Project Isaac: Celebrating the Digital Winners

Adweek Project Isaac Awards were conceived to cast a celebratory light on invention across all of Adweek’s areas of coverage. Nominations were accepted across 35 categories, divided into four brackets: Advertising & Marketing, Media, Digital and Best Practices. An independent panel of jurors judged the submissions in two rounds. The Media category included invention-based submissions in: Editorial, Local media, Magazine publishing, Media buying, Media planning, Newspaper. Out-of-Home Media, Product development, Radio, Sports marketing, Sports programming and Video/TV invention.



App Development

Gold: The Nike SB app, R/GA N.Y.
Anyone who’s tried can tell you it’s not easy learning the extreme tricks of modern skateboarders. To help minimize the road rash and dislocated wrists, Nike and agency R/GA tapped a host of skating legends to help create a taxonomy of skateboard moves and tricks, forming it into an app called Nike SB. The app lets skaters watch the moves from multiple angles (speeding up or slowing down based on the angle of their phone), connect with their peers and pro riders, progress in their sport and post videos as they build their skating portfolio. So what’s next—a Nike-branded board?

Silver: Beats Music R/GA N.Y.
Bronze: Felt app, Humanaut Chattanooga



Gold: The Nike SB app, R/GA N.Y.
Silver: The Human CAPTCHA, Microsoft, Starcom Mediavest Group. 
Bronze: Google Glass Everyware, Isobar US


Product Development

Gold: Google Talking Shoe, 72andSunny L.A.
In an unusual bid to inspire the ad industry to push the limits of digital advertising, Google and Los Angeles shop 72andSunny created the Talking Shoe by hacking a pair of sneakers and connecting it to the Web. A dozen sensors gather the data from the shoe’s movement, then send it via Bluetooth to an Android app with a voice-enabled translator equipped with three distinct voices: a hipster, a trash talker and a bon vivant. The prototype debuted at SXSW, and though it’s not anywhere near mass production, the shoe is touring the creative community to showcase a new form of storytelling. 

Silver: Flip It, Finch
Bronze: Beats Music R/GA N.Y.



Gold: Jay Z Magna Carta, R/GA N.Y.
For the release of his album Magna Carta Holy Grail, hip-hop star Jay-Z partnered with Samsung to get fans engaged via social media—and to shake up the music business. Through a mobile app built by R/GA, a million copies of the album were distributed free to Samsung Galaxy users three days before it was released to the general public. When users shared redacted lyrics on social platforms, the lyrics became unredacted before the music was formally released. The free app was also stuffed with behind-the-scenes video content of Jay-Z and his collaborators in the studio. The recording industry ended up changing its rules on counting sales as a result of the tactic.

Silver: TeleContext Broadcast System, R/GA, Chicago
Bronze: Quietest Show on Earth, McCann N.Y. 



Gold: Flip It, Finch
As more consumers play increasingly sophisticated games on their mobile devices, there’s a need for improved controls. Enter Flip It, a rubberized case for smartphones and tablets that, when flipped over, has built-in capacitive touch buttons for a more tactile experience. Punch a Flip It case number into the game (if it participates with Flip It), and the controls move into the right spot on the device. The marketer, Australian production company Finch, is targeting kids. But there’s also ripe opportunity for licensing partners to brand their own editions of the case.


Silver: No award given
Bronze: No award given



Gold: The Connective, Condé Nast N.Y.
Who better to explain the Internet of Things than Wired, which has been around ever since the masses began using the medium? The Connective is a branded content version of the magazine in tablet form, sponsored by Cisco and featuring crowdsourced content and data curated by Wired editors. Downloaded alongside an issue of Wired, The Connective racked up some impressive stats for a tablet magazine, scoring 62,000 unique visitors and 141,000 visits. What’s more, 73 percent of readers accessed The Connective more than once. And users spent nearly 12 minutes with the issue on average and an average of two minutes with its ads.

Silver: No award given
Bronze: No award given


Ad Tech

Gold: The Human CAPTCHA, Microsoft, Starcom Mediavest Group
No one likes having to decipher cryptic letters and numbers just to complete a transaction on the Web. So Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, with the help of media agency Starcom MediaVest Group, changed the “captcha” experience (at least on touch-enabled devices) by letting IE users swipe the browser’s logo into a Captcha box. No more wavy “FRLZAPP 12BLAPS” lines to decipher and then input. IE enjoyed a 128 percent lift in consumers’ belief it was the “perfect” browser for touch devices. More importantly, captcha rates increased by 25 percent.

Silver: No award given
Bronze: No award given


Web Video

Gold: Chrysler 200, SapientNitro Miami Beach
The Super Bowl brings some fierce competition—competition for viewers of ads, that is. Chrysler and SapientNitro went on the offensive for the automaker’s 200 model in an ad featuring Bob Dylan by building a custom YouTube video player offering six distinct buckets of exclusive content in order to maximize YouTube views—but all counted under the same tally. On the Monday after the Super Bowl, the campaign grew traffic to by 1,200 percent. Across the next two weeks, the Dylan ad snagged 9.7 million YouTube views.

Silver: No award given
Bronze: No award given


Check out more Project Isaac winners