Google YouTube Localization

When Google’s Mobile Ads division wanted a YouTube channel refresh they came to TEAK and had a kickass gadget built to showcase their content for advertisers and publishers on the network, demonstrating the value and flexibility of their ad placements.

When the Google Mobile Ads team overseas wanted to do something similar in Japan, Korea and China they came to TEAK and I had a blast localizing the content. We worked with our original developer to restructure the gadget and drive as much content as possible through XML and YouTube data. While he was busy doing that I was working on content management and translations.

Using Google Docs we were able to make a spreadsheet for all 3 regions to review content and make changes in the proper character set. From there it was just a matter of populating the videos in each channel, editing the XML and pushing each region live. I’d say the major challenges on this project were time zone and the fact that I’m not fluent in any of the languages. By managing the process with flexibility and using all of the free tools Google offers for collaboration we were able to pull it off on time and on budget. Good show.


Nike Women Dance Site

The Nike Women Dance Site comprises quite a few of my favorite things: fashion, music, dancing, and of course: sneakers. The Flash experience served as a showcase for their spring Dance line, a content channel for dance workout videos and a portal to a YouTube contest inviting women in Latin America to submit videos of themselves performing a dance routine for the chance to win a trip to New York and a personal training session with Jamie King.

Capturing content for this site was one of the most rewarding agency experiences I have had. I was able to participate in the entire process: from casting through production of static and video assets through post production and prep for web. The end result was colorful, fun and very engaging – hundreds of young women submitted videos. Check out the winning video here.


Nike Corre Site

In 2008 Nike held a 10K race in nine different countries in Latin America, bringing thousands of running enthusiasts out in their Nike jerseys to compete for the best time or just have a great time running with likeminded folks. Start times and courses varied by country, but Nike required a single destination for all of the race information.

Participants accessed the site to register for the race, preview the course via a video tour and get tips on gear and training. After a brief intro/loading sequence they were taken to a country selection page. Each version of the site had the same sections, but featured custom content specific to the region. In addition to localization for Brazil in Portuguese, eight different regional versions of Spanish copy were supplied – and every bit of it needed to be maleable throughout the campaign. The site was built using Flash and all copy, video and image content was controlled via XML.

Prior to launch I facilitated localization reviews and edits. Once approvals were secured I populated the XML documents and tended to client copy change requests and reviews, allowing the development team to focus on ensuring we had a stable build and an elegant site.

The race took place on a Sunday and I worked with a single Flash Developer and Art Director on site at AKQA to upload race results and photos as soon as they were made available by the client and prepped for web use. Client image selections and top finishing times were  viewable within 30 minutes of race conclusion for all regions, and within a week all content was published, including a feature that allowed participants to look up photographs of themselves crossing the finish line.


Gap Merry Mix-It Site

When Gap approached AKQA with rough ideas for their holiday campaign, we kicked off concepting with the following information:

– We were to receive several raw video assets featuring a variety of talents like Jon Heder, Janelle Monae, Trey Songz, Jason Biggs and Sandra Bernhard.

– While some of the talent performed in groups, there would be no single clip that featured everyone at once.

– The goal of the campaign site (aside from driving attention to their new holiday gear) was to allow users to create videos that featured any and all possible combinations of talent, customize their video and send it to a friend – complete with an end card displaying the user’s name.

The creative and development teams tackled this with gusto – the speed at which this project moved was amazing and we were required to move both tracks simultaneously to meet our live date. Many late nights that segued to early mornings ensued, and when we flipped the switch there was applause all around.

After a day of rest and monitoring we performed some traffic analysis and optimized the way in which video was served to ensure that users with less bandwidth got more compressed files. We also decided that rather than composing on the fly we would render every possible output in advance, allowing for more immediate user gratification.

MINI Cooper iPhone App

I stepped in as the producer for Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners’ MINI Link iPhone app at the beginning of the development process. The application is very robust due to the business requirement that we include account management and content moderation tools as part of the deliverable.

It isn’t difficult to get MINI drivers to engage – they are a passionate lot and they aren’t afraid to express their love of the brand. BSSP’s iPhone app allowed users to create profiles, customize their dream MINI and interact with other MINI drivers without even touching the phone by setting up an Auto Wave feature to send an automatic “Aloha” or “Rock On” to other MINI fans in the area.

To make things even more interesting the creative team added the ability to drop temporary “Breadcrumbs” to point out speed traps, cheap gas and bad traffic as well as designate “Hot Spots” for late night food, good music and the twisty roads that MINI lovers can’t help but visit again and again.

Sony PS3 MSN Takeover

For the Sony PS3 Latin America banner campaign Conill had a great idea for melding video footage and homepage content to make a truly surprising rich media ad. Working with TEAK, I was able to take part in all aspects of the campaign – from pre-production through video and post production into development through handoff to Mediamind for trafficking.

One of the most exhilarating parts of this project was being on set for the shoot. We worked with a crew that was able to composite the video on the fly so that we could all see what the takeover would look like on the web as we were filming. That definitely added to the quality of the end product: a video composited from 3 different clips to play seamlessly and get the campaign’s point across:


Beatles Rockband Xbox Experience

This site is one of my all-time favorites, produced while I was with AKQA. It’s a beautiful and unique experience. Because it was built for Xbox, Microsoft required it be developed in Silverlight – this posed a welcome challenge for the development team, who knocked it out of the park.

Our creative group received most of the raw assets from the gorgeous cinematic produced by Harmonix and Passion Pictures and did a fantastic job of turning them into a user-controlled web experience with lots of cool little easter eggs and fun interactions. Click the Rainbow Strawberry for a psychedelic experience, mouse over the stars to play a few notes of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,  or click Rita the Meter Maid for a bit of trivia on the song’s origin.

You can check it out here. To view the site you’ll need to install Microsoft’s Silverlight plugin.

Rooftop Party Palace

For this project I collaborated with my genius architect friend Samee Sheikh to build a party montage on his rooftop, which has excellent views. DJs, Party Fouls and Celebrities were all documented. More of these elaborate setups to come, I’m working on ways to blend this hobby with web, mobile and immersive experience production.

Google Chrome Beta Site

Another favorite of mine is the Google Chrome site, built by TEAK to recruit new beta testers for the Chrome Notebook.

One huge selling point of the Chrome Notebook is the persistence of data and state – you can literally toss your computer in the garbage, buy another one, log in and pick up where you left off. How best to illustrate that? Destroy a load of Chrome computers in interesting ways (insert maniacal laughter). We shot all of the video in November – 2 of the shoot days were pure destruction, super loud and VERY cool. We partnered with demolition experts and used folks from TEAK and Google as extras.

Technically, one of the coolest things about this site is the content management system that ties keywords to videos and chatbot responses, editable on the fly and absolutely user friendly. The site launched on Google’s servers over the last 2 weeks of December. All I asked for from Santa was approval for this bad boy to go live.

It did, and it was quite successful. It even prompted the question: will it blend?