How do you break the limits imposed by traditional media and create award-winning interactive work for clients such as Netflix and Twentieth Century Fox? By making interactions between brands and consumers more relevant, inclusive, and less self-serving.
For Verizon Digital Media Services client Ignition Creative, pioneering new forms of storytelling with technology is at the core of this pursuit.
Strategic partner for award winning work
“We need to anticipate our clients’ digital needs and develop products that allow them to stay ahead,” says Aaron Buchanan, VP of Technology, Ignition Interactive. “We see ourselves as a strategic partner to studios or content owners and craft the messaging for an entire campaign, stunt marketing, or video.”
A recent and award-winning example of this philosophy is Ignition’s work for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. “One year ahead of a movie release we expand on the storyworld and created content that the films core audience devoured,” describes Buchanan the approach to creating awareness and excitement.
For Prometheus, Ignition created a months-long campaign that expertly combined a mix of social, traditional, and transmedia storytelling to bring the fictional entity of Weyland Industries – the mysterious corporation behind Project Prometheus – to life.
Sustaining traffic spikes of viral campaigns
Over the course of the Prometheus campaign, fans were treated to an array of interactive experiences, original photo & video content, and detailed background information about the world of Prometheus. The campaign has been held up as a benchmark example for digital marketing by Forbes, Mashable, Ad Age and Fast Company, and helped the movie to gross over $400 million worldwide.
Weyland Industries microsite
For Buchanan, the success of such viral campaigns not only depends on great storytelling, but also on deploying scalable technology solutions. “We need to be able to endure this virality from an infrastructure standpoint,” he explains. “For example, we built a website for Netflix’s Arrested Development. The show received over 4 billion pre-launch tweet impressions and was picked up by major media outlets. Having partners like Verizon allowed us to deliver at scale with confidence, regardless of how many sites picked up our story and drove traffic spikes.”
In addition to viral waves of traffic, new forms of storytelling also require new forms of online advertising, which can drive similar traffic patterns of rich content.
Telling a story with online advertising
As technology continues its unrelenting march on our attention spans, the disruptive approach to consumer marketing is turning out to be fraught with problems. “Every user interaction should be indented to evolve around the story you want to tell, especially when it comes to advertising,” says Buchanan about Ignition’s approach to online ads.
Ignition’s premium display format
Ignition built a rich media advertising platform in partnership with the AOL Network’s push into premium display, on sites such as HuffPost, Stylist, Moviefone and more. Describing the challenges of traditional online ad formats, Buchanan states that “eye tracking studies show that users are prone to ignore roadblocks, and the alternative formats frustrate users by preventing them from engaging with content.”
Verizon Digital Media Services enables limitless creativity
“Our platform uses a simple UX interaction to remove that flaw: if users scroll down, they are engaged — that’s when we show ads to them”, explains Buchanan. “Today, our ad units outperform industry standard metrics by a factor of 5, and our eye tracking studies show strong brand recall and no negative brand associations.”
It took Buchanan’s team 8 months to build the platform’s technology, which is delivered by Verizon. Now, Ignition even lets other creative agencies use the platform, enabling them to “make really interesting ads faster,” as Buchanan puts it.
Verizon Digital Media Services plays a critical role in enabling Ignition’s team to pioneer these new forms of digital storytelling. “Verizon invests in its engineering teams and is dedicated to building great technology,” states Buchanan. “At the end of the day, it’s great to have that dedicated thinking and skills behind digital media products. There’s no limit for what we can do.”