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.

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 ( 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, ( 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!