It’s easier to have a slogan that promotes ‘Building a Smarter Planet’ than to actually do it. However, in an attempt to live up to their slogan, IBM turned to one of the largely untapped idea pools: children.
IBM asked kids, who tend to be more uninhibited and imaginative in a way many adults have lost, to help them come up with innovative ways to build a ‘Smarter Planet.’ Starting in the Netherlands, where IBM has a very limited communications budget, and that’s exactly what they did.
Out of the many ideas the Dutch children had to offer, IBM–with the help of Ogilvy and Mather, picked one to implement as an experiment. The problem the child saw was that many cars do not stop at the crosswalks, so the solution was simply to make them more visible, and hopefully safer for pedestrians.
On one of the busiest streets in Rotterdam, IBM installed a crossing that lit-up when someone stepped on it to cross. This way the crossway and pedestrians would be more visible to drivers, especially at night. Plus, it appears the light had the additional effect of acting as a kind of yield sign for drivers.
The cross walk definitely got the public’s attention. With a billboard about the child’s idea posted in combination with the lit-up crosswalk, a clearly innovative message was conveyed about changing the way you think and ‘Building a Smarter Planet.’
Check out the video of the project below: