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Creative connections are the answer in these uncertain times

by Jonathan Harrop

22 June 2020 18:31pm

By Kyle Bañuelos, Co-founder and CEO, dotdotdash

Let’s not beat around the bush, marketing is at a crossroads as brands and agencies strategize empathetic and creative ways to connect with customers during this global pandemic. But brands who stop all marketing often suffer in the long term by not preparing to jump back in quickly enough when the restrictions start to ease.

Luckily, we live in a moment when connections matter more than ever and the platforms and technologies supporting our bonds are more varied and abundant than ever before.

At dotdotdash, we are maintaining an experience-design lens, focused on ways to leverage niche yet proven platforms and technologies to drive meaningful connections during this time of social isolation.

Before the pandemic, experiential served as the primary answer to consumer’s preference for experience-driven advertising over direct messaging and consumption. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep in mind that all media channels have become increasingly participatory and offer innovative, interactive opportunities.

While physical, interactive installations in real life are on pause for the foreseeable future, there are ways to drive interactivity and contribution remotely from things like a mobile or web interface.

For example, the #XOXO initiative is a web platform we built where users can play a live game on the internet against another human. Through this, we’re exploring and pushing paradigms of social connection online, paired with remote engagement and control of physical elements. Player Tic-Tac-Toe moves from the website interface are live-streamed via Twitch and remotely executed by an industrial robot who keeps score from our Portland studio.

#XOXO aims to bring a bit of joy to those sitting at home on their computers as well as offer relief to the creative community, namely independent creators whose work opportunities have been affected by COVID-19. Proceeds from #XOXO will be donated to The Freelance-Co-Op COVID-19 Emergency Fund, with AdColony matching charitable donations.

AdColony’s support of #XOXO is just another example of its continued efforts toward innovation, technology and creativity surrounding digital engagement. “Partnering with dotdotdash on #XOXO represents an amazing opportunity to encourage social connection during a time of separation, while also supporting an important charitable initiative,” said AdColony’s SVP of Strategy & Business Development, Matt Barash.

In uncertain times, creativity can and must breakthrough. Not only will we utilize this opportunity as an industry to collaborate for the betterment of our peers, but we will continue to challenge each other and innovate how users engage with content, digital devices and most importantly, each other.