Google Takes 4 Classic Ads and Reimagines Them for the Web

Original creatives take part in Project Re: Brief

Through an initiative called Project Re: Brief, Google is updating four classic ad campaigns, enlisting agency folks who created the original work and adding interactive and social elements via cutting-edge technology. First up are Coca-Cola's "Hilltop" from 1971 and Volvo's "Drive It Like You Hate It" from 1962, with creatives Harvey Gabor and Emil Gargano helping to guide the respective reboots. (Still to come: Avis's "We Try Harder," with Paula Green taking part, and Alka-Seltzer's "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing," with input from Howie Cohen and Bob Pasqualina.) Rather than remaking the Coke and Volvo ads, their themes, ideas and imagery become launching points for immersive new-media experiences. Volvo introduces us to Irv Gordon, an average Joe with nearly 3 million miles on his 1966 P1800S coupe. Users can relive his travels and join him in real time as he adds mileage. Sorry, but I'd tag this one a lemon, because Irv's adventures are strictly middle of the road. Surely after so much wear and tear for mundanities like dinner dates and weekend excursions in the country, the car, if it could, would moan "Kill me!" each time this guy put his key in the ignition. (The suggestion that we "connect with Irv via his Google+ page" is notable—some would say laughable—for its sheer lack of irony.) Coca-Cola goes the global feel-good route with a setup that lets users buy Cokes for people in spots around the world, delivered via a few Jetsons-style vending machines. (The '71 spot's famous jingle equated buying the world a Coke with creating "perfect harmony.") You can add a note, watch clips of recipients enjoying their free Cokes and use Google Earth to follow the soda on its "journey." Tech blog Gizmodo glibly suggests trying to slip naughty messages past the censors and describes the entire affair as an effort to "turn skinny foreigners into American-style fatties," though Google and Coke would no doubt emphasize largesse over largeness. Despite cool bells and whistles, Re: Brief plays like a high-tech time-suck, a nostalgia-tinged display of digital commercialism that proves we haven't come such a long way after all, baby. See the original Coke and Volvo ads, and their reboots, after the jump.

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