M&C Saatchi Abel Brings a Touch of Wonder to Design Indaba 2016

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At this year’s Design Indaba, Nedbank underscored its positioning as South Africa’s green and caring bank with its innovative Wonderland Project. M&C Saatchi Abel created and executed the project which seeks to transform decommissioned ATMs into ‘works of wonder’. The project challenged all 2016 Design Indaba delegates to submit their ideas of how these terminals can be repurposed for social benefit.

“There were many interesting ideas, especially around education and public health,” says Paul Coetzer, Business Director at M&C Saatchi Abel.

He highlighted the Conversation Starter Machine idea: this could be placed in different parts of the country to encourage people from different backgrounds to start up random conversations – and get South Africans talking.

The competition received over 200 entries. At the close of the Design Indaba, Katherine Farrell from Johannesburg was announced the winner of the Nedbank Wonderland Project competition. Her idea is to turn decommissioned ATMs into Hotel Perk Hubs, where hotel guests, tourists and travellers can deposit unused perks (meals and credits, toiletries, etc) for people in need to ‘withdraw’. Her key insight was that ‘the richer you are, the more stuff you get for free’, which leads to wasted resources. Farrell won an all expenses paid two-week immersion experience at the Google Creative Lab in Sydney, Australia.

Over and above the competition, the project included a branded Wonderthon activation area, which – in keeping with the theme of repurposing – was furnished with recycled wooden pallet furniture. The activation area also featured a ‘Wonder Window’ where delegates were encouraged to doodle their ideas of what decommissioned ATMs could become – as well as an ATM turned into an entry box where delegates could drop physical, hand drawn entries.

“As part of this activation, a team of engineers, programmers and designers was challenged to repurpose a decommissioned Nedbank ATM in real time,” adds Coetzer. “Over the course of the three days the team repurposed the ATM as a community movie projector, an arcade game, and finally a fully functioning breathalyser – which tests intoxication levels and prints an Uber voucher for people who are over the legal alcohol limit.” The prototype was launched at the Design Indaba closing concert, hosted by Nedbank.

“Everyone who has heard of the project is extremely positive about it as an initiative and about the potential impact it can have on communities across South Africa,” says Coetzer.

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