On my way to E3. Should be in the door between 12 and 1 pm pacific. My partners and I will be broadcasting live via our iPhones and Qik. I’ll be buzzing around capturing everything from Project Natal to Dante’s Inferno to Halo 3: ODST as long as my battery life and network provides. You can watch my live feeds here or head on over to my Qik homepage at http://qik.com/bigboots to interact and make me be your subservient broadcaster. Follow me via twitter @Bigboots to catch my broadcast start time.
Google rocks the launch of their Chrome browser with 11 Short Films on YouTube. The shorts highlight the browser’s features with a unique interpretive presentation that captures the attention of the Internet generation. They are fine examples of a smart and stimulating way to educate and entertain.
Where did the alligator go? Many moons ago the rage amongst my peers was all about Lacoste. The 80’s, the summer of preteen love, the summer I wiped out on my friends moped in front of my crush wearing a new Lacoste sweater. Ahhh… Jackass comes to mind. Never did get the girl.
In the 80’s, Lacoste was at the top of the food chain amongst the mall rats – but the brand’s inability to market to changing trends led it down a path that left it stuck in the Preppy Handbook.
Well, there is hope. It is the year of change, after all. The new “Lacoste Red” website uses a combination of interactive video and sick beats to bring it back into the realm of cool. Shot by Terry Richardson on what appears to be the Red One; the site starts you off with full screen slow motion footage that reveals the essence of free spirit. Energetic, effortless motion brought to life with vibes that make you want to move while speaking to its core message of modern style. I’m not going to dust off my glow sticks, but my feet are tapping.
Besides the tight transitions, footage and music, the site adorns a variety of community sharing features: an iPhone app, and the obligatory wallpaper and screensaver downloads. The site also features a mini-game based on the ever so popular Guitar Hero. Choose the style you want to play with and off you go on a keyboard-tapping extravaganza. Not an original concept, in fact a little tired, but speaks to the demo nonetheless.
With lots to interact with, ultimately it is the transitions, video and music that elevate the brand into the now. Muffy, I might replace that sweater after all.
If you are a casual or hardcore gamer there is little doubt in my mind that you haven’t heard of Killzone 2. Guerrilla Games, Sony and Deutsch have been hard at work to elevate the perception of the Killzone franchise from its mediocre debut.
The cinematics initially drew me into the continuation of the epic war between the ISA and the Helghast. After reviewing the gameplay, my mouse was pushed a few pixels closer to the buy button. However, it wasn’t until I learned the latest commercial, “Behind the Bullet” (directed by Loni Peristere of Zoic Studios) was entirely produced using the game’s engine on the PS3, that I was sold.
When it comes to marketing games, CGI cinematics serve their purpose to generate excitement. However, all too often gamers are let down when they see or get a chance to demo gameplay. The beauty of the “Behind the Bullet” spot is that the rendering farm has been removed from the picture. It communicates the story while revealing the actual look and feel of the gameplay in a single thirty second spot. No smoke and mirrors; what you see is what you get.
The commercial brings you up front and center, delivering a breath holding experience from a moment in Helghan time via a true representation of in-game graphics, effects, and sound. In the heart of combat the camera emerges from the eye of a battle hardened ISA soldier. He squeezes off several rounds as the camera pulls back to follow the bullet on a path of destiny. Riding the bullets rift, the camera moves to several unique vantage points, taking us on a journey across the bloodied battlefield to reveal the awesome power of the game’s engine and the incredible work done by the Guerrilla crew. From eye to eye the bullet rests. Hark the raven…
Just when you think the fun is over, that’s not it. An interactive version of the commercial first came to my attention via Scott Steinberg on the PlayStation blog. On the PlayStation Network you will find one of the coolest features to come along with a promotional download yet. Guerrilla puts you in control of the camera. You can adjust the camera angle to fly through the core of exploding debris, slow the action down to a creep and gaze upon the extraordinary detail or blast into overdrive to maximize the bullet’s impact. My favorite part was adjusting the camera angle to see how the bullet affected the blood red light emanating from the Helghan eyes. You can even utilize debug mode to toggle the lighting, post effects, bump maps, and shininess of reflective materials. Another cool highlight is that you can turn on commentary from the Director – Loni Peristere, the Art Director – Jan Bart van Beek and the Lead Tech Artist – Paulus Bannink, for valuable insight on the making of…definitely worth a listen.
Recently my partner in crime, Matt, wrote a blog post covering YouTube’s Insight features. One feature in the tool set that is often overlooked is Hot Spots. Insight Hot Spots record the engagement of viewers at any moment compared to other videos of similar length, measuring your video’s ability to retain audience attention. The data is extrapolated and plotted on a hot or cold graph that provides a visual showing when viewers dropped off or rewound your video. For more information see Insight Hot Spots.
Being that Insight Hot Spots quantify audience attention based on videos of similar length, I chose three videos from our 2008 interactive choose your own adventure holiday card. The lengths are not exactly the same, but the data provides some valuable lessons.
The first two I want to review are “Sensei Santa”, runtime 1:43, and “The Way of the Santa”, runtime 3:11. Each show a steady decline in the audience attention graph from the start with a slight rise when the action picks up. When reviewing the Hot Spots in the third video, “Santa’s The One”, we see a much different landscape. The graph stays above average and drastically spikes when Santa takes a bite out of a cookie while he is holding Agent Smith back. The video continues to hold the audience above average with viewers dropping off at the end. When comparing all three graphs with the content presented, the message was clear.
THE WAY OF SANTA:
SANTA’S THE ONE:
Both “Sensei Santa” and “The Way of the Santa” start off slow, building to climax with a final joke. In each case, a fair amount of our viewers dropped off before the conclusion, the payoff. Our community responded well to both of the clips, the ratings were high, but the content failed to appeal to a broad audience. It succeeded by connecting with those who are fans or can identify with the two Kung Fu movies. However, it lacked the early spark to maintain viewers that are less familiar with the subject matter or who don’t have the patience. The YouTube generation has grown accustomed to on demand entertainment, with an appetite for speed and to the point content at the click of a button. With online short form video content, creators need to hook their audience early and continue to maintain audience expectations throughout. Hot topic or not, it is essential for content creators to build on anticipation of the resolution in order for their story to be heard.
With “Santa’s The One”, granted Neo is much more of a in the know topic than Bruce Lee and Ralph Macchio, I would argue that the curiosity in seeing Santa as Neo in the famous Agent Smith battle grabbed the users’ attention. However, what kept them from leaving the scene that our viewers have most likely watched several times was the carrot or the cookie. Looking at the graph you will notice the attention spike around 1:02, Santa’s glorious, “Get in my belly!” cookie moment. Viewers rewinding the video to re-watch the segment created the spike in attention. By dangling the cookie halfway through the video we created anticipation for more, for what’s next. This reengaged our viewers, holding them to the end, allowing for our story to be communicated.
With YouTube’s Hot Spots brands and content creators have the power to see what works and what should fall to rest on the editing room floor. It provides meaningful insight to make educated decisions that help ensure your message is being communicated, potentially leading to cost savings and increased profits. When it comes to your story, it is not necessarily about what you want, it is about what connects with your audience.
YouTube has now decided that in order to survive, they’re going to need to offer premium content like Hulu. This isn’t a surprise considering that YouTube has struggled to monetize videos on their site, but what is surprising is the manner in which YouTube is changing their fundamental design – by featuring more premium, commercial content. UGC content, which is the backbone of YouTube, is now relegated to a secondary role on the site. Sure 99.5% of the community videos on YouTube are barely watchable crap but it’s OUR barely watchable crap. How will the new HuluTube community respond? Most likely, they’ll move on to another platform or community where they feel their voice can be heard and aren’t reduced to second fiddle.
So what other video networks might this ostracized flock migrate to? My guess is there will be an uptick in members on some of the other UGC based online video sites like Veoh and Vimeo. However, I think the real winners out there will be the interactive online video sites like Justin.TV and Ustream. Ustream is already one of the top 5 most visited online video sites globally after YouTube and its recent announcement of its iPhone app has it poised to be the next gen heir to HuluTube’s crown.
IMO, the same shift and explosive growth we saw with real time interaction like Twitter is a similar shift that’s already occurring with interactive real-time video like Ustream.
Midgets and Mexican Wrestlers, oh my. Recently I stumbled across an interactive video advergame execution by Tribal DDB Paris for Airwaves, a Wrigley chewing gum. In the game you are El Invencible Chlorophyllo, a Mexican wrestler who gets his power form the secret ingredients in Airwaves. The evil Dr. Negra and his pack of marauding maniac midget wrestlers are out to steal the ingredient and once and for all bring Chlorophyllo to his knees.
Complete with a story mode, arcade mode and leader board, the adver-game repurposes footage from the 1971 Mexican film, “Los Campeones Justicieros – The Champions of Justice” to drive its interactive narrative path. Check out the original films climax, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1GI1XxbFf4, apparently the film served as the inspiration for Nacho Libre, starring Jack Black.
In the game the user simply has to smash on one side of the keyboard or the other at the appropriate time to deliver a body blow, climb up the side of a mountain, avoid from falling off the roof of a car and even toss midgets. Although midgets and Mexican wrestlers is not necessarily an original idea, the interactive execution is well done.
As the plot of the original film is ridiculously hilarious, complete with lucha action, a mad scientist, scantly clad women, cheesy effects and super strong midgets the B-Film classic lowers the users expectations for shot continuity. This creates a forgiving audience and provides a great comedic stage for creative interactive editing. Who cares if one minute you’re a hundred feet from the top of the mountain struggling to make it to the next branch and the next your crawling onto the edge of the road? Chloromenthol Power!
Nice abs my fellow French men and ladies. Time for me to go kick some ass; I am as strong as 16 bulls, 4 chilies and 7 tractors. See if you can top that. Check the game out at http://www.chlorophyllo.fr/en/index.html.
It is no secret that the online video audience is on the rise. Audiences are leaving behind traditional digital broadcast for choice, the ability to play, and the ability to customize their experience across a sea of interactive touch points. According to Nielsen Online, 116.7 million unique viewers watched streaming video in December, 73 percent of active Web Users. According to comScore there was a 13% surge in December for U.S. online video viewing, a 16% spike in the French online video audience in the past year. In terms of where online users are going to watch video, YouTube remains the king, however other properties are steadily gaining their share, notably Yahoo, Fox Interactive Media and Hulu. As viewers change where they view video, so changes how they consume and interact with video.
Recently the upcoming CBS television series Harper’s Island, scheduled to air April 9th, stepped into the interactive realm to draw us curious online content hungry media suckers into its domain of mystery with Harper’s Globe. Without going into too much background, the Globe is an online supplement or prequel to the broadcast show Harper’s Island. It revolves around Robin Matthews, a recent college grad. She takes a job to digitize the islands newspaper archives as well as build a social network on the papers website. After sorting through boxes of dusty articles she comes across a story of a hack and slash maniac that made everyone squeal like a stuck pig once upon a time.
The content thus far is captivating, but what makes the Harper Globe’s interactive foray a step above past attempts to provide supplemental online content is the approach. Having launched weeks before the air of the TV series, the site presents a truly social web series. The shows cast provides fresh content on a daily basis, videos, and blog updates. Fans can join the shows social network and follow the pack in a web of murderous intrigue. Posting content, commenting and interacting with the shows characters. If that is not enough, you can even investigate a little deeper into Robin’s past on her college blog. What I dig most is that the creators of this interactive endeavor were smart enough to wrap up daily video posts on weekly basis. Slapping on a tidy bow so those who don’t have time to follow every snippet or just jump on the wagon after the ship sailed can be brought up to speed. No one likes to feel alienated, unless you feed off anger and self-pity. For better or worse, I believe for the better, Harper’s Globe is a sign of what lies ahead for today’s demanding audiences.
Now that I have given my love, I have a few bones to pick with my crow beak. First off, where is the Facebook Connect or MySpace ID? One new subscriber could mean hundreds more exposed to the CBS campaign. When it comes to community ventures outside of the established behemoth online social networks you are already strapped with a cinder block. When your looking to build online community, the last thing you want to add is more layers. What was that password again?
Before I wipe my mouth I have one last piece of meat to pick. Rule number one, be honest and genuine to your community. Begging makes me want to gag. After joining the community and consuming the content I felt the need to be an active participant. Low and behold, I found pleas on the “Fresh Start” trailer for comments on YouTube, a call for a “Comment Party”, from the Globe’s cast and creators. When I checked out YouTube I found a gaggle of spammers, the same group of viewers commenting over and over again. If the content is intriguing, if the interactivity makes the user feel like they are active participants in the story the virus will spread and the herd will follow. No need for begging, no need to create a perception of dishonesty. It stains the experience, cracking the walls of perceived reality in a blatant, dishonest marketing attempt. “…no meepers here, just me spamming cause I’m bored.” The CAKE is a LIE.
What Harper’s Globe gives fans is a new way to interact, a new way to become immersed into the Harper’s Island mystery. It is not a new idea, but it feeds the need for those who won’t settle with passive entertainment consumption, allowing them to engage, possibly even discover a clue. It is a tool for brands to increase recognition, a tool to grow and nurture your fan base, whether or not there is a season 2. Will all online video be interactive? Is Harper’s Globe next gen TV, TV 2.0? No, the future of television holds a lot more in store for its audience. For now, a little bit of heroin goes a long way.
We Are Organized Chaos (WAOC) is Zugara’s (www.zugara.com) interactive marketing and advertising blog where we’ll be featuring some great projects and discussing upcoming trends in the digital world. Work — good and bad — will be critiqued. Hope you’ll enjoy reading our insights and thoughts on interactive.