In Real Life (IRL)


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This is a presentation given by Bradley Eldridge (ECD and Partner) from Soap at the 2012 Perth Advertising & Design Club "Festival Of Ideas" conference.

It looks at how Soap Creative, a digital agency producing websites, games, banners and apps for the last 10 years suddenly started producing advertising experiences "in the real world – IRL".

"View notes" to see the presentation content.

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  • Hello Perth. Today I am talking to you In Real Life – or IRL for those in the know… I’m not Emailing, Skyping or Instant Messenging. I’m not Facebooking, Tweeting, Tumbling, Pinning or Blogging. I am actually here – In Real Life. And it feels good.
  • Since we all spend so much time living in a digital world now…IRL is an acronym used to distinguish stuff that happens In The Real World as opposed to on the Internet.So I might say that Fully Sick Rapper guy is actually a really nice dude IRL.
  • Today I’m going to talk about how Soap – a digital agency – went from historically making digital advertising in the form of websites, games, banners and apps to suddenly making advertising ‘In Real Life’.This year we produced a couple of special projects that came to life in the real world – boldly taking Soap into the ‘experiential’ world of advertising for the first time in our 10 year history.Today I’m going to present those two projects in some detail and share some of the creative process and learnings.
  • I’m going to talk about The Cornetto Enigma Bear project we worked on in the first part of the yearAnd the LYNX Anarchy campaign that ran a few months ago.But before I do that let me tell you a bit about myself and Soap.
  • I work at Soap Creative where I am a partner in the business and also the ECD. I’m also Batman.
  • There are around 50 Soaperheroes in Australia at our Sydney Office. The hero theme is something that runs deep in the agency.
  • Everyone gets their own identity they choose themselves when they start and it’s printed on their business card.
  • Even our meeting rooms get the treatment. Our main meeting room is called the Hall Of Justice. We’ve also got the Escape Pod for emergency meetings. And the mysterious Room X - where anything can happen.
  • This is what theSoaperheroes really look like behind the masks.
  • We also have an office in Los Angeles that we started nearly 4 years ago to service our entertainment clients in the US. The US team is currently around 20 people and while they haven’t made any IRL stuff for clients yet, they did make this awesome...
  • Arcade Game that lets you play Soap flash games!
  • This represents our list of current active clients across both the US and Australian offices. The US is heavily skewed towards entertainment and gaming with clients like 20th Century Fox, Activision, Ubisoft and Namco.In Australia a large part of our business falls under the Unilever umbrella, we manage campaigns and social for all of ice cream, Male and female grooming including Lynx, Impulse and Rexona and Hot and Cold tea.We also work locally for Microsoft, Xbox, Ferrero and this year we became the digital agency of record for ING Direct.
  • This is what we do – all in house. Games are a speciality. And social is an area that has really exploded for us in the last two years - we have a team of four in our Social department who manage over 40 brands on Facebook.
  • This year we’ve added IRL to our wheel…
  • So after 10 years in business, what changed this year that took us off the small screen and into the real world?There were three things.
  • 1. Fame hungry clients
  • 2. Xbox Kinect made their source code available to developers
  • And 3… a little bit of Luck
  • The first thing that changed was a real push from brand managers to be famous.Suddenly there was a greater desire than before to be the most innovative and the most disruptive.I think you can put it down to how much information is shared now. We all have access to breaking campaigns as they happen around the world.The competition is heated and brand managers are all aggressively trying to work their way up the food chain with tighter budgets and tighter deadlines than ever before…
  • There’s something very real and tangible about seeing consumers engaging with your brand activation that no amount of page impressions in the digital world can compete with.Fame when it’s achieved also brings with it the holy grail of marketing – earned media, through industry and traditional press or social media.So Fame was a big factor pushing us to come up with successful ideas IRL.- - - - -In the pursuit of Fame there is also that other F Word
  • … FEAR! It took a leap of Faith from our clients to allow us to venture Into Real Life. It is at times frightening working outside of your safety zone. But it is Fun and rewarding when it all comes off.At Soap we’re privileged to work with clients we can sit down with and have very real conversations about the risk involved vs the potential gain.
  • The quest for FAME and disruption and word of mouth using IRL experiences is nothing new.Remember the first episode of Season 4 MadMen where Peggy hired two actresses to fight over a Sugarberry Ham to generate PR?I’m sure there’s some credible evidence to suggest there’s some truth in that plotline from November 1964 – but I couldn’t find any.Needless to say there are countless examples of advertising stunts in real life.And they can be broken down into two main types…
  • AMBIENTAmbient started to appear as a phrase in popular culture at the end of the 90s.Put simply AMBIENT uses existing spaces in real life but transforms them into advertising….This can be traditional spaces like this, or even simple things like the back of milk cartons or shopping trolleys….
  • Or it can also be defined as non advertising spaces that are transformed into something that relates to a product or brand.AMBIENT ads as the name translates relates to the immediate surroundings of something.
  • Guerilla Marketing on the other hand was coined much earlier by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book from 1984 of the same name.The name is borrowed from Guerrilla Warfare which uses non conventional tactics to achieve a goal in a competitive and unforgiving environment.Originally Gorilla Marketing was all about using unconventional marketing tools and promotions that relied on time, energy and imagination rather than big marketing budgets.
  • The term Guerrilla Marketing is now often used more loosely as a description for any non-traditional media, and includes IRL stuff like Flash Mobs, Pop Up Stores, Reverse Graffiti, Undercover MarketingMy point is there’s a long history of advertising stunts IRL and there are many types of executions. But as the digital world and the real world converge there are new ways to exploit technology in these types of spaces.And the second reason we started to produce work IRL was linked to our experience with technology.
  • We worked on the release of KINECT in Australia for Xbox having won the pitch back in late 2010.So we were lucky enough to get to play it before any consumers in Australia. And while it’s a game, when you play it you really feel like you’re using something that has a lot of practical applications.Soon after the release of KINECT developers started to hack the software and there were some interesting experiments happening.Then Microsoft officially released the software developer kit.As soon as it became available we set aside time for our devs to get in the sandbox and play with it.
  • Then at the end of last year we were working on our Summer campaign for Cornetto who were releasing a new variant – The Cornetto Enigma.
  • We adopted a global TVC which is the usual routine with Unilever. Much to our delight the TVC featured a guy who transforms into giant Teddy Bear character. So if you haven’t seen the Ad, here’s a quick overview… a young beautiful couple are sitting near the beach as everyone does on a perfect summer day.She says honeee why you no show me your soft side no more. He takes a bite of his Cornetto Enigma and is miraculously transformed into a giant teddy bear.Then there’s a fantastical montage of them engaging in a series of crazy loved up antics with a healthy does of tail shaking.We love a good character at Soap it gives you something real online for people to follow and talk to and talk about.And we loved the transformation of the guy into the bear so much thatthe first thought was lets do an augmented reality bear using KINECT that punters can control… so people can reveal their soft side.
  • This is an early mock we used to sell it into the client.We knew from our research that Kinect didn’t work well outside in daylight because the sensor detects infra red light. And since everything in an outdoor environment is bathed in infra red light it’s hard for the sensor to differentiate between objects.That’s why it’s night time in the mock.
  • We wanted to do something that would be displayed on a big screen so it drew a crowd and gave the user a feeling of scale.It was enough to get the client excited.
  • VIDEO LINK: we got sign-off on budget we set ourselves an internal KINECT project to produce a proof of concept.We hold a Monster Art show on Halloween each year at Soap as a creative outlet for the team. Last year one of our designers and a developers teamed up to work on this creepy Jack In The Box.It helped us:Sell in the idea to our clientProvide a knowledgebase for the Enigma BearAnd also provided an interactive IRL experience at our Art ShowThis type of thing is really important for helping to PR your agency too.By posting this sort of stuff on our vimeo page and Facebook page it helps attract new clients and employees.
  • The first thing we did as soon as we did get sign off was get our own bear suit made. Because that’s what you’ve got to do right?It’s a tough world in agency land right now with Above the Line, Digital, PR, Experiential, Content and Point of Sale Agencies often all getting briefed separately and fighting to maintain creative control (and budget) of campaigns.So we figured who ever owns the bear – owns the campaign.This is our Account Director Josh in the Bear.The bear did a trip around Australia as part of the campaign teaching Australian’s how to get in touch with their soft side which we covered on the Facebook page. But that’s a whole other IRL side to the campaign.
  • For our IRL Kinect experience the suit also came in handy for reference when we were creating our 3D model.
  • Once our 3D model was built and the software was thoroughly tested with the Kinect we designed up the User Experience and the branded box that lived IRL.Then we sent it out on two tour of duties:To Fed Square in Melbourne, andThe Future Music Festival in Brisbane
  • VIDEO LINK: lastly to show you what it looked like in the wild here’s the footage we captured at the Future Music Festival in Brisbane.
  • The third and final element that has seen this unprecedented increase in IRL executions at Soap – was luck.Although some say you make your own luck, which may have been the case.
  • We were lucky enough to begin with to get a brief for a new product launch for LYNX.For the first time in LYNX’s history they were releasing a female variant into the market along with a matching male variant.The product name is Anarchy and the brief was to deliver a digital execution that would get Guys and Girls together to Unleash The Chaos
  • VIDEO LINK: came up with a mobile site that encouraged guys and girls to get together by sparking to earn points. To spark they had to get within 50 metres of each other then simultaneously press the spark button to unleash the chaos.This part of the campaign looked like this.
  • The Spark element of the campaign was well received and as luck would have it our winners were from a little town in remote Queensland called Longreach.This is Brenno from Locko’s Army the group leader.
  • Lucky for us our client wasn’t happy enough with JUST the mobile execution. He wanted something bigger, more innovative, more disruptive and something IRL!
  • We had ideas that were Augmented Reality ideas
  • We had ideas that involved motion sensor projection executions…
  • But lucky for us we had recently been at an industry night where a production company called Finch presented some experimental work they were doing with 3D glasses.We organised a visit and went over to their studio to talk about LYNX. They had a couple of different things they were doing with 3D technology.
  • 3D glasses work simply by filtering two different images being projected at the same time on different polaroid axis. So you see only the left image in your left eye, and the right image in your right eye.One idea they were working on is taking that approach with whole glasses instead of individual eyes, so you have two lenses that see one image in one pair of glasses. And you have two lenses that see a different image. So you could have pink glasses for girls to watch one version of an ad and blue glasses for guys to see a different version ad while they’re both watching the same screen.They were also working on bifocal 3D glasses, so if you tilt your head up you see one image, if you tilt it down you can see another image. So you can get a feel for the possibilities we were imagining.But the luckiest part happened after the meeting was over.Their head of tech, a guy called EmadTahtou said come and check this out and he showed us this computer LCD screen he had hacked.See every LCD screen has a polarising filter on it. If you take that polarising filter off, the screen just shows white light. But if you put on a pair of polarised sunglasses – presto you can see the image.That was the innovation we were looking for.
  • So we started jamming ideas and we thought what about a giant white screen in a public space that when you put on the glasses you
  • Unleash the chaos.And we all really liked this idea, butThe size of the screen looked expensive, andIt felt kind of mainstream
  • So we kicked it around a little more and thought what if we take smaller screens and put them in the windows of a real terrace house in inner SydneyAnd each window would have its own voyeuristic piece of chaos that was taking place because every man and woman in this house had sprayed on LYNX anarchyResulting in fatal attraction
  • And that is how the World’s First Invisible Ad was born.
  • And this is the original sketch drawn on a serviette for what we envisaged in each window.You can see in the bottom right hand corner a woman and man cooking dinner have left a pot burning on the stove.The fire has set off a sprinkler in the top left apartment and the couple there have adapted to the spontaneous wet moment while their pet bird has flown the coop.Across the hall upstairs the lovers have left the Iron on while downstairs the bath has overflowed and the pet dog is swimming for his life.Chaos everywhere.
  • The idea started to evolve more as we got into casting.You can see the character of the animal catcher taking shape here…
  • And it all really solidified when we found our perfect location.We had another location that had been locked in before this but the owner pulled out suddenly 2 weeks out.Which was lucky. It gave us a bit more time to perfect the experience. Also we had already had to reduce the number of windows from 8 to 6 for budget reasons. The first location had 8 windows so it would’ve looked kind of half assed to only have 6 of 8 windows filled.This location was perfect and it was located just off Sydney’s famous Oxford Street where there’s heaps of foot traffic on a Friday evening.So again good fortune was smiling on us.
  • So we spent a day with Finch filming the content to go in the windows at a terrace house so we didn’t have to dress a set too much and at a pool to capture the dog.The baboon was stock footage. It was a little tough trying to find an available baboon on short notice.The images were all treated in post to include water from the fire sprinklers, feathers, bubbles and fire.We had to reduce the size of the fire in the kitchen because council were worried someone would think there was a real fire…Even though you couldn’t see the fire without the glasses…
  • The last thing to do was design up custom sunglasses that were given out during the event.There was no difference between the pink and blue sunnies – they were coloured differently to tie back to the product.They were just plain polarised glasses that both simply replaced the polarised film that we removed from the 6 screens fitted in the windows of the Terrace house.
  • VIDEO LINK: here’s what it looked like IN REAL LIFE (case study video).
  • Cornetto Enigma- 55,000 new Facebook fans- 50,000 Shazams from the TVC- 270,000 YT views of Future Music VidLYNX- 32,000 sparks on mobile- 470,000 YT views of Invisible Ad- 65% increase in sales of LYNX
  • 1. Make time for playtime2. Make your own luck3. Seek out creative partners4. Music managers are f@%cked5. People are more fun when they’re drunk
  • So that’s it really, thanks to some fame hungry clients, our technology background and a bit of luck and self propelled opportunity… we got to work on some cool stuff in real life this year that was also effective.
  • I want to finish by saying a big thank you to the committee of the Perth Advertising and Design Club for inviting me here to judge the Awards and speak.Thank you for making me feel very welcome.It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve met some very cool cats.Thanks.
  • In Real Life (IRL)

    1. 1. I’mBradMan
    2. 2. Clients
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    8. 8. Results IRL• 55,000 new Facebook fans• 50,000 Shazams from the TVC• 270,000 YT views of Future Music Vid• 32,000 sparks on mobile• 470,000 YT views of Invisible Ad• 65% increase in sales of LYNX
    9. 9. Top 5 Learnings IRL1. Make time for playtime2. Make your own luck3. Seek out creative partners4. Music managers are f@%cked5. People are more fun when they’re drunk