— THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

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Tag "Interactive Storytelling"

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I’m an unavowed fan of Forsman & Bodenfors. While remaning resolutely Swedish in their outlook, their philosophy and output blends digital nous with creative inventiveness and a focus on craft that is hard to beat anywhere in the world. But I find their most recent piece somewhat of a missed opportunity to build a fully integrated digital and film storytelling device. As much because the potential of this idea, is the equal of one of my favorite pieces of creative in the last few years (for the same client; Volvo.) North Kingdom’s ‘Cross Country Travels’ platform.

Leave The World Behind is a collaboration between Volvo and Swedish House Mafia. While not exactly over familiar with Swedish House Mafia’s oeuvre, it’s hard to ignore their international success and place at the center of the exploding EDM movement here in the United States. The collective has now split up to pursue other opportunities (by the sounds of it, Playing MSG to a bunch of bro’s isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – who knew?) Volvo saw an opportunity to create a campaign around this moment, imbuing it with a sense of grandeur and pathos not usually afforded to DJ’s & producers. It’s a smart bit of tactical strategic thinking, placing the brand at the center of a very contemporary piece of culture.

The resultant film – ‘Leave The World Behind’ is a beautifully realized piece that sees the three protagonists go their separate ways and follow their own paths, with help from Volvo’s luxury cars; all soundtracked by a spaced out version of the title track (One of their most famous songs and their ‘breakout’.) Sweden looks suitably epic and sparse, the cinematography giving the film an epic that befits the level of success they enjoyed. It’s part ad, part film, part music video, and it’s great.

But what lets this down is the digital experience. The website (www.leavetheworldbehind.com) has some really nice design touches, and feels immersive and overall well considered, but it also feels like a vessel for video itself, nothing more. It doesn’t contextulise their (or the brands’) story in any way. The journey that the Swedish House Mafia have been on is clearly one of a scale very few performers get to these days (whatever you think of their music.) And ties them closer to the brand than mere ‘Swedishness’. Their significance could be bought to life as a storytelling experience, augmented by avalanche of multimedia that exists around them. User generated and beyond. By ignoring their past in the main interactive piece, it lessens the impact of the film, and creates a disjointed effect. It lessens the drama that the film is trying to elicit. Which itself augments a weak call to action, which seems like a classic case of just sticking a hashtag on something and loosely gathering social sentiment. Whereas it should be generating the very nostalgia that the powers the myth and memory of the band.

You may ask why this is a problem. Well, I’m sure for many, it isn’t, and I might be picking on something disproportionally (which is not my intention.) But it highlights a problem that I’ve been investigating (see tomorrow’s blogpost for more…) of just sticking things ‘on’ the internet as opposed to building things ‘with’ the internet. By avoiding building a digital storytelling experience around this (albeit) beautiful film, we are robbed of the emotional resonance that an interactive, immersive digital experience could bring to the brand and band. What we are left with is an advert that happens to exist on the web, which is a missed opportunity all concerned.

(Via Creativity. )

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With such a strong brand behind them, Amnesty International are always coming up with novel, creative ways to get their (traditionally0 hard-hitting message across.

But, sometimes those messages can be somewhat preaching to the converted. That’s why this idea from the Amnesty and Activision (creators of the Call Of Duty series) is smart, and in some ways, hopefully more effective in spreading their message.

Anybody who even has a passing interest in gaming will be aware that the Call of Duty series is somewhat of phenomenon. The previous ‘Black Ops’ addition to the series was the highest grossing entertainment product in the 2010. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 broke records itself, and the anticipation for the game was pretty self-evident to anybody who walked past a HMV store the weeks of release. However (as this film touches on), it’s really the ‘stickiness’ of the game that provides the biggest opportunity. Online, players are spending hours completing extra game maps and linking online with players around the world.

Here’s where the power of Amnesty’s message steps in. Supplanting their own ‘map’ into the online experience. Now it’s not just about saving the world from Nuclear disaster, or despotic rogue Russian heavies, it’s about helping victims of war crimes and torture escape their captors. Players buy the Amnesty map on the Playstation store and are instantly transported into the narrative. The hyper realism that CoD prides itself on, becomes the most valuable asset in bringing visually to life the suffering of victims and the visceral danger that these victims are constantly under.

I could imagine that there would be critics of this approach, potentially seeing that their message was being diluted with it’s inclusion in a ‘video game’. But as the gaming continues it’s march from geek pursuit to mainstream entertainment platform, the power of these games to create narratives that smart brands can disrupt and twist, is all too real. Amnesty have taken this to the next level. I for one, am excited to see this in action.

(Via Edward Boches)

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Mid-way through 2011, the formation of PARTY was announced. The brainchild of some of Japan’s and New York’s most interesting Interactive Creative Directors, including Masashi Kawamura, (he of SOUR fame), as well as creative from W+K Tokyo, BBH and beyond, it caused quite a stir. (Their inception is covered in far more detail here on Creativity).

With this sort of firepower, their first projects were eagerly awaited. They have not disappointed. I originally had a whole post set up just on the Toyota ‘Fastest Painted Website’ concept, but having seen the newest work for Japanese band Androp; it seems only right to bundle this creativity in one easily digestible morsel.

PARTY is developing quite the folio of work. Blending mystery with storytelling, with online and offline experiences, a commitment to pushing the technology, mashing together business models and shot through with humanity and charm. Their new work for Androp expands on all these themes. “World.Words.Lights.You” is music video/advert, and potential merchandising behemoth. With the cutest robots this side of the Little PrinterThese cute robot types have a dual role. To bring a smile to your face, and a crisp note out of your wallet, as the sale of these robots (on eBay) is what constitutes the revenue stream for the agency. (Note the lack of the word ‘fee’ there). Shifting their model as they go is both smart (I can’t imagine many creatives who wouldn’t want one of those toys), as well as typical of what you would expect from guys as smart and forward thinking as this lot.

All in all, just another reason to follow PARTY closely.

The obligatory ‘making of’ film.

(P.S. This isn’t the first time that PARTY and Androp have collaborated. See ‘Bell’ for further details…)

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Panel by Jack Kirby

We Feel Fine, was one of the first truly unique explorations of the psyche of the Internet. A hugely influential (and beautiful) piece of work. Now, it’s creator, Johnathan Harris, is back in the digital storytelling fray with a new concept; Cow Bird.

Although still under wraps, Harris, in this interview with Frog Design begins to explain some of the thoughts behind the idea (that has taken over two years to craft). The over-arching thought is based around the re-configuring and re-vitalising storytelling as a long form narrative in the digital space. Harris thought goes that ‘real time’ social networks have eroded a storytelling to a series of ‘fragmentary reactions to things’. The ambition of the project is in effect to slow the pace down of online storytelling so the elements have time to gestate, and resonate.

CowBird uses fragments of peoples lives to tell long-form stories online using photos, sound maps, timelines, videos, and casts of characters. Creating in effect, a ‘meta story’ where other peoples stories interact and thread together based on their commonalities.

It’s worth reading the full interview, as Harris delves deeper and deeper into the thinking that goes behind this. But, it most certainly sounds like an intriguing project, and a must see when it finally arrives on our computers.

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BlaBla is a wonderful interactive story using the full gamut of the browser experience. Each stage of the journey expresses a core principle of Human communication. The film, conceived by filmmaker Vincent Morisset. (and team) the beauty in this is in the immersive audio visual experience, and the gloriously subtle interactive touches that govern and control each chapter and character (just move the cursor around the eyes, see what I mean)

I love things like this, not only because they are obviously labours of love, but the interaction is used to please and surprise at every turn. Inspiring stuff.

(Via Please Enjoy)

 

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