Each time a new gadget craze sweeps the Internet, there's a high probability that the movers and shakers in the advertising world will be among its earliest (and most enthusiastic) adopters ⎯ especially if the brand name "Apple" is attached. When the tech giant released its interactive iPad tablet in May, developers and producers working in the ad space immediately began to explore its implications on filmmaking.
Santa Monica-based production company Tool of North America responded to the release of the iPad by producing "Touching Stories," a series of four interactive live action shorts that allow viewers to touch, move, shake and turn the screen to seemingly control the outcome of each story. Available as a free downloadable app from the iTunes store in June, the film series launched with an exclusive behind-the-scenes feature on Fast Company magazine's website.
"Touching Stories" leverages the interactivity of the iPad to expand the ways a film director is able to tell a story, but the concept also has implications in the realm of branded consumer experiences. With that in mind, Tool turned to its longtime PR company TRUST to get the attention of a very specific audience during the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival: the top creative minds in advertising.
Rather than plot a traditional PR effort aimed solely at the ad trades, TRUST opted to go directly to its target audience utilizing all relevant social media channels. An unconventional film project deserves an unconventional PR strategy, so TRUST came up with the concept for a multipronged guerrilla PR effort that included designing and developing a website: haveyoubeenshortlisted.com to engage social influencers, trade press and key creatives at some of the largest and most respected agencies in the United States and Europe.
TRUST embarked on a massive data cull which required them to come up with a list of 500 leading advertising influencers and collect their personal information from a variety of social media channels; including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Armed with this information, TRUST then developed HaveYouBeenShortlisted.com that consisted of a collage of 500 thumbnail faces. Visitors could scroll over the photos to enlarge them and link to the subject's social networking pages. TRUST staffers manned the campaign's Twitter feed and engaged with Cannes related Facebook pages, posting updates like "We got tickets for the Shots party", "Can't wait for Massive Music" and "What's the deal with this haveyoubeenshortlisted site?" The homepage also integrated Facebook's "Like" feature and other share options so visitors could spread the word far and wide. The guerrilla campaign drove traffic and generated buzz among industry associations, bloggers and tweeters.
During the week-long festival, contenders were whittled down in phases, their photos blurred out and hyperlinks deactivated. Once the 15 pre-selected winners were finalized, the TRUST team tracked down each one in Cannes and surprised them with a free iPad preloaded with Tool's "Touching Stories" app. The TRUST team, armed with still and video cameras on the ground in Cannes captured the deliveries and then posted it on the campaign site.
With the lucky few in possession of their new gadgets, the campaign site was redesigned to showcase the winners with the additional participants faded out in the background. Winners included Ogilvy, New York Chief Creative Officer Lars Bastholm; Wieden+Kennedy, Portland Interactive Creative Director Iain Tait; Leo Burnett Chief Creative Officer Susan Credle; Mother Creative Director Nicke Bergstrom; droga5 Executive Creative Director Ted Royer and Crispin Porter + Bogusky's Director of Integrated Production David Rolfe.
Just as social media channels and interactive devices such as the iPad are offering filmmakers new set of tools to tell stories, so too are these channels challenging and empowering PR firms to bypass traditional media outlets and directly engage their target audiences.
TRUST is a full-service public relations firm specializing in online PR, syndication and web development for brands within the advertising community. With offices in New York City and Los Angeles, TRUST manages high-profile brands, launches new companies and talent, and helps clients make the digital space their own.
*excerpted from an original article by Kevin Ritchie feat'd on TheFWA