Helping The Guardian & Cisco to win 2 content awards

the Story

There are more than 15 billion connected devices in the world. But according to Cisco’s numbers, that’s less than 1% of all the things that could be.

The Guardian and Cisco wanted to help technophiles and luddites alike discover just how far connected technology has come, and where it's heading. But how do you capture imaginations with the Internet of Things when attention spans online are notoriously short?

They reached out to us for help to spark curiosity and bring their connected technology showcase to life.

the Science

Cognitive load – otherwise known as TMI (too much information). People find it tough to process lots of detail at once – especially if there’s too much jargon. To celebrate the whole spectrum of advances in connected technology, we needed to keep things simple and digestible – no crowded pages and no ‘word soup’ to switch off all but the most hardwired techies.

Limited attention – Usability expert Jakob Neilsen says 79% of us only ever skim the headline when we read content online. It makes sense - with so many messages bombarding us, our brains filter out the noise and only focus on what’s novel and interesting to us. If it doesn’t make us curious, we’ll scroll right past it.

Reciprocity and Incentives – “What’s in it for me?” is pretty much the deciding factor in whether readers give you the privilege of their time. If you want to incentivise people to read, to participate, to give you their attention, it needs to be clear from the start what they get in return.

the Share

The Guardian and Cisco settled on an ambitious novelty to ignite interest and draw in readers; they created The Internet of (nearly) Everything - an interactive search engine, spinning out snappy content on connected tech topics, from cats to toilet seats, swimming to voters and sex to football.  

  • Giving people control to search for whatever ‘thing’ they like works in two ways – gamification offers a fun novelty worth a minute or two of their time, and it plays into their ego. Let’s face it, we’re all fond of feeling like the one in charge.
  • We created short, punchy short micro-articles for more than 200 topics to pique and satisfy readers’ curiosity, with just enough detail to be interesting and no more.
  • With return results available for more than 10,000 search words, readers were motivated to try to ‘beat the system’ and search for increasingly obscure words… only to be delighted when the search engine offered up results.
  • Easter Eggs, witty quips and a few surprises left no readers feeling short-changed, even if there were no results for their search words.
  • Each article was visually tailored to the search word to keep things easy on the eye.
  • It was cool, which made it shareable. Gamification matched with entertaining content covering everything from connected toilets to wifi-enabled sharks meant people were eager to share their newfound knowledge, and their peers were persuaded to give it a go, too.
  • For its unique approach to knowledge-sharing and our psychology-informed creative, The Internet of (nearly) Everything won Best Use of Content from NewsWorks UK and a nomination for best brand experience from the Webby Awards.
…a shareable, valuable and unstoppable piece of branded content. We’re thrilled with the result.


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