Our First-Ever Agency Hack in India

Yahoo Agency Hack - IndiaYahoo Agency Hack - IndiaHack days are a tradition at Yahoo! and come in many popular variants. Like Open Hack, which sees huge participation from the developer community in India. This year’s event in Bangalore drew over 700 developers from 20 Indian states, and surfaced an amazing 171 hacks!

Moving to a different part of the country and a different segment, we recently held Agency Hack at Gurgaon. This was our first-ever hackathon in India open exclusively to advertising agencies.

With digital advertising coming of age in the region, some of the country’s biggest ad agencies like Ogilvy, Webchutney and Digitas were represented at the event. What makes the Agency Hack format unique is that it draws participation not just from developers, but also designers, user-experience specialists, digital strategists, media planners and copy writers. Their combined perspective led to some well-rounded, considered solutions, as teams came up with smart digital hacks andother ideas to solve real-life problems.

Participating teams could choose to either build a campaign-based solution or a product-based one using technologies from Yahoo! and other players. Eight working prototypes ranging from mobile applications, to companion apps in a living room experience, to social apps for voting and blood donation, were completed in a frenzied 24 hours! (See the complete list of hacks here. )

Since this was a creative bunch, the event had its share of whacky ideas. The winner, “Y! Loo.” was a hardware hack that leverages Yahoo! Messenger and enables users to remotely check the availability of their office loos (or conference rooms) and physically knock on the door if engaged! Team Webchutney (Mandeep Singh, Sattvik Mishra, Gurbaksh Singh, Abhishek Saxena and Akshay Raheja) took home the Gold for this “interactive restroom service.” :)

Team Digitas (Akshat Bhardwaj, Prosenjit Som, Sidharth K. Dhanda, Vivek R. Sharma) walked away with the Silver for their Twitter-based hack “Twinority Report”, a Tweet investigator that anticipates criminal intentions ranging from drug abuse to suicide to serious national threats, by analyzing keyword patterns.

Team Sapient Nitro (Syed Suffiyan, Parag Gajjar) took home the Bronze for their movie viewing companion experience platform “Lens”. This digital advertisement publishing platform enables digital production houses to create ads in rich visualization formats. Ads created on Lens can be published to companion apps of the production houses on platforms like iOS, Windows and Android.

The judging panel was made up of technology, media and marketing experts. Our YDN tech crew was also there to support the hackers. When participant Rohit Chaudhary’s fellow teammates could not make it to the event, the YDN crew guided this Strategy Planner from Reprise Media to build his hack – an app for blood donation which helps you find blood donors in your locality.

Agency Hack was held as a precursor to the prestigious Yahoo! Big Idea Chair Awards 2012, to be held in Mumbai on November 9. The event celebrates India’s most cutting-edge work in digital advertising and this year, drew a record 383 entries. With the deep integration of digital in campaigns, we can’t wait to see the next generation of solutions just around the corner... To borrow Arnie’s cult catchphrase from Terminator, “We’ll be Back.” :)