An art deco grey building of only fourteen stories. Over the main entrance the words, THE FILM CENTER, and, on the sixth floor on a pane of glass, the words, FIRSTBORN.
The enormous office on the sixth floor faced towards the west. Warm for all the winter beyond the windows, for all the creative heat of the office itself, a harsh thin light glared onto the computer screens, hungrily seeking some hunched figure, the pallid shape of the Flash developer, and finding the glass and plastic and bleakly shining screens of the studio.
Motion responded to motion. The t-shirts of the workers were white, their heads covered with a pale corpse-colored wool. The light was hot, alive, a transition. Only from the grey boxes of the computers did it borrow a certain rich and living substance, streaming along the polished tubes like butter, streak after luscious streak in long recession down the work tables.
"And this," said the Art Director opening the door, "is the Fertilizing Room."
For those of you who have read Brave New World you will find that opening quite familiar. Aldus Huxley penned the original introduction in his attempt to paint a picture of the future.
The future is now
Firstborn has always been known for pushing the limits of our own capabilities and attempting to take our clients by the hand into the next phase of the web. Every project that comes through our doors is approached with a forward thinking mindset. The fast pace of the web and technology forces us to expand our skills with every project we do.
Recently we were approached by the well known agency Bartle, Bogle, Hagarty to do a project for the brand AXE Fragrances. Axe is well known for its sexy campaigns and memorable commercials.
One of the commercials that has been streaming across the airwaves and in movie theaters depicts a couple engaged in a passionate kiss, so engaged in their kiss they end up rolling across various landscapes completely oblivious to who and what they roll through and getting quite "dirty" along the way.
They end up rolling into the road and causing a truck carrying AXE Shower Gel to swerve off of a cliff and fall into the ocean releasing its product into the waters below. The couple, still oblivious and quite "dirty", follows the truck over the cliff and fall into the sudsy waters rendering them clean from the dirt that they had accumulated over the course of their passionate "roll".
Sounds like fun!
It's a powerful spot that drives the message home into the minds of the consumers. But this was not enough, the television spot alone didn't do enough justice to the concept, it needed something more; the creative minds over at BBH decided that an interactive experience needed to go along with the television spot.
They wanted people to really step inside the couple and enjoy the experience as if it were their own.
Media, especially online interactive media has become a powerful medium in advertising today. The web offers us the ability to not only watch commercials that feature our favorite brands but also experience them on a much more personal level. We are able to upload videos, images and text to manipulate commercials and to see ourselves using and wearing the products in a virtual world well before we even go out and purchase them.
When BBH and Firstborn met to talk about this project we realized that what we were doing here was truly a step forward in the convergence of traditional and digital multimedia.
We were embarking on a brave new world; we were taking this commercial and essentially creating the interactive digital experience. We wanted fans of the television spot to be able to control the couple, play with them and get them really "dirty".
We wanted to emulate the broadcast scenario online and not just in 2D but in full 3D so that the user could get as close to the experience as possible.
The web has come a long way, the days of flat jpegs and jittery gifs are gone. Firstborn employed a full 3D render in order to accomplish its goals in creating a real to life game that would be as close to the commercial as possible.
We understood the limitations of the web and used our creative prowess to transform our 3D 0bjects into a format that would allow us to deliver the best possible gaming experience we could offer via Flash at the best possible performance rate.
What does all of this mean?
Sure lots of shops out there create games, but what we have done is taken that first step into the future by setting an example of a perfectly seamless and harmoniously integrated on and offline ad campaign that offered users both a highly visual and highly interactive experience.
You watch the couple and then you are the couple. It is a true digital reflection of the real thing, the exactness of the characters likenesses, the motion and the game elements in all their glory.
There has been much talk around the industry about the convergence of digital and traditional media. There are many fears and unknowns.
Ad agencies have been trying to wrap their arms around the new medium and networks have been trying to find ways to deliver this media on both platforms as they have now become equal in stature and prominence.
Axe is a brand that targets that exact audience who is both online and watching television and that expect to be spoken to from both directions.
Firstborn and BBH have partnered to deliver just that. A true convergence and a great case study for the industry to see how the two mediums can live peacefully in both worlds.
Watch the spot, play the game, spray the fragrance and have lots of fun. Welcome to the future and enjoy!
About the Author, Craig Elimeliah
Craig Elimeliah (former) Producer at Firstborn Multimedia. He is a native New Yorker who started his design career in Jerusalem. Craig has a background in design, technology, project management, entrepreneurship and sales.
When Craig is not producing projects for Firstborn he spends his time with his kids, writing, painting and cooking.