LONDON, HOLLYWOOD and NEW YORK - (May 24, 2010) - The principals of award-winning digital creative agency Ralph (www.ralphandco.com) are very proud to detail their latest project, the official www.iamrogue.com/macgruber website launched on April 23 for feature film comedy "MacGruber" from Rogue Pictures. Starring Will Forte, Ryan Phillippe, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer and Maya Rudolph, "MacGruber" debuted in theaters across the U.S. on May 21, and will begin U.K. release on June 18.
"This is the first complete website we have produced for a major studio release, and we've applied our experiences seeing how effective digital content can be when it becomes an interactive extension of the movie or show, and allows audiences to get to know and engage with main characters in a strategic narrative context," explained Jay Armitage, Ralph's co-founder and director. A member of Facebook's Preferred Developer Consultant Program, the young agency has so far earned a BAFTA Craft Award, BIMA Awards for Best Entertainment Site and Best Use of Viral, and their promotional site for AMC's "Breaking Bad" was an Official Nominee in the 14th Annual Webby Awards ("Best Use of Video or Moving Image" category).
In collaboration with Universal Pictures marketing executives, Ralph's co-founder and creative director Chris Hassell, creative team Gregor Stevenson and Chris Stack, and art director Iain Barrington-Light began by designing and producing content for a teaser site, which launched on the Rogue Pictures website in January. Commencing from there to build out the full site, Ralph's creatives focused-in on ideas that would help build awareness of the movie by getting people talking about it, interacting with it and spreading the content.
Given access to the film's principal talent for a full day, the agency jumped into scripting and producing the original content featured in the site's opening, where visitors can participate in a bomb disposal game by passing MacGruber items to help him diffuse a giant bomb. In the finished site, which provides deep background on the film's story and characters, presents the trailers, offers downloads, a soundboard, and innovative games, Ralph's green screen content of MacGruber heightens the interactive experiences.
"The idea for the green screen shoot was embraced very enthusiastically by our clients, as a means of engaging people in the film's storyline in exciting ways," Armitage added. "They have widely used that footage, as well as our other ideas and content, with their media partners and in other campaign facets."
According to Stevenson, other than trying to get the prop of a bomb into the 30 Rock studio for their shoot, the biggest challenge Ralph faced on the project was creating a script that complemented the movie and felt like an authentic part of MacGruber's world. "We worked closely with the movie's creators to ensure there was a consistent tone of voice throughout," he said. "Beyond that, integrating Will's performance with the interactive elements was quite a unique thing to pull off. On a project like this, which was so technically challenging, we kept sight on trying to make people laugh."
Ralph's live-action green screen footage was captured using a Sony PMW-EX3 camera system. The HD digital footage was recorded to the camera's SxS PRO Memory Card, which was inserted straight into one of the agency's Mac workstations, edited and graded in Final Cut Pro. Keying was handled in Shake. For their other deliverables, Ralph's team used a sophisticated software toolset that included Adobe's Flash 10, Eclipse, FDT Enterprise and PureMVC.
Ralph's project team also included designer Josh McCartney, producer Nicola Campbell, and Flash developer Tom Bandy.
Lean, nimble, proven and oddly named, Ralph is a new breed of digital creative agency. Since launching in London in 2006, we've created some of the world's most innovative and engaging digital content. For example, our 2007 viral campaign for the first season of "Dexter" earned BIMA's Best Use of Viral Award, AdFreak's Freakiest Advertising Moment of 2007 Award, many complaints from the public and several police interviews. After landing a BAFTA Craft Award in 2009 for our creative contributions to E4's "Dead Set," we opened new studios in New York and Los Angeles. And in 2010, we were named among the 49 companies in Facebook's Preferred Developer Consultant Program... although to be quite honest, we're still just getting started. For more information, please visit www.ralphandco.com.