The Webby for Good, produced in partnership with WP Engine, is a showcase of Webby-honored projects and campaigns that are promoting social good in the world.
Describe your project. What is it, what was the elevator pitch?
Part interactive sculpture, part educational tool, Graham shows us how humans would need to change to survive a car crash. Over several months a trauma surgeon and a road safety engineer collaborated with a world-renowned artist using decades of road safety data, medical research and creativity to deliver a reimagined human form based on evidence.community.
What key challenges did you face with this project? And how did you overcome them?
There were many challenges, but creating the augmented reality aspect of Graham was especially difficult. Normally an AR experience on 3D objects requires visual tags, an impossibility as Graham is fine art. So instead we used Tango, Google’s new augmented reality technology, to map the entire room, then spatially plotted the hot spots on him. While Tango was never meant to be used in this way, ultimately it was the only answer to this problem. Needless to say we were very, very relieved when it worked. The immersive experience became an important tool to educate future drivers as Graham was integrated into the school curriculum. One main problem was that people who see Graham online or in meme form may not even know that he is an interactive experience. Visitors can use Tango, Google’s new augmented reality technology, to go beneath his skin and better understand his anatomy.
What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project?
Working with world renowned artist Patricia Piccinini was certainly a highlight, but the most rewarding aspect by far was seeing the world react to Graham. To see him enter pop culture, to become a meme and to go viral the way he did went beyond anything any of us expected. He really did transcend advertising and had a life of his own, just like a real human.
When working on this project, what were some of the most important conversations you had with your team?
The most important conversations we had were about letting go and giving clever people the space do their thing. Normally advertising people are control freaks. With Graham we knew we had people that were far more talented than us working on the project, so we had to fight our natural instincts and just let them go for it.
What did you learn from working on this project that you didn't know going into it? Did anything come out of it that surprised you, or that you weren't expecting?
We certainly learnt a lot about the human body, impact force and fine art. But the biggest lesson out of this project is that the combination of those elements—art, science and humanity—is more powerful than any one alone.
Best, most innovative and effective or creative use of PR to promote a cause related campaign.