Fancy that: A giant Olympic mood ring
The London Eye changes colors based on the UK's mood
July 27, 2012
There will be plenty of alternative media stunts taking place in London over the next two weeks as the city hosts the Summer Olympics.
But it's hard to imagine any of them will draw as much attention as this one.
The London Eye, aka the Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the Thames, is being turned into a gigantic mood ring.
Lights placed around the Eye, one of the country's major tourist attractions, will change color each night for 30 minutes to reflect the mood of the country based on that day's Olympic performance.
And how will engineers gauge the mood of the country?
By monitoring Twitter, of course.
The stunt, called Energy of a Nation, is being sponsored by London Eye owner EDF Energy, a local utility and London 2012 sponsor.
The aim is to raise awareness about energy consumption around London and encourage people to learn more about EDF's initiative for a low-carbon London.
The stunt is pretty sophisticated, at least in terms of how the country's Twitter mood will be monitored.
Professor Mike Thelwall of the University of Wolverhampton will team with Sosolimited, a linguistic analysis and data visualization firm, to keep tabs on Twitter feeds.
They'll filter for tweets that originate in the UK and include a reference to the Games, scanning for hashtags including torch relay, Olympics, London 2012 and #energy2012, the hashtag of this campaign.
Those tweets will then be sent through an algorithm that determines the message's positive and negative energy. Words will be given a positive or negative score based on their meaning; "failure," for example, would get a negative score, while "brilliant" would get a positive.
Tweets will be vetted for emoticons and punctuation, too, with things like smiley faces and exclamation points delivering more positive energy.
Then EDF will tally up the positives and negatives and produce a daily running chart of the country's positive and negative energy.
At day's end, the company will determine whether it was a positive, negative or neutral day and light up the London Eye accordingly with light shows at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., lasting about a half hour.
A positive day will get yellow lights, neutral will get green lights, and negative will get purple lights.
The stunt works because it's so eye-catching and ties in so well to the Olympics. The Games are all about emotions, which crest on the highs and lows of the athletic performances.
By turning those highs and lows into a visual cue, EDF is sure to ignite lots of buzz, especially because of the London Eye's status as a big tourist attraction.
Plus it's just a lot of fun. The company will post daily updates of the national energy on its web page, too, so that people outside of London can also follow along.
Tags: alternative media, alternative media advertising, alternative media stunts, EDF, london, London Eye, lows, olympics, people, social media, social media advertising, summer olympics, twitter, UK, web
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