Home  › Marketing › Strategies

SXSW 2013: Talking Shoes and Road Trip Smileage With Google

  |  March 18, 2013   |  Comments

Google unveils talking shoes and Volkswagen Smileage app at this year's SXSW.

It was such a crazy week at South by Southwest (SXSW) last week, that it's taken a while to share all the exciting creativity stories that took place. One that stood out was Google's "talking shoe." That's right, you heard it correctly - the search giant unveiled an early prototype of motion-sensing smart shoes. With an embedded speaker on the tongue, the shoe is able to shout at you when you're being lazy, or motivate you when you're being active.


Google created its talking shoes in collaboration with Adidas, YesYesNo, and advertising agency 72andSunny. According to Mike Glaser, marketing lead from Art, Copy & Code at Google, the aim of the shoes is to bring the idea of advertising to multiple creative forms, including the everyday objects around us. By connecting a pair of sneakers to the web, Google is able to create unique opportunities between physical objects in the real world and digital ad spaces, he says.

"Every move the wearer of the shoes makes generates data that's captured using an accelerometer, gyroscope, and pressure sensors. That data then gets pushed to an app on a mobile, and translated in real time into funny and motivating commentary. That commentary then gets pushed to banners and social media networks, including status updates to Google+," Glaser explains.

Though the talking shoes seem like they could be the next coolest "must- haves" on the market, Glaser notes that they are merely for show and will not be released. Bummer!

The shoes were part of the Google Playground at SXSW, where the company was showing off some of its latest ideas and innovations from the Art, Copy & Code project.


Another campaign that was unveiled at the playground was the Volkswagen Smileage app, showcased under the slogan, "It's not the miles, it's how you live them." The app, in partnership with automobile brand Volkswagen, aims to add fun to every drive, from daily commutes to holiday road trips.

Using a metric called "smileage," the app will measure the fun factor of each trip based on signals like weather, traffic, location, time, and social interactions. It will be able to be used with any car, not just Volkswagens.

"We wanted to work with Volkswagen on this because they are a leader in the automobile space and bring brand awareness. In turn, we bring them technology so it's a win for everybody...We wanted to create a fun and cool experience on an app that's away from the usual dashboard. Again, it exemplifies the ability of connecting objects in the physical world into the digital world," Glaser comments.

Powered by the new Google+ Sign-In, drivers can choose to share Smileage experiences with friends and family. For example, during a road trip, photos and videos taken by you and your co-passengers can be automatically added to a live interactive map.

Volkswagen's Smileage is hoped to be released later this year.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!


Melanie White

Melanie White is the Editor of ClickZ, where she has worked since July 2012. White has been with Incisive Media (ClickZ's parent company) since 2009 where she was Deputy Editor/ US Editor for one of the financial risk management titles, International Custody and Fund Administration (later Custody Risk).

In addition, White worked on FX Week where she was a Senior Reporter. She has also worked and contributed to a number of other titles, including The Accountant, International Accounting Bulletin, the New York Post, Independent Magazine (UK), as well as the broadcast title Sunday Live with Adam Boulton at Sky News.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.



    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...