Cannes Lions

THE TALKING SHOE

72ANDSUNNY, Los Angeles / GOOGLE / 2013

Case Film
Case Film

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Execution

The Talking Shoe was created to inspire clients and agencies to think differently about the role of technology in brand storytelling. It exists to educate and to spark other ideas around how connected objects can be used in advertising campaigns.

The system is built mostly from off the shelf components, but the specific technical solution was created specifically for this project. Accelerometers and pressure sensors in the shoe are controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. Data is transferred via Bluetooth to the Android app, where it is processed and run through a PHP script to translate it for posting to banners and Google+. All of the things that the shoe “says” were written by agency copywriters according to certain activity triggers, so its personality stays consistent throughout the experience.

Web Output:

Shoe sensors > Arduino microcontroller > Bluetooth > Android > Web (banners / Google+ profile feed / artcopycode.com)

Audio Output:

Shoe sensor > Arduino microcontroller > SD Card > Speaker

The agency created the concept and built the banner where the shoe’s feed was broadcast in real-time.

The system continues to be developed with future updates planned.

Outcome

The next phase of development will feature two shoes that can network with each other. The master shoe will broadcast the sensor data from both shoes via Bluetooth to an Android app that will process the data and output it back to the shoe and to the web. Using two shoes and processing the info on the application will allow for a more robust experience. Additionally, the shoes will feature additional sensors, making it possible to introduce new activity triggers and more chatter.

Several major footwear brands have expressed interest in the technology and conversations are ongoing.

The Talking Shoe served as an example of how a common inanimate object could become a funny, engaging storyteller. We hope it inspires a wave of other connected objects that tell brand stories.

The project was covered by major international news organizations, tech bloggers, the business and advertising media, and cultural influencers like Conan O’Brien and David Letterman. It was also talked about by celebrities like Shaquille O’Neal and Pee-wee Herman.

Over the course of one week at SXSW, with no paid media, the Talking Shoe sparked the conversation about how technology is re-imagining how brands and advertisers engage their audiences.

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