Friday, 29 October 2010

Friday, 29 October 2010

Unstoppable Launch and TIGA Event.

Well it's been another big week for us here in the Kempt Cave. Our latest and greatest game which promotes the stunning new movie Unstoppable launched on Wednesday and is currently rocketing around the web, please do give it a try, it's a little bit different for us but I think you'll agree it's both very original and very enjoyable! As ever you can find the game all over the place but why not check it out over on Newgrounds.com.

In other news we're very pleased to say that the Kempt Showreel is about to pass 40k views on YouTube! This is brilliant if for no other reason than it's already received more traffic than most commercial viral videos get in their lifetime and the traffic is still growing! Awesome stuff.

And finally, on Wednesday I was privileged to speak at a seminar organised by the awesome people at TIGA. The event was packed to the rafters and excluding myself there were some awesome speakers. A huge well done to the TIGA team for putting on such a great event and to the hosts, Escape Studios in Shepherds Bush who have very kindly put our showreel up on their site.
Well that's it from me, have a fab weekend everyone!

Cheers

C

Friday, 24 September 2010

Friday, 24 September 2010

Announcing the Kempt Showreel 2010!

Well, it's been 7 years, six of which building flash games and finally after all that time we've gotten round to doing a showreel! So, sit back, relax and watch 6 years of bloody hard work flash in front of your eyes in about 4 minutes!



Props to Mr Fryer who did an awesome job on the edit, the whole team for their hard work on these awesome games and the Wildhearts who hopefully won't mind us using this track on the video!!!

Please do let us know what you think.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

August Event Write-up

Alas another Kempt GP has been and gone but luckily you can read Alex's amazing write-up. Don't forget to Sign-up for the September event.
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The Kempt GP#2 - Write Up and Results


Despite it being the middle of August the early-morning conditions for the second Kempt GP were unseasonably chill and blustery. Steaming cups of tea were handed out all round, accompanied by the heart-warming sight of the fantastic mix of motors that our guests had brought with them. In addition to the Lotus and Porsche (and Chris’s Smart Roadster) we had a Caterham, a Toyota MR2, a Nürburgring-proven Integra Type-R and - courtesy of Mr. James Bromley - a Ferrari 360 Modena. Oh yes.

We also had the added novelty of two complete novices attending. When I say novice I don’t mean new to racing but new to driving cars - neither had a licence. We owe our thanks to the Car Limits team and Emma in particular for their patience and willingness to help: young Sam effectively had his first driving lesson in a Subaru Impreza WRX! It will be a long time before they forget the “demonstration” laps kindly provided by Andrew, although I do fear for the instructor that gives Sam his first official lesson…

The morning session, therefore, saw everyone develop their skills and find new limits to their driving abilities. What’s more, keeping warm was easy with the fabled High Speed Bend getting the blood pumping. Being asked to turn left with one finger at 70mph is memorable to say the least.

Adjourning for a pub lunch gave the sun just enough time to burn through the gloom and finally summer was restored. As motorsport fans will know heat = fast times and that was very much the case in the afternoon. As cars screeched around the high speed Small Circuit and the more complex Big Circuit it became clear that this was a particularly swift bunch and - almost as a mark of approval for the feats on display - a WWII Hawker Hurricane repeatedly buzzed the airfield, often coinciding with the Ferrari’s banshee-wail runs on the Small Circuit.

Rob and Emma once again sat in the co-pilot’s seats of the Elise and Boxster as we set our lap times. It became clear that the competitive instinct was kicking in with a vengeance as the lap records tumbled only to be beaten again by a new driver. Our novices in particular put in some extraordinary times, being well on the pace. As Andrew explained they weren’t inhibited by the years of bad habits that the rest of us had and - crucially - would actually do as they were told.


The final results were oh-so-close, highlighting the high level of competition on the day and the aggregate scores over both circuits showed three drivers vying for first place. In the end it was James who topped the combined times for both courses, followed by Mark in second and Will in a very close third. Congratulations to Mark for his performance on the Big Circuit, which took him to the top of our Fastest Lap leader board and commiserations to Will who missed out on this accolade by just a quarter of a second. Incredible.

Other highlights of the day include the numerous and hilarious spins that punctuated the morning session (Chris winning that particular contest), a spectacular wipe out from the Ferrari and the MR2’s tendency to collect cones.

Finally we would like to say a massive thank you to our guests: Mark, Will, James, Matt, Mike, Tony, Amanda, Noam and Sam who now join the exclusive ranks of the Kempt GP alumni who made the event the success it was. We can’t wait for the next one in September, if you fancy it and think you qualify then please get in touch.
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Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Kempt GP Site, Re-brand and Newgrounds Documentary.

Earlier this week we launched the all-new Kempt GP site complete with its own game (we had to have one really!) check it out at kempt.co.uk/kemptgp and let us know what you think! I'm sure the stellar times set by the attendees of the first event will be heavily under attack at the next event which is on the 16th August. Whilst the September event is all-but full we still have some spaces for august so if you're interested and broadly fit the entry criteria then please do sign up.

Also, the eagle-eyed amongst you might notice that we've been making some changes to the look of the site recently including our new, slicker, meaner and... well... blacker logo. Again, we'd love to hear your thoughts on that too.

Finally, I'm very proud to say that Kempt are supporting the campaign to produce a documentary about the daddy of all flash games sites: Newgrounds.com it's difficult to over-estimate the impact that both Tom and the NG community have had on Kempt over the years, I have no doubt that they will bust their target wide-open and I very much look forward to seeing the resulting film. Anyone can pledge money to help them get the film made so I would urge you to pop along to kickstarter.com and give them some cash, it's the story of one of the most important cultural developments of the last two decades so it's got to be worth a few quid right?!
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Thursday, 15 July 2010

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Kempt GP#1 - Write Up and Results.

Well it's all over bar the bragging, sadly the inaugural Kempt GP has been and gone leaving only great memories, the lingering smell of burnt rubber and big black lines on the tarmac.

I hope the attendees will all agree that the day was a triumph, thanks in no small part to our hosts Andrew, Emma and Rob from Carlimits.com who were simply awesome.

For those that didn't attend, the format went as follows: We started the day at 10am (although a few of us snuck in at 9 for a bit of cheeky practice) and from then until about 12:30 the Carlimits team took us all through a series of car control exercises including how to steer (yeah, you thought you knew that huh!) and the spin-inducing monster that is the high speed bend.

With the initial training over we then adjourned to lunch at a nearby pub where we all swapped experiences of the day so far whilst consuming some well-earned nosh. Then it was back to the track to begin the competition in earnest.

Whilst we'd been filling our faces the carlimits team had setup two courses on the airfield. After a (very entertaining) set of demonstration laps with Andrew driving the scooby each of the competitors began their timed laps in each of the two cars under Emma and Rob's expert guidance, by this time a degree of healthy competition had built up and everyone was trying their very hardest to lap as quickly as they could. Inevitably there were an unlucky few that span out mid-run but hey, if you don't spin out, you're just not trying hard enough!

The official results are as follows:





Very well done to our fastest guest David, who was not only quick but impressively consistent on the day and took away a magnum of bubbly to make his colleagues green with envy. Unsurprisingly Mr Fryer put in a series of blistering times despite strict orders to let the clients win ;o).




I think it's safe to say that we all had a fantastic time and learnt a little bit too, there was lots of excited talk afterwards about buying sports cars and coming back to do it again which, I think, is a great indication of the success of the day. So, only it remains for me to say a massive thank you to the attendees without whom it wouldn't have happened and for those of you that missed it, don't worry, we'll be announcing more shortly!

So, thanks for reading (and for coming if you did!) I'll leave you with some footage of Andrew and Emma taking the Lotus around the big track in style:

Friday, 18 June 2010

Friday, 18 June 2010

Uphill Vegas: letting our hair down with Elvis


When building an advergame a lot of our energy goes into the strategy - how do we appeal to the right audience, is there a concept that feels consistent with the message and so on. It can be a complex task and so once in a while it's great to have the opportunity to let our hair down and just make a fun game for the sake of it.

A perfect example was when Spil Games - the giant casual gaming portal - asked us to build a driving game where the only criteria was feel-good fun for millions of users. The result of this is our latest release, Uphill Vegas. If I tell you that it stars an Elvis impersonator driving a pink Cadillac whilst strumming the guitar and pulling shapes then you're going to want to play it, right?

Friday, 11 June 2010

Friday, 11 June 2010

Huzzar for the Bank of England!

Let's hear three cheers for the Bank of England, hip hip... no? Well okay, I guess in these uncertain times it might seem a little strange to be celebrating such an institution but for the time being I'd like you to set aside your concerns over your mortgage, pension fund and the like and have a quick look at something that the BoE have put together to help explain inflation: "The Monetary Policy Balloon".

I love this... I mean I REALLY love it... I want to have it's babies. This is a fantastic example of how you can communicate quite complex information simply and effectively through play. Okay so it's probably aimed at a slightly younger audience than me and it does suffer in places from being a little pedestrian but personally I don't think it takes a lot of imagination to see how this could be developed into something really informative and effective for all ages.
Anyway, these are relatively minor quibbles... I think that, given who they are and how well this works, the good old BoE deserve real praise. I only hope that next time they want to do something like this they give us a call so we can make it even more brilliant!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Friday, 4 June 2010

Kempt Update - Summer 2010

It's been a very busy start to the year at Kempt so we thought it was time to put together a short update on some of the things that have happening at the Kempt cave: our work, acclaim, news, press, what's coming up and most importantly Martyn's red hot World Cup tip.

Summer of Soccer: In keeping with the growing football fever, the Pepsi Football Hero global activation was launched on
Microsoft featuring 5 brand new Kempt games, currently garnering average dwell times of over 10 minutes each. Check them out on the MSN Football Hero site, on Instant Messenger or the viral versions which are pretty much everywhere online!

Sony Music asked us to help launch the Daisy Dares You single, Number One Enemy – here is the viral game on our portal TinyMania.

Wot No Advertising? Lately we've been lucky enough to be working with Viacom on their Neopets and PetPet park sites. Our latest release is a really cute trading card game. There are 4 others recently launched by us dotted around the sites but for those of you that are too busy to hunt them out you can check out video footage of Potion Panic and the trailer for CardCasters on Metacafe.

And that’s not all! there are also recent activations for other Sony Music artists, a brilliant football/arkanoid mash-up and a wicked urban ‘platformer’ for the Southbank Centre - all to be seen in the portfolio on our site. Plus we’ve picked up some excellent new clients, we can't say who yet but for the time being let's just say we're moving into the movie and retail sectors - All will be revealed shortly!

Awards Recognition We were pleased to be finalists in 2 Revolution Awards categories. Considering the relatively small size of the Freeway Fallguy (Sony Music) execution compared to the competition (Disney, the Sun, AKQA etc) this was a real result. This viral game delivered massive audiences, incredible ROI, 75% of all video views and unprecedented UGC. Impressed? You should be! Check out the case study to find out how we did it.

Press: There have been a number of comments and articles in press like NMA and Contagious of late. This larger article we wrote in Contagious came out a little while ago, but then so did our last newsletter. This article in Cream explains more about the Microsoft Pepsi Football Hero campaign.

MemeCounter: Our tracking tool MemeCounter passed a huge milestone recently, having counted over 2 billion visits since its launch a couple of years ago, and remains very much an industry standard in viral game tracking.

Chris made the final 3 in the British Council’s UK Young Interactive Entrepreneur program – no mean feat...given his age!

The Kempt team has grown – we have a new ueber-brainy developer, a new artist (that’s put the crayons bill up again) and an ex-Microsoft Commercial Director. Check us all out on the header above.

Coming Soon: Apart from some imminent and exciting new campaign launches, Martyn will be speaking at the C21 produced “Propaganda Factory” event in early July – the event title is Building Entertainment Brands in the Digital Age and this is exactly what we’ll be offering our fairly unique perspective on. More info on the event at the organiser’s site.

Anonymous Personal News
One of us got married, one of us fell over in stinking mud in front of everyone else, one of us got a music publishing deal, one of us published some comics, some of us went to LA, one of us went to Alton Towers and sat in the bar the WHOLE TIME, and one of us bottled all the worst rides and we all went to a slightly weird nuclear bunker!!

And Finally... Martyn's World Cup Tip "Currently at 150/1 it’s got to be Nigeria. Because that’s who I have in the office sweepstake!" So there you go.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Kempt Grand Prix for Clients, Press & Allies

The inaugural Kempt Grand Prix was such a tire-squealing success that it has become an ongoing series with more events scheduled for this summer. We're offering you the chance to be our guest on a car-focused day of high-speed fun, relaxed networking and the added spice of a little competition.

The spacious North Weald Airfield is the location for our all-day event. You can either use one of the supplied cars (such as a Lotus Elise) or bring your own. It's a perfect place to test the limits of your skill - as the track is laid out on an airfield there's nothing to hit but plastic cones!
With assistance from three experienced instructors, you'll begin the day learning from the pro's as you get to grips with the two circuits set up especially for the event. Once you've honed your driving style you'll then take part in the grand finale, the Fastest Lap Challenge.

There are three criteria for selection:
  1. We like you.
  2. You are going to spend money with us.
  3. You already spend money with us.
If you tick all three boxes, we'll even make sure the brakes work and buy you a sandwich! So pass us your details and we'll get back to you very soon.

Further Information
The event is run by ex-Benetton F1 pilot Andy Walsh and the rest of the driving gurus at Car Limits. These chaps are experts in their (air)field and have improved drivers of all skill levels, including BBC F1 anchor Jake Humphries.

Where is it?
The North Weald Airfield is conveniently located just off the M11. There is no post code for the venue but directions are very simple if you are coming from the M11 - come off at Junction 7 and then follow the signs for North Weald Airfield.


View The Kempt GP in a larger map

Not Coming by car?
The nearest train station is Harlow Town just 30 mins from London Liverpool Street. The Nearest tube station is Epping on the end of the Central line. Both stations are 15-20 min drive from the airfield, if you're on the attendee list and intend to come by one or other please do let us know and we'll try to arrange for someone to pick you up or put you in a cab.

The Cars
If your wheels are just that little bit flash then we'd actively encourage you to bring them along. Several of us will so you'll be in good company and North Weald is the perfect place to explore the limits of the car safely and responsibly.

If you're not bringing your own car (or even if you do and fancy a bit of variation) then you'll get to zoom around the course in a Lotus Elise (just about the best damn car to fling round a track) or a slightly more forgiving Porsche Boxster.

The Prize

Setting the fastest time in the end-of-day shoot-out will gain the winner a Magnum of champagne. It's your choice whether you use it to soak your fellow competitors or take it home for a champion's celebration.
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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Brave Marketers who Tell Stories, we Salute you - and Consumers Reward you.

As an agency that thrives on persuading clients to try something new, its always good to see global brands extolling the virtues of some smart and different thinking - especially if its viral and playful, engages users in a story, and even better if its digital!

In a recent Ad Age Article we hear from top Sony Pictures Execs about their success with some riskier marketing techniques for the (oringinally) relatively unknown film District 9.
http://adage.com/entertainment-alist2010/article?article_id=143995

Mr. Weinstock [Marketing President, Sony Pictures] suggested that creating an interactive viral experience for each film's marketing also helped matters. "District 9," for example, was launched with a viral outdoor campaign on benches and kiosks featuring a silhouette of the film's signature prawn-like aliens and a 1-800 number. It was a gamble that ultimately paid off due to Sony's commitment to original storytelling.

"Someone had the confidence to put a real tease in the market and really get something going virally before you even knew what it was," Mr. Blake [Chairman, Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing] said.
This kind of press hugely strengthens the case for less traditional media activity; and as we've recently signed up a movie studio ourselves, vindicates their decision to use a new and highly effective viral approach, albeit in our case digital rather than outdoor.

The storytelling idea is key as it delivers consumer value even though its also marketing. This is exactly our approach with much of what we produce, as we invite consumers to play with the brand's story, be it a piece of entertainment marketing, or even an FMCG product that is being sold.

The recent-ish game we launched for a Sony Music band (http://www.killerviral.com/site/games/844/Freeway+Fallguy) is a case in point as it took the video concept, and turned it into a game, enabling a further level of engagement with the 'narrative' if you can call it that in a pop video! It defnitely raised awareness of the band, which was the aim, as over 13.5 million visits have been acheived since launch!

Currently the storytelling idea is seen in full force in the games we built for the Pepsi Football Hero activation with Microsoft, (http://www.footballhero.uk.msn.com/) as users play the protaganist in a journey from Zero to Football Hero, and dwell times are over 10 minutes on average for each game!

As an aside, what Sony Pictures did with the viral outdoor activity reminded me of something that remains an absolute favourite bit of marketing for me. When I was at Discovery Channel years ago, Animal Planet were promoting a 'dogs and their owners' theme week. To catch attention they somehow sprayed a liquid (I was told it was real dog urine!) onto the base of lamp posts that would draw dogs to the spot. At approximate owner eye-level was a fly poster telling the owners about the TV stunt. Best in Show marketing!!

I cant wait to tell you more about what we will be doing for our new movie client, so keep an eye on the blog!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Kempt, Microsoft and Pepsi Press

Here is a recent article in the online mgazine Cream about the global work we've been doing with Pepsi and Microsoft.
http://www.creamglobal.com/17799/21788/pepsi-launches-five-football-games

Thanks Cream!!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Brilliant News Story - Great Potenital Game; Ninjas Catch Muggers

You have got to love this news story - if anyone wants us to build the game of it please let us know!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia_pacific/10130346.stm
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Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Kempt teams up with Microsoft-Pepsi for Football Games

I am really proud to shout about the kick-off of a major global project.

Launched in April 2010, the Pepsi Football Hero campaign is located within MSN and is a significant global activation - http://www.footballhero.uk.msn.com/

Kempt and partners delivered 5 flash games for both the hub and viral release, which invite users to play games taking them from Zero to Hero, and help to unlock exclusive content of the many notable Pepsi Football stars such as Kaka, Drogba, Lampard, Messi, and so on. These games are also rolling out in Instant Messenger too.

As World Cup fever builds, so do the user numbers for this tuly engaging piece of branded content.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Friday, 30 April 2010

Flash Heroes Pt1

Continuing the theme that I started a couple of weeks back by reviewing Continuity I thought you might be interested to see what I just stumbled across: http://lab.andre-michelle.com/tonematrix.

Obviously this is a pretty simple experiment but again it really sums up what I love about Flash: its ability to provide a platform for creativity in all forms. True there are more sophisticated, faster and, as Mr Jobs points out in his recent and beautifully penned bit of spin (which I shall respond to separately), more stable and battery-kind platforms out there, but none that are as approachable to the novice/amateur/hobbyists/academics who are the lifeblood of the flash scene and are responsible for creating some of the most beautiful and creative work on the web. True flash has limitations and flaws but, as I've said before, adversity breeds creativity, so... long live adversity... viva la flash... and lets all pray that Adobe don't manage to kill it off as they currently seem to be doing their best to do.
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Friday, 16 April 2010

Friday, 16 April 2010

www.memecounter.com - 2 billion and counting!

MemeCounter, Kempt's widely used flash game tracking tool passed a significant milestone this week, rocketing past the 2 billion visits mark.

http://www.memecounter.com/ is pretty much the industry standard in advergame tracking. It is used by Kempt, Kempt's clients and a variety of other games and advergames devlelopers to monitor game plays, unique users, dwell times, geographic and site info, action tracking and so on.

Launched in 2006, MemeCounter averages around 3.5 million visits tracked a day - not bad going for a so called non-mainstream branded medium!

The biggest advergame on MemeCounter is the Kempt built King of Defenders, www.kingofdefenders.com/ with over 72 million visits.

MemeCounter also powers ViralChart.com http://www.viralchart.com/ which measures the top performing advergames.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Monday, 12 April 2010

Adobe CS5 - Wot no Web Standard???

Well, after much anticipation and speculation Adobe have finally announced that... CS5 isn't quite ready yet.

In a fairly anti-climactic launch the company that currently has custody of our beloved flash announced that it'd be about another month before us mere mortals could get our hands on the new software.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the launch is the somewhat inexplicable disappearance of the Web Standard bundle, the only reference to which that I've found being in a short review on expertreviews.co.uk that stated "Following customer feedback, Web Standard has been dropped."

It's hard to imagine what that feedback was... "Dear Adobe, even though we're going through the worst recession in living memory we've still got way too much cash. Please could you help us out by discontinuing the cheapest of your suites? It's just not expensive enough."

So... sell your kidneys now, CS5 is just round the corner.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Friday, 19 March 2010

Why I love flash games...

Every once in a while I come across a something that reminds me what it is that I love about flash games, this morning I stumbled on a wonderful little platformer called Continuity: http://www.continuitygame.com. Originally developed as a student project this game is a shining example of what makes the flash games scene and flash games developers so special.
As I have often said in the past, adversity breeds creativity, and this is certainly the case in the flash games scene. Whilst the mainstream games scene busies itself with bigger-better-faster-more, flash games developers quietly struggle along - criminally underfunded, largely working for the love of it and at the same time producing work that is in my opinion far more original and creative than the dross churned out by the big studios.
So... here's to flash games and here's to the amazingly talented young developers that inspire me every day. May we all struggle along together forever!...
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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Revolution Awards: Kempt Shortlisted for Freeway Fallguy Game

2010 has kicked off with a positively manic January and great news today about the end of the recession thanks to 0.1% growth in the last 3 months of 2009. So everything's alright again now! Phew.

The Kempt studio has never been busier and to top even the end of recession, we are shortlisted in two categories for our branded game Freeway Fallguy in the Revolution Awards.

Looking at an overview of the work we did for the band Raygun courtesy of RCA Labels you can see this was an expectation busting viral game; delivering nearly 4m visits in the first 4 weeks and its still going very strong with over 10 million visits since launch.

The subtle and relevant inclusion of video in the game proved invaluable as it teased players to see more -the game delivered over 75% of the total traffic to the band's video on YouTube!

Hope to see you at the awards in April.