years ago, that actually shook the browser window as the truck drove across the screen? (It's so old I can't even find a screen shot of it online.) Apple reprised the idea for an iPod program about 18 months ago — as have many others — but the Ford one was both more amazing (I mean, the browser shook) and one of the first that really got people talking. It was incredibly bold in its creative execution but also in its media buy (while there's nothing special about buying home page advertising on the then-biggest website, just think about the monetary bet they put on that buy! It must've cost a fortune).
The Audi program that won a Forrester Groundswell Award last year was fantastic too — using a combination of online content and social media to raise awareness of the automaker's new A1 model. Why? It gave users a customized impression of the new brand (by letting them customize the car) and it was intelligently distributed through a huge number of social channels.
But as a video zealot, I have to say that BMW Films is probably my favorite online branding effort of all time. Again it was a bold investment — and it was one of the first times a marketer had taken online creative seriously. I still don't see many marketers working hard on their digital creative; most of them just treat online ad units as a "box to be filled," to steal a phrase from SapientNitro's Malcom Poynton. And if that's all you're doing, how do you expect to create a great brand impact?
So let's hear it — what's your favorite digital branding program of all time? And more importantly — why is it your favorite? Leave your answers in the comments below.