Baidu Maps Makes Me Smile

If you have people smiling after they’ve interacted with your brand I’d say half of the game is won. Just seconds ago I browsed through Visualjournalism where I read a post about Googles Chinese competitor Baidu and their newly launched equivalence to Google Map. Baidu has launched a SimCity styled map engine.

It made my day. I hope it makes yours! Head over to Baidu and play.

Baidu’s interactive SimCity styled map.

Have a great weekend!

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Curiosity. My greatest asset. Born 1971 and Raised in the suburbs of style city Stockholm, creativity was always a part of growing up. With a background as a former snowboard professional (with among others Greger Hagelin from WE and Per Holknekt from Odd Molly as sponsors) and one of the few in the world who nailed a 1440° spin, I started my career on the buyer side. Marketing exclusive golf brands such as Mizuno, King Cobra and Goldwin gave me insight into the demands of advertisers and consumers but foremost the complexity behind how products actually make it into the stores. Always full of ideas, I felt I needed to move on to the creative side of the business. Internet, on the rise in Sweden drew me into the digital revolution already in 1994. In 1998 however I joined Framfab, one of the late 90’s fast-moving companies. As a concept developer and key account manager I parted in creating award winning projects for clients like Vattenfall , Bredbandsbolaget, Nike Europe and Volvo Cars. I also held a position within Framfab Innovation. The incubator of new ideas within Framfab. After Framfab had grown in just two years from 130 employees to 3400, I felt I needed to move to a smaller organization. Abel & Baker - in 2001 the worlds most awarded digital advertising company attracted me. At A&B I tool part in winning the global account for adidas, but I also worked with MTV, Nokia, Toyota, Årets Kock, ICA and the Red Cross. In 2002 I left Abel & Baker to found something of my own - Foreign. Foreign - an ideas creator with focus on the communication of tomorrow - based in Stockholm, Sweden. Foreign quickly grew to 27 employees and was awarded in the Cannes Lions, D&AD, New York Festivals, London International Advertising Awards, Epica, Clio, Cresta and other award shows every year since start up. Foreign launched both digital and integrated global campaigns for BMW Motorrad, MTV, H&M, IKEA, Omega, Beckers, Com Hem, Intersport, Kosta Boda, adidas International and many more. In September 2008 I took the decision to close Foreign down after almost 7 years. I’m now consulting within the same business on my own. Apart from Foreign I’ve also founded and Co-Founded Thru the years, leadership and success has been important, but enjoying life, loyalty and sincerity is what drives me further. I consider my part in motivating adidas to let fairly small Foreign handle adidas global digital World Cup campaigns my proudest moment in business. The birth of my two daughters Ebba & Linn is my proudest moment in life.

  • Gosta Abergh

    Nästa steg hade varit att se kartan i lego! En Lego-earth.

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  • Fritjof Andersson

    Looks really good, I actually get that old Sim City feeling.

    There’s just one problem, when comparing the animated and the photographed maps – they are really not the same, especially when it comes to houses. So fun, definitely. Accurate, well, no ;)

  • Brucecarson2008

    LOL, no satellite view, as it would reveal China’s 1920s style map obfuscation. If you look on Google maps of China you’ll notice that the maps are all wrong, the satellite view does not line up with the “maps” of the roads. Apparently China has all their maps offset by various amounts from the actual physical location of things for “Security Reasons”. Doubtless the Russians, the US and even North Korea has accurate maps of China with this stupid offset removed, so it’s like standard DRM which just screws over average consumers like us.

    It’s funny that it even Chinese companies are saddled by this, the satellite photos just don’t line up. Of course Chinese GPS systems are programed to overcome the offset, as are Cruise missiles, airplane GPSs and anything else that matters. The only person it screws up is Baidu (No satellite view since it wouldn’t line up) and foreigners in China trying to use their phone GPS. STUPID!!!

    Way past time they just issue accurate maps, or maybe the CIA or North Korea can release offset corrected maps to the general public. There’s a Android App that intercepts your phone’s GPS coordinates and produces the correct offset for China’s hairbrained scheme… so there’s obviously some predictable equation to the offset. Stretching the road maps as required would be a simple task, China just needs to change the law so Baudu and Google can go ahead and do it.

    (Yes I am a bit annoyed because I bought Garmin China maps only to discover you need a “China adjusted” GPS for things to line up)

  • Johan Ronnestam

    Great and informative comment!

    I blogged this one mostly out of inspiration for marketeers as Baidu has done a very smart thing here. But it’s also important to know the facts that you bring forward here! Thanks!

  • Brucecarson2008

    Yeah it is a very creative feature, I played around with it for awhile. My only complaint is that I can’t see enough street names, and Pudong (the district in Shanghai where my GF is from) doesn’t show up – yet. But it’s very pleasing to the eye and I think has a lot of potential! Also by the way she asked her dad and even the iPhone 4 on China Mobile has that the problem

  • Brucecarson2008

    The problem with weird maps I mean when lining up satellite photos.

  • Johan Ronnestam

    Agree. But it’s a wonderful way to market a new product. People keep buzzing it all over :)

  • Jane | Video Ads

    The map is quite nice. I even started to look for the cars and people on the streets subconsciously :))

  • Bram

    Interesting info Johan, thanks. I am planning a trip around the country with my wife and our two China-adopted kids. So far we always found our way around with paper maps etc. This time I thought I’ll work with my European smartphone with a Chinese simcard and use internet to wander around in cities such as Beijing, Xian, Yangshuo and Shanghai. If I understand correctly, it won’t be easy/possible to use gps and Google maps? And Baidu neither because it’s still in the developing stage? Better bring the old paper maps? What are your suggestions Johan? Thanks in advance, Bram (Holland)

  • Johan Ronnestam


    I’ve gotten that information too. In the comments below there are more remarks on this. From my point of view the blog post is focused on the marketing effect of the design. So, I’m sorry to say I don’t think I can be of any good help.


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