Maurice Lévy is back this year for the new Publicis Groupe New Year’s greeting. After toying with YouTube’s functionality last year, the holding company, with the aid of their DigitasLBi France unit, has once again found a new way to make their greeting interactive.
This year, Publicis built their message around the theme of #TheMoretheMerrier in honor of their expected merger with Omnicom. To accomplish this, they’ve made it so “The more people that join in during the video, the merrier it will become.” So, what does that mean exactly? Well, if you watch the video alone, nothing special happens. But if you watch with a friend, Maurice Lévy will deliver his speech in a confetti storm. Adding more people to the mix will result in “gospel singers, cheerleaders, Chinese dragons and a few other surprises.” It’s a pretty cool concept, managing to be interactive in an intriguing new way.
To accomplish this, Publicis’ tech team developed “a fancy facial detection algorithm that allows a webcam to count how many people are actually watching the video together.” The facial recognition software was conceived by “a 21 year old Russian math genius” working for DigitasLBi France. The software is the “first of its kind to detect up to ten faces simultaneously” while the video plays. “The More the Merrier” is the first video to count the number of viewers, rather than views, on YouTube. That’s a lot of technological firsts for a New Year’s greeting. By the way, in case you were wondering, it takes 1,487 balloons to cover Maurice Lévy.
Credits after the jump. Read more