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26/11/09 – the first creative club – a look at ARGs

November 26, 2009 4 comments

So history was in the making yesterday as we kicked off our first creative club here at RKCR/ Saint.

We had creative from both digital and traditional backgrounds together with me as the curator.

The point of these sessions were to provide a platform to discuss the good work that’s out there, but also get to talk about some obscures technological jargon and technology. The first of them being ARG (Alternative Reality Games for the non connoisseurs).

We started the session by doing a quick round up of what was new in the advertising world.

  • New-(ish) at least for me was the deal that Anomaly stroke with Lauren Luke. From Adweek:

By Lauren Luke is a line of cosmetics that is the signature line of Lauren Luke, a woman in Newcastle, Great Britain, who rose to YouTube fame through a series of how-to videos for applying makeup. The line is available at a brand Web site, and Anomaly is negotiating with retailers to get the cosmetics stocked in stores. Anomaly has also brokered a book deal for Luke and is negotiating with production companies about putting her on broadcast TV.

Now the genius bit is that every advertising agency looking at the growing influence of that girl would have thought: “how can we get her to endorse our beauty products”. But not Anomaly, who were quick to realise she should have her own brand. They look after the logistics and marketing, she just keeps doing what she loves. Win-Win situation. This is the future.

  • Justin Timberlake playing crazy ping pong with an American Footballer for a slightly unreal Sony commercial.

It’s funnish. BUT auto-tune the ad and it becomes freaking hilarious:

  • Ikea + facebook. Very clever Swede action.
  • Siny Suds, new ad from Droga. Just because it’s funny. And clever.
  • A mountain of websites:

http://www.summitonthesummit.com/#/intro

Just because the website is amazing and the integration of twitter and the likes is very neat and actually has a purpose rather than just being a flow of tweets.

  • Art of the Trench for Burberry and from BBH

Just because it is a raelly neat way of showcasing your products. Bit of social media, subtly integrated. And they have managed to do what everyone had been trying to do for a long time. Get to work with the Sartorialist. Yes I’m jealous.

Then we had our creative interval.

That’s Marcel Proust.  He was a funny man. Spent most of his liffe on his bed. But he used to one thing that caught my attention. He used to cut newspapers headlines and make up the story around it, just because he found it a lot more interesting that the actual real story. So I cut some headlines from the Sun and the Daily Mail and gave them to the creative for them to make up the story around it. It was fun. And I can’t possibly publish the outcome of that as it would be too vulgar.

Moving on to the theme of the week: ARG.

What is an ARG (From the excellent Jawbone.tv. The evolution of story)

An ARG is an interactive story that uses many channels, both real world and online, to create a game experience directly influenced by players
ARGs have typically existed outside the mainstream–customarily driven by a loyal, niche game community that finds and solves clues littered throughout the Web.
We then went on to show for of the best case studies from the 2 mots innovative companies in the field: 42 entertainment and Campfire.
1. First on the list was the AWESOME dark night ARG.

The case study and results are mental.

2. The equally awesome True Blood campaign

3. I love Bees for Halo 2

4. The mother of all ARG. Audi Art of the Heist. Just because I wanted to show them that you don’t need the back up of an entertainment property and the back-up of millions of already existing fans. You can create it from scratch.

5. Nokia ‘lost my phone’ campaign from WK

Now I used this campaign as an example of fail. I know sorry my WK friends, but this campaign was missing something vital in the success of an ARG. A point. A ‘why should I engage with it’ hook. The content is of amazing quality, it’s well written and the sheer amount of stuff that produced for it was mind blowing. But, it had no point aart from following 3 pre-fabricated young good looking characters.

6. The best thing I’ve seen this year by a mile

7.  a live ARG that’s far too complicated for me but which production values are amazing

It starts as a graphic novel and gives you control of the story. Prety neat. I just had choose your own adventure type of books when I was a kid. Those were the days…

More on that game here: http://www.argn.com/2009/11/exoriare_exploring_the_darknet/

And a quick summary. There is obviously much more to say than that, but it’s a start:

  1. Don’t start with an ARG. Start with an idea. All the examples started with an idea, apart from the Nokia one that started with wanting to do an ARG.
  2. Know your audience. It’s not just for geeks. A Eurostar promotion for the Da Vinci code drew millions of visits to their game, most were coming from middle age women. Every kind of audience could be interested in playing as long as its designed for them and according to their interests.
  3. Use multiple media and channels, but treat each piece of content as a potential point of entry in the story / game. If you miss the beginning, it should always be easy to get started even half through.
  4. Plan for the mainstream (low involvement) as well as the hard core (high involvement). Only a tiny percent of your audience will want to go deep in an ARG. And that’s fine, just make sure you can participate into it without having to spend zillions of hours into it.
  5. Authenticity & credibility. Don’t lie or try to fool people. They’ll engage if they think it’s worth it. No need to hide your involvement until the end.
  6. Reward user involvement – Why should they take part in it?
  7. People engage with stories and characters – but you need a strong creative hook first. That’s the most critical point. WHat is the point? The creative hook? if  you can’t honestly answer that, don’t get started.
  8. Tie it back to the product / brand message.
  9. Work with specialists. You can’t do it all on your own.
  10. Only do one if you think you can gather enough fans to participate into it, otherwise you’ll fail miserably. And le’ts face it, ARG probably work better for entertainment properties… Or if you don’t have one, create one (i.e. Happiness factory for Coke could be turned into an ARG, etc.)
Next creative club session hopefully next week. Enjoy!

fantastisk Ikea

Wow wow wow. They have done it again.

The guys at Forsman & Bodenfors have done an other amazing interactive experience for IKEA.

http://kominigarderoben.se/

If it feels slighlty inspired by Uniqlo, it actually adds a couple of interesting features like playing sound on the keyboards and using a microphone to somehow control the videos.

It actually takes some time to discover all the different interaction and videos in each scene, plus the possibility to download the MP3s. The video quality is superb. The added interaction a definite plus.

There is still nothing as good as that on the Internet.

They’ll get their usual Lion next year at Cannes. I wonder when Ikea will actually realise they would make great TV ads too, as in to drive people to the web.

Bravo mes amis.

(Source: ad critic, Creativity Weekly Top 5: July 21)

Ikea – Turning product showcase into compelling content

February 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Ikea, thanks to Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors (click to see their portfolio, it’s impressive), has made a name for itself by beautiful and interactive product showcase, winning gongs and galore along the way.

It started with the 360 degrees exploration of the dream kitchen. Here’s the last and third installement:

Then, the more obscure exploration of closets

But what was lacking, despite the hypnotic beauty of the visuals, was, erm, an idea… Which has now being taken care of.

Introducing the bedroom experience:

From FB’s website:

You need a quiet place

In this campaign IKEA invites you to look at your bedroom in a new way. Not just as a room to sleep in, but also as an oasis of calm where you can read, relax and recharge after a hectic day full of work and household chores.

On site you can experience four different rooms and check them out from three different angles.

Basically, it’s an extension of the 360 still pictures of the Dream Kitchen to different angles video, but it still works absolutely fine. But they have created mini films before reflecting in 10 seconds the stress accumulated throughout the day, until you can finally… relax in your bedroom.

So Kudos for the agency and the client for delivering these beautiful online experiences that actually make you want to go to the store.

It’s very interesting to see how they turned what would be a boring product showcase into mini stories and extremely compelling content.

Getting to better ideas – #2

February 12, 2008 4 comments

Philosophy.

Just this word used to make me run scared. I almost failed high school because of it.

But now I’m coming back to it with new eyes and maturity (hysterical laughing) and I’m now starting to realise what an important tool it can be in a planning and creative toolkit.

We are always looking for fresh point of views on what a brand can say. And it becomes harder and harder to find interesting things to say on very generic territories, when your products don’t really have anything that stands out.

I came accross Guy Debord’s work recently, most notably the ‘detournement’ (I’m ashamed to admit it, being French) and thought it was fascinating.

Here’s a good definition for it, taken from BeyondTV:

Detournement is the subversion, devaluation and re-use of present and past cultural production, destroying its message while hijacking its impact.

Comics, ads, movies, ‘fine art’ or even city spaces are manipulated and placed in new and radical contexts (one contemporary example is ‘adbusting’ or ‘subvertising’ and culture-jamming).

Paris. May, 1968: the SI (Situationalist International) successfully fed the revolutionary spirit by subverting popular comics in posters and flyers.

Detournement is most commonly associated with the Situationalists, whose ideas and spirit inspired the near spontaneous revolution in France in 1968. Situationists envisioned a society on the foundations of creativity, pleasure and free play where people actively participated in the reconstruction of every moment in life.

By encouraging people to detourne their own everyday-roles, ‘spectacular lifestyle’ and seize control over their own lived space through the creation of unique situations, the SI hoped to achieve a way towards Utopia by functioning as the trigger to a grand anti-spectacular revolution by the people.

The Situationists were not the kind of people who thought the only right thing to do was just to sit down peacefully and wait for a revolution to pop up in a distant future. Instead they recognised the idea of doing something immediately and reinvent everyday life here and now as necessary.

Art was considered central in the deconstruction as well as reconstruction of society. Paintings, sculptures and such were considered ‘spectacular phenomenons’. Instead of transforming everyday life to art, it remained an entity separated from everyday life or just another type of commodity.

Situationist ‘art’ emphasised more on human interaction and the ‘art’ of creating new spaces and forms of communication. Arguing that our perception of the world is closely related to the structure of the society, the prime task was to liberate people’s everyday-life from the narrow-minded discourse provided from the spectacle. If ordinary citizens were given a widened and more creative perception of what our world was capable of becoming the structure of society would change.

It surprised me how modern these thoughts still sound and how relevant to our digital society they are. The situationalists thought that people should regain control of the media by participating and creating their own content…

There is a lot to be stolen and re-adapted from them. This philosphy has strongly inspired Adbusters for example. I loved how Guy Debord had put sandpaper on the cover of his book, the society of spectacle, so ir would destroy other books in a library. I believe there insights can be used to create advertising that is more intelligent and subtle, that challenge people perceptions. That uses provocation but in a positive way.

Modern philosophy is very readable and still very thought provoking. For interesting point of views on what a ‘home’ means to people, ‘the architecture of happiness, by Alain De Botton is a must read. (Especially read it if you work for Ikea). Providing inspirational insights on why human beings desperatly try to make a house a home. Actually I would recommend most of his books, just for general culture.

Before embarking on a brainstorming for a new client, I would strongly recommend quickly going through what philosophers have been talking about on your subjects… The relationship with a home, technology, what makes us happy… It will be worth it.