Brands are increasingly using immersive experiences, combining the real and the fantasy, to connect to people. Bottled water brand Perrier has created an interactive experience doing exactly this. (Cheers Tim.) The Perrier Secret Place is an interactive film that you experience through the eyes of one of 60 guests at a party.
The aim is to find hidden bottles of Perrier using clues hidden in the apartment. When you find a bottle, you’re entered into a draw to gain access to exciting parties across the world, including New Year’s Eve in Sydney and the Rio carnival.
The film offers users thousands of scenarios, from the burlesque to the weird. An infographic also keep tracks of how many guest experiences you’ve ‘lived’. It’s all designed to demonstrate that Perrier is essential at parties. By mixing gaming and brand advertising, Perrier offers people a memorably unique, and immersive experience.
I’m a gamer. There, I’m out, ok? I’m not into the mindless combat sims that are released year after year like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2. No, I much prefer unique, interesting and original stories I can shape.
Ever since I first got my hands on a computer I’ve been into video games, but it wasn’t until Sony launched the Playstation that it became cool and I considered myself a gamer. Maybe I just needed a brand I could stand behind, but back in 1995 the Playstation was fresh and original, and I loved it – I loved it so much I bought into the next 2 iterations of the console without even thinking about it.
This year in February, Sony revealed its plans for the future of gaming and gave it a name (drum roll) …the ‘Playstation 4′. My immediate reaction was ‘oh… so what’s new?’, ‘what’s the compelling reason to ditch my Playstation 3?’. Sony went on to talk about social gaming and a gamer-centric strategy – all well and good but it didn’t sound new, it sounded more like a sequel.
Sequels are rubbish, everyone knows that. Well ok, there are a couple of notable exceptions; The Godfather 2, The Empire Strikes Back and Toy Story 2, I’m sure you have you’re own favourite sequels but these are the exceptions to the rule, mostly I would argue that people prefer originals.
So why are sequels inferior to their predecessors? Because usually they are retelling the same story – ok maybe it’s a different setting or a new character is introduced – but largely it’s the same. Hollywood seem to have got wise to this. Look at the trend for rebooting rather than endlessly churning out sequels to say Spider-Man. ‘Rebooting’ a franchise is effectively making a sequel seem like a new film again – very clever.
This brings me onto the iPhone. Each year from Apple we get the predicable roll out of first, say, iPhone – technically already a sequel – and then along comes a ‘new’ iPhone 4S – the sequel to the sequel – not quite as sexy is it? Sites are already predicting the arrival of the iPhone 5S but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it materialising under that moniker. The reboot trick has not been lost on Apple – iPad 3 anyone? Nope? How about ‘The new iPad’?
So in my view, Sony would have been better taking a leaf out of Hollywood’s book (or should that be script) and rebooted the Playstation brand. Because no matter how much gloss and high-end specs you provide, it’s really just another sequel…
East London eatery Dishoom has created a campaign that enables people to share their café stories. (Nice one Jamie). It’s inspired by Mumbai’s Iranian cafés, where everyone from businessmen to students to old timers meet up to share food and conversation. So, Dishoom has made 80 plates featuring personal memories and tales from these melting pots of café culture.
Each typographic design echoes the story being told, making it aesthetically pleasing and heart-warming. Dishoom customers can also submit their own stories online, for the best to be fired onto more plates, ensuring that the storytelling continues.
It’s a great example of a brand turning towards the hand-written and the personal, as people increasingly crave authentic human experiences in this digital age.
A good tea is like a good action film: strong, sturdy and well put together, which is a perfect way to describe the Die Hard series. So imagine my excitement when I found out that I had won a pair of tickets to the UK premiere of the fifth instalment of the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard. All courtesy of an internal competition with Elmwood’s own strong and sturdy brand of tea, Make Mine a Builders.
On the day of the premiere, my husband Nick and I travelled from the sprawling metropolis of Leeds to a small village called London where this spectacle was due to take place. Checking into our hotel on Leicester Square, we realised that our room was above the Empire theatre – and the red carpet and Russian helicopter were visible from the window.
Dressed in our finest, we left for the premiere. Unfortunately the weather gods had decided to strike for the evening and it was more than a little soggy, however it didn’t dampen our spirits as we handed our tickets to the burly bouncers and walked down the red carpet.
Neither of us having attended a movie premiere before, we didn’t know what to expect and assumed we would be sipping cocktails with Tom Cruise and Robert de Niro. The reality was even more amazing, as we actually rubbed shoulders with a selection of the TOWIE cast and kickboxer Alex Reid. But we knew the best was yet to come in the form of our hero Bruce…
As we sat in our seats tucking into our complimentary crisps and bottled water (what, no tea?) a ripple of excitement spread through the audience as Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney and Michael Koch entered the theatre along with director John Moore and answered questions about the film. If only every film screening had these extras!
And then it began, a 90-minute action sequence! At this point I would like to use the line “the plot was full of more holes than a Make Mine a Builders tea bag” – but there was no real plot to speak of. In my opinion, A Good Day to Die Hard is the worst film in the series and seriously lacks the charm of previous installments, as does Bruce Willis’ character John McClane. His dialogue and one-liners were somewhat diluted in comparison to earlier films and even the expletive is removed from his catchphrase ‘Yippee-ki-yay!’.
However, I feel guilty about being critical of this film (and one of my movie heroes!). The Die Hard franchise is 25 years old and still going… so it’s obviously doing something right.
Which brings me to the ‘pixie dust’ contained in the very first Die Hard film. Within the heart of all great stories there is always conflict. The original Die Hard was the first film to embrace all 3 of these conflicts: Good v Bad, Man v Environment and Man v Internal Conflict (love). Overall, a compelling story on many different levels, what’s not to love?!
Although A Good Day to Die Hard has a thin plot, it still encompasses the 3 main conflicts (I won’t expand for fear of a spoiler alert!). So perhaps this is why, despite all its faults, I was completely gripped from beginning to end and cannot wait for number 6!
I was in Singapore recently for a few days, for business and a bit of fun too as it coincided with my birthday! After a busy day at the office, a few of us headed round the corner for a well-earned drink. Now, you know how much we value the importance of storytelling here at Elmwood. So when we came across a little cocktail bar called Bar Stories, we had to head inside…
In the bar, there was no menu in sight. Instead, you order drinks by telling the mixologist how you feel.
How was I feeling? That evening, it’s fair to say I felt conflicting emotions. Knackered, jet-lagged, but happy to be in Sing and out celebrating my birthday. So a few shakes, a few stirs and a few pours later, the bartender had rustled up a cocktail adventure especially for me – featuring smoked lavender for its relaxing properties, passion fruit to refresh, and plenty of spirits of course. The piece de resistance, balanced on top, was a silver spoon – my birthday gift – holding a scoop of lemon sorbet for some added zing.
What a great approach: a brand tackling the emotional need-states of its patrons rather then offering those easy-fix functional cocktails. A totally different offer and a clever way to add even more theatre to a birthday night out.