By Barbara Kamińska
Nothing is impossible for creative producers. To prove I am right I have chosen campaigns for two very different stories to present you the range of innovations that crossmedia producers may use to advertise the product. Both of these stories were initially book stories but ended up as personal experiences of their audiences.
In November 2010 Jay-Z, well known entertainment entrepreneur, rapper, song writer and record producer, but also a husband of Beyonce, published his autobiography that debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at number 3 and stayed on the list for more than 19 weeks. The truth is that everything he touches turns to gold but was this success an effect of his hard work? No, advertising agency Droga5 helped him to promote his new product along with Microsoft Bing search engine that created a special interface for Jay-Z fans. How did it look like? Pretty pretty surprising…
At first, it is necessary to tell that the whole campaign was created as a worldwide treasure hunt mixed with an installation art. The campaign combined billboard advertising with social media, mobile applications and public installations in a way that all of these pieces formed an interactive game which let people unlock pages from the book. Secondly, the title itself referred to the fact that the book literally helped fans to uncover some facts from Jay-Z’s personal life by decoding the lyrics of his 11 studio albums. Finally, you could enter a competition to win a golden ticket: life-time pass to all Jay-Z concerts anywhere in the world for two. Can it get any better? Yes!
All the pages from the book (and there were 320 of them) were placed in different spots around USA. They had different sizes, were arranged on unexpected and not usual surfaces. Where could you find these places? All the way to your work: on the pavement, on the bus stop, next to underground schedule, on the wall or on cheeseburger wrappings. But also in one of the swimming pools or on the billiard table in the pub.
If you were interested in the story you could always find some more pages using Bing. Between 18th and 20th of November if you logged in to a specially created page for Decoded treasure hunters you could follow clues that lead you to real places where the missing pages of the book could be found. If you were interested enough to have this puzzle/adventure hunt you could read the whole book before it was publically released! A cherry on the top of the pie was a possibility to win the golden pass if you sent a message with the code from a location of any page you entered the competition for the pass but also for Jay-Z autographed version of that one page.
One more interesting thing in this case is brandscaping: cooperation of two brands that have access to different audiences which aim is to create great content engaging their audiences. This campaign was not really an advertisement for Jay-Z’s book but a smart way to engage people with Bing using bing.decodejay-z.com. Due to this partnership both parties gained success in a really shot amount of time. Jay-Z debuted on the 3rd place on bestseller list and Bing noticed the traffic increase during the campaign by millions of new users. By the end of this campaign Bing gained its place in the top 10 most visited sites in the world for the first time! Droga5 agency was able to combine offline interest in Jay-Z’s book with online action on Bing web page, gaining millions of new readers/users for both.Great creativity and great success.
A Game of Thrones
This is a fantasy story published in 1996 by George R. R. Martin that consists of 3 stories about the land of Westeros. The first novel won Locus Award in 1997 and was nominated for several others that year. The plot was interesting enough and built a fan community so the novel itself has severs spin-offs like a trading game, board game or roleplaying game. The story of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros waited 15 years to be filmed and finally HBO has made a series under the same title: A Game of Thrones.
The first series was an HBO hit! New and old audience loved it so the marketing agency Campfire had a bit of a puzzle of how to engage people in the fictional story that takes place in the fantasy world. But as I stated at the beginning, there is nothing impossible for creative people. Their aim was to immerse people in the story world of this epic series and give a feeling of reality. They wanted to generate buzz that will dispose a deeper engagement of pre-existing fans and new audiences. Hard task but what they have done is a fantastic job!
At first, I will start with extensions that are easy to guess: an iPhone app and online flash game. What is more interesting is the fact how they were used to go through The Maester’s Path – five-week long sensory exploration supported by crafted scent boxes and mobile food-serving trucks. If you cannot imagine it all working together I will explain you the idea of this alternative reality game. Each week new puzzle appeared on the web page, if you solved it you unlocked a preview clip from the series as well as one of the five links required to the maester’s chain. To solve all the puzzles participants were encouraged to use social media like Facebook or Twitter to recruit helpers and followers that had the ability to report the progress along the process to communicate it to others trying to solve the puzzle. Five links that were given after each puzzle opened the access to another clip where the Author of the books himself thanks all fans for participation and support. In the video below you may see how other pieces of the campaign based on five senses (smell, sound, taste, touch and sight) complimented this campaign.