Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Article sourced from this week's Contagious Newsletter.

Now this may sound like a slightly unlikely scenario, but just in case you ever find yourself with $20k in loose change burning a hole in your pocket, then we suggest you get yourself over to Shibuya Station in Tokyo, where Smart has set up a giant vehicle vending machine...

Ok, so this doesn't actually dispense cars, but it does pop-out small canisters containing brochures for the cars along with sheets of stickers showing the various colour options. Also, as we would expect for the highly connected Japanese market, the literature directs users to the Smart website,, not via a written URL, but via a QR code, which when photographed with a mobile phone camera, links through to the digital portal.

Once on the website, visitors can then 'play smart' - an addictive application which allows you create your own smart car with a variety of funky paint jobs and graphics, before racing it around a series of 3D circuits. As you progress through the levels, your interactivity is rewarded with more customisable options for your car.

Once you are satisfied with your level of 'pimp', you can then submit your design along with a user name and in doing so, add your creation to the colourful swarm of Smart Cars on the home page. However (and this is where it gets really good), to finish things off, you can then print out a colour net of your vehicle, to construct a proper miniature 3D model!

Smart has clearly identified its audience with this delightful integrated assault on the Japanese market. The vending machine and use of QR codes pander nicely to the desire for instant gratification, whilst the online gaming function will no-doubt be welcomed with tech-savvy, Japanese arms. Round this off with an cute, low-fi way to turn your digital design into a real-world reward and we'd say it's a winner!



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