Virgin Mobile have recently launched the final piece of their ‘Retrain Your Brain’ campaign in which the company claims to save you money by switching to their network.

The piece, named ‘Blinkwashing’ works by having a user view their video with an active webcam watching them. When they blink, the video ‘switches’ to another video and continues with synchronised audio message, accompanied by a set of different visuals.

Don’t believe us? Try it yourself!

Jarrad CollingsWe sat down with REBORN’s Creative Director, Jarrad Collings to discuss his thoughts on the campaign.

You seem really impressed by the campaign, could you tell us more about it?

The core messaging is quite mundane and boring. It mostly informs the viewer about the specs of the service plan, network, speed etc. This is why the campaign is so interesting. They’ve concentrated on a gesture, blinking as the form of interactivity, allowing the user to control the way that the campaign actually works.

They’ve created a bunch of interesting and pop culture scenarios, placed the script over them, and communicated their message from within that unique scenario. It makes it exciting for the user to watch. The beauty of this idea is that the user can control and feed their hunger to be entertained.

What are your thoughts on using this type of technology to communicate content?

The technology needs to be there to serve a purpose – facilitate the interaction or help convey the messaging of the piece of advertisement or messaging. In this case it enhances it, rather than over complicating it.

The technology needs to be user friendly, and really simple. To simply blink and move through the messaging, I think is a really smart way of interacting with the campaign. There is another message in there in regards to blinking, it’s about switching. They’re talking about switching to another video but I think the underlying message is to switch to Virgin Mobile as well.


What are the limitations you see to this type of campaign?

The major limitation with this execution is fundamentally the technology – you need a webcam. However it’s an American based campaign so I would imagine using a webcam for video chat and video conferencing is pretty common place.

Another limitation is that people need to understand that you need to blink to move through the campaign. So maybe people who aren’t as digital savvy may not understand that. All in all I think these are probably the two biggest limitations in the way it has been executed.

Many observers have stated that the campaign is ineffective due to the fact that users are too consumed with the interactive element and miss the campaigns message, what are your thoughts?

That is one way of looking at it. With thousands of messages bombarding us every single day brands need to be smarter in how they are communicating. Online users are in complete control, so to pull them away for 2-5 minutes to tell them your message you need to create and execute something that warrants the users investment. I think more and more advertisers need to do something different like this.

We need to stop making generic ads and start making pieces of communication that tell interesting stories which entertain. This is what the Virgin campaign sets out to do. They have one single minded message but have layered it with different situations to give the campaign a series of different compelling stories.

Blinkwashing Shot

These types of campaigns make the audiences laugh, smile or cry, they usually generate an emotional reaction. If it is different, then it will most likely be newsworthy, the user will naturally want to share it with their friends. That act of sharing amongst friends is important as it creates a significant amount of earned media. In my opinion, the best type of media is something recommended by a friend.

Jarrad Collings is a ‘Contradiction’ and the Creative Director at REBORN.