The Philips Wake-up Light

Ever heard of a place called Longyearbyen? No? Well it’s one to learn for pub quizzes. It happens to be the world’s northern-most town. As such, it gets the least daylight of anywhere on Earth that people call home. In fact, the townsfolk live for four months of every year without sunlight. So what better place to demonstrate the benefits of the Philips Wake-up Light?
I came across this campaign by Tribal DDB Amsterdam just before it launched (a couple of weeks ago) and was instantly struck by the big idea. A lesser team would have jumped on Getty Images and grabbed pretty pics from some unknown photographer then knocked out a quick press ad, microsite and maybe a few banners. This writer and art director jumped on a plane and actually went there – with a photographer, a director and a film crew.
The thing is, these days it’s all too easy to sit in your office, do your job, pick up your pay cheque and piss off. What most impressed me about this campaign was that it isn’t just another load of selling ads. It’s an education, a fascinating documentary, social experiment and interactive experience that genuinely dramatises what the product actually does.
A fine documentary that wouldn’t feel out of place on the Discovery channel or BBC2 talks you through the experiment. We follow numerous folk in Longyearbyen who describe what it’s like to live without natural light – in particular what it’s like getting up in the morning.
The next thing is that each person is given a Wake-up Light. The mission is to see what happens when these clever units “wake up the town”. As the website tells you, our internal body clocks are naturally set to wake up with the sunrise and the Wake-up Light simulates this.
Rather than me explain the rest of this in detail, I’d suggest you have a look for yourself. is a nicely designed, informative, smart way to give consumers more than the single hit of most campaigns. You actually come away having learnt something new about the world. Now, how many campaigns can you say that about?
You can buy the lights direct from the website. The one I like has an iPod dock but at £159.99, it isn’t cheap. However, if it means I wake up fresh and alert, it’ll be worth every penny over the next few months.

Chris Catchpole is a creative consultant

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