Client – Verizon

Markets – USA

Timing – September 2014

Agencies/Vendors – Mcgarrybowen, Influxis, Civic Entertainment, First2Print, Newcast (ZenithOptimedia)

Tech Word Cloud – social listening technology, real-time data analysis, engagement, social innovation, direct-to-fabric printing

Verizon used trending conversations on Twitter to make the first ever fabric design by social media in real-time.

BACKGROUND

Verizon needed to find a way to combat low brand affinity and attachment among millennials. They decided to become a key sponsor of the backstage experience at Fashion Rocks, which included a live-stream for fans at home to gain extra access. Verizon wanted to find a relevant way to engage in the conversation and to be part of the shared cultural moment with fans.

THE IDEA

While the Fashion Rocks event unfolded onstage, Verizon made history with the creation of Social Imprint, a textile fabric designed by social media in real time. The diverse team collaborated to create complex algorithms that monitored over 12 million tweets and categorized handles and hashtags into music and fashion categories. Each category was assigned a corresponding pattern or color and, every thirty seconds, the top trending topics were selected to create a row in the pattern, which a printer processed and then printed the fabric in real time. Fans were able to see how their tweets influenced the final design on thesocialimprint.com. Finally, after the event, Verizon collaborated with a Fashion Week Designer to create a dress and cape made from the #socialimprint fabric.

THE TECHNOLOGY

To execute this complex campaign, Verizon created a custom real-time server application based on Facebook’s Tornado library and employed the Twitter streaming API to create virtual elections based on hashtag usage. The data was then sent via Websockets to live data visualizations that were displayed on-set in the backstage interview area of Fashion Rocks. The server was able to turn each election into an image that was formatted for a direct-to-fabric printer and put into the printer’s queue.

THE PROCESS

The campaign was conceptualized and executed on a short timeline, with only twenty days from concept development to execution. Lead agency, Mcgarrybowen, had to integrated APIs, multiple media formats and scalability while simultaneously fleshing out the creative look and feel of the campaign. The technology had to allow for real-time data analysis, so they chose Python as the language of the server, which allowed them to start sampling Twitter data to see how “elections” would work both functionally and aesthetically. Once the core pieces of the campaign were set up, they worked with several technology and event partners, including Influxis, Civic Entertainment, First2Print, and Newcast to bring the event to life.

THE RESULTS

The campaign generated 173 million earned impressions, 118 million social media impressions, and 37 million digital paid impressions, as well as 15 thousand Social Imprint page views on Verizon’s online property. The Fashion Rocks-owned livestream saw 34 thousand views. Overall, the campaign saw 23% brand attribution and 100% positive or neutral conversation.