21 July 2009
We caught up with Lean Mean Fighting Machine's creative partner Dave Bedwood to find out how keeping a small group of 100 amused can cause a ripple effect in a much broader audience.
The London agency's recent work for Samsung's BEAT DJ mobile phone (comes with Bang & Olufsen headphones and a sound chip, designed for someone much younger and cooler than you) was based around the proposition that you'll be so into the music, you won't want to be interrupted with a call or a text. The agency theref ore coordinated a 24hr silent disco with 100 people from all over Europe competing, with players eliminated every time they received an email or a text.
Contagious: How did you find 100 twinkletoes(es)?
DB: We worked with the production company (Remedy, London) to find them on the street, and at dance studios. Quite a few of them were dancers already. We also used social networks to recruit them, as this was a key part of the pre-campaign strategy. They were going to be using their networks to spread the word prior to the event.
A 24 hour dance-off is a pretty daunting proposition, but I'm sure the £10,000 prize money helped, too.
How did the participants help to promote the event?
DB: We created specific pages for each contestant, which they could send around to their friends to explain to them what they were doing. They also created a couple of YouTube videos each, and used their social networks (a broad variety, as we found them from all over Europe) to warn their mums, dads, friends and colleagues not to call or text them whilst the event was going on. We were quite taken with the idea of this anti-social use of a social network - rather than asking people to interact with them, they were warning people not to. Their chances of winning the prize were much higher the more noise they made beforehand.
All of them used different strategies. One guy pretended he'd lost his phone, and that the number wouldn't work any more. Sneaky.
How did the event play out?
DB: We got them to give us all of their mobile phones when they came in, and had them at a bank at the back. Every time a phonecall or text came in, we relayed it to the screen and the guilty party had to immediately leave the dancefloor. There were about 20 calls in the first hour, four of whom were predictably from mums. One guy got a text from his financial advisor, which ironically lost him ten grand.
To whittle it down, we had three production phones and encourage members of the public who were watching the live streams to call in in order to eliminate certain players (whoever was on a randomly designated square when the phone rang went out). Viewers could also upload Tweets and pictures to the big screen as the event was unfolding.
There was an element of tragedy involved. The guys who'd been going strong for 17 hours got exactly the same as those who went out in the first ten minutes. Nothing...But the two left at the end, both of whom were appalling dancers, had actually been at it 24 hours when the final elimination took place.
How do you differentiate from the other mobile players keen to associate themselves with music?
DB: in this case we started with a clear proposition as the phone's USB is based around music. However, this live event seemed to touch a nerve with the client as it has naturally more energy then just, say, creating a film and putting it online. It also recreated something of a gig atmosphere, so there's an analogy there too.
The other thing we were keen to do is create our own kind of activity, something that Samsung could own. It was halfway between a gig and a gameshow - an interactive experience. Several brands sponsor festivals or bands, and try on jump on an already existing bandwagon, but if you do something new and different that's yours than you stand a better chance of owning it. You have to bring your own story to it, not just try and get involved in other people's.
Recap of the event here:
Behind the scenes here: