The Spot: Google’s Gyroscope

Venables Bell takes Google Maps on its own fanciful voyage from virtual 2-D interface to giant 3-D cube

GENESIS: Google Maps can do more than find a location or get you from A to B. The mobile app has bus maps, live traffic updates and GPS navigation. It can show your real-time movements at street level (whether or not you have GPS) and even find your friends and lead you to them. For their first project together, Google asked Venables Bell & Partners to show off these features in a video that would be, in classic Google ad style, not just informative but captivating. Since Google Maps is all about navigating the real world, the agency decided to bring the app out of the virtual realm as well. "We wanted to do something tactile, something practical and artful," said agency executive creative director Will McGinness. They thought of using magnets to have a blue ball (like the one in the app) move around a tiny handmade city or track. 1stAveMachine directors Aaron Duffy and Bob Partington expanded on that idea. They conceived and built a giant cube with a little New York City spread out on all sides, anchored it inside a gyroscope, and filmed themselves tilting it this way and that, sending the ball on a trip around town, where it eventually meets up with friends at a bowling alley.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.