Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wanted: A bigger idea

Last weekend I saw this wildposting in Manhattan. At first glance I wondered "could this really be a wanted poster?". When I saw the mugshots of the two Streisands I realized that they are probably actors and not cons. I spent a few moments looking over the copy, snapped off a shot with my phone and the called the number to see what's what.

Before I tell you what happened, let's do a mini situation analysis. So far we've got outdoor creative that's strong enough to get the attention of a passing consumer and prompt him to interact through the provided engagement element (the phone number). Let's proceed.

The payoff for my interest and time invested was a crap, brief, pre-record. "For more information that could lead to the capture of these escaped convicts tune into Fox Monday, August 21, 8PM, 7PM Central." My gut response was "how f***ing weak." Then I thought about it for 2 seconds and said "what else where they it going to do with it? It is what it is."

The Fox TV show being advertised here is "Prison Break" and it is about to begin airing its second season. The wanted poster is a solid, appropriate idea and I think the execution was excellent. There's no Fox TV logo or text that gives it away as a promotional gag. (PROPS to the creatives that convinced account and client to leave any trace of info about the show OFF the poster.) The stark, black and white design makes it stand out in sharp contrast to the colorful postings around it. Since first noticing this posting I've seen many people in front of it, cell phone in hand, calling the number. It's working.

Everything after the poster could have been so much more.

I thought about it for 2 more seconds and I came up with a couple of ideas.

Wouldn't it have been cool if the numbers were differentiated enough for the calls to be answered like this: "Our systems indicate that you are calling from 1st avenue in New York's East Village. Satellite imagery confirms that you are NOT one of the convicts we are looking for." There. You have just delivered a fun, impacting experience that extends the narrative that began with the poster. It could then have then directed you to the nearest retail location where the first season is available for sale on DVD. Finishing with "More information will be made publicly available on August 21".

I read about young people in Korea playing an urban street game called "Shoot me if you can". From the website: "Shoot me if you can is an urban game inspired by first person shooting online video game. Replace gun with fun, and shoot the opponent team with a cellular phone equipped with a digital camera."

Fox could have created a web site with information about "escaped convicts" from Fox River Penitentiary, mughots, descriptions, cities they are believed to be in, and clues about their whereabouts. The reward for capturing them with your cell phone (in a clearly identifiable mobile camera pic) could be the first season on DVD. A manhunt promo for season 2!

It would still have began with the wanted poster and the recorded message when you called phone number. That could have been done as a short "radio drama" telling of the escaped convicts and directing callers to the website where information about whereabouts and rewards could be obtained.


Scaramouch said...

Would have worked better as a Tip Line with a reward for information if the fugitives were captured on your tip. Have a website where you can listen to all the tips. Have an imaginary journalist following tips and covering the story across the country, visiting areas where sightings have occurred live video blogging.

Get the actors to actually do some live appearances in populated areas in character. Informants quickly
spread the word. Create flashmob type experiences to track the cons down.

Then work some of the tips/tipsters into the new series
plotline, so that the audience becomes part of the story. Real and imagined blur, and the characters come to life. It's a strategy that I think is playing out well for Lost.

Tom Sherman said...

I would rather have the tip line handled a part of a dodeball type mobile appliation. people could actually form teams or hunting packs.

I've never seen the show so I refrained from thinking about ideas that involved cast or plot.