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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : September October 2007
FUTU RE WATCH The QR Code Sony’s amazing new EyeToy camera brings the subject matter to life Interact with dragons and robots as if they are real LESS SECOND LIFE,MORE LIFE 1.0 Eric Phu, head of digital at Euro RSCG 4D, and a lecturer with the AFA AdSchool delivers a wake-up call for agency creatives who think web 2.0 makes it all a walk in the park IF THERE’S ONE THING I HATE, it is lazy di gital c reative. The problem is, there i s so much of i t. Take for example, the current trend of s lap- pin g a T VC on a webpage , and then callin g it a viral digi tal cam- paign. That is about as so phisticat- ed as h aving an announcer reading a radio script in front of the camera, and calling it a TV ad. At the dawn of th is new er a, labelled Web 2. 0, i t’s no wo nder then that the consumer ha s be en voted both A d Agency of th e Ye ar (by Ad Age), and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for exact ly th e same reason. Advertising i s so e asy that anyone can do it. And they can do it better than the professionals. So wh ere do es th is leave us? Right now, the consumer is making creative agencies look out of touch, out of date, and complete- ly irrelevant. Why i s this ? Because the tempta- tion is always to use the co ncepts and ideas we are most familiar with. For the online world, that would be the TV and print mediums before it. The danger is that we become so bereft of creativity that we ch urn out brochures disguised as websites, TVCs d ressed up a s viral pieces, and a dvertorials masqu erading as blogs. Old ideas dressed up in new buzz words. Consider this a wake-up call. The real cha lle nge for u s i s to look beyond current fads such as Second Life (which itself is the latest incar- nat ion of the ol d Virtual Realit y idea), or MySpace and blogs (which are the late st e volution of “we b rings” and web community building tools like Geocities). They a ll h ave th e same f law in making a fundamental a ssumption from the radio and TV days – that the c onsumer is the 21st Century 8 CAM PA I GN B RIE F equivalent of the couch potato, for- ever glued in front of an electronic box. In today’s world “ wireles s” means a wor ld without bein g t ied down. A world where any informa - tion is a vailable anywhere, a t a ny time. Why are we still using con- cepts from a time wh en ‘wireless’ meant the big box i n th e l iving room that the radio came out of? We are st arting to emerge f rom the radio-announcer-in-front-of-a- camera phas e, and a whole n ew world of creativity lie s before us if we are brave enough to st ray f rom the tried and tested formulas. One of the best pioneering efforts that gives us a glimpse of the future is t he ‘I love bees’ ca mpai gn by Microsoft, to l aunch their Ha lo 2 Xbox game. The or iginal Halo game was Micros oft ’s b igges t blo ckbus ter title, and the plot revolved around a future alien invasion. In bu ilding the hype arou nd t he sequel, a webs ite wi th t he ad dress of www.ilovebees.com w as lea ked to fans. Visitors to the site would find a rather amateurish page developed by a r etired school te acher called Margaret, discussing her l ove of beekeeping. As the launc h day for H alo 2 approached, the website began to behave strangely – images b ecame disto rted, myst erio us error mes - sages appeared randomly – all later revealed to be an attem pted mes - sage from the future warning of an impending a lien i nvasion. Be fore long, the bulletin b oards and chat rooms became obsessed with dis - cussing the mystery, and collabora- tively piecing together the clues. Immersion into the mythology of Halo became more complete a s i t started to manifest itself in the real world: specific phone booths would ring with the next message from the future (with live actors on the other side), actual treas ure h unts an d physica l chall enges aro und the country to unite the gaming com- munity to s hare t heir d iscover ies and collectively solve the mystery. After three months of suspe nding reality for that of Halo, th e twists and turns in the plot came to a cli- max on the launch day of Halo 2 – and seamlessly integrated wi th t he opening scenes of the game. Ambitious? Yes. Complex? Yes. Effective? Absolutely. Halo 2’ s opening day made $125 million – not even the most success- ful of Hollywood bl ockbusters has manag ed t o mat ch that feat . Another tantalising opportunity for interactivity is the increasingly com- mon digital camera. Japan has pio - neered a barcode technology known as the QR Code – which basically looks like a small square composed of random dots. Bi llboards, magazines, po int o f sale materials – basically an ything you can stick a QR code on – now have these barcodes ap pearing on them. The magic h appens when consume rs u se t heir internet - enabled camera phones t o take a photo of the QR code, and the dots are tran slat ed into compu ter instructions (Let’s n ot fo rget tha t we’r e talking about Jap an h ere… internet access via mo bile is th e most common form of in ternet access). So snapping a movie poster out- side the cinema will instantly bring up the relevant trailer. A shot from a magazine promotion wi ll auto- matica lly register y our entry. A photo of a billboard wil l guide you to the nearest dealership or store to purchase this season’s fashion. This technology is also a l ot closer to Australia than you may think - t he re centl y lau nched Nokia N95, comes built in with QR code tech- nology and a GPS locat or, so we should expect to see this t rend on our own shores. However the c reative potential is even more interesting when we look at the next evolu tion of the QR code. There is a growing new field called ‘augmented reality’, which is less abo ut creating fake ‘v irtual worlds’ like Second Life, and more about blurring the lines b etween fiction and reality to make the real world more fantastical. Whe n Sony releas es thei r n ew EyeToy vi deo came ra for t he PlayStation 3 later this ye ar, a c ard game called Eye of Judgement will be coming with it. On eac h card is embedded a QR-like co de. Wh en these are placed in fro nt o f the EyeToy camera, d ragons, r obots and monsters burs t i nto l ife on screen, and users are able to inter- act with these virtual creations as if they were real. This is the technology being used for a child’s toy (albeit an expensive one!). For the current generation growing up, this is normal. From a marketing perspective, it’s not diffi- cult to see the potential. Imagine the ability to ha ve a virtual car that you could manipulate and explore as part of a magazine ad, or a book that brings the subject matter to life through 3D animation. What about users being able to have a physical game of soccer with a virtual Ronaldo at the latest Nike bus stop ad, courtesy of their internet enabled mobile phone camera. Far fetched? A more practical application has already be en installed at Paris fashion s tore, Au Printemps. It’s called Le Miroir Magique and cus- tomers are able to try on a range of clothing just by standing in front of the magic mirror. That fantastical augmented world is already upon us , whether we like it or not. In the same way an entire (MTV) ge neration was raised by television (and shaped it as much as it shaped them), we are on the cusp of a new generation that has never known a world without digital tech- nology a t thei r f ingertips. They have access to any type of informa- tion, any time, anywhere - they will not need to spend their entire life in front of a screen to experience it. The lens through which they view their world wil l be like no other generation before it and therefore, the way they think, behave and act will be like no other generation before it. The exciting opportunity for us is therefore how we can use this singular period in time to chal- lenge some fundamental marketing assumptions, and pioneer new ways of ad ver tising that t echn ol og y enables. Li ke an y good seduct ion, i t’s about intriguing and delighting the consumer with surprises to encour- age rapport, interaction and mean- ingful dialogue. It is about a mind- set shift in how digital can be used to unl eash crea tivity acr oss all mediums, and not a check box to be ticked on a creative brief. If we don’t make this shift, we will become completely irrelevant in the face of a user generated, web 2.0 world. Consider this a wake-up call. SE PT E MBE R/OCTOB E R 2 007
November December 2007
July August 2007