Thursday, 24 May 2007

Things with which I have done : Part 1

Right then, to start things off I thought I would share details of the briefs I have been doing at university recently, in preperation for entering the big ol' world of advertising.

The most enjoyable brief I was set this semester was given to us by Lean Mean Fighting Machine. It involved teams of two using new media to make Virgin Bingo appear to be the most exciting and fun bingo to be found on the internet.

We were basically meant to aim for their current market and the people already likely to play online bingo. So, my partner for that brief, David Talbot and I did the usual research on the company, competition and new media in general.

Our research led us to believe that interaction between players, using Wee Mees would be a great way of recreating the fun of a bingo hall online. Wee Mees had already become popular in sites such as Friends Reunited, often used by the young to middle aged women we were aiming for.

However, to add a unique touch to our virtual bingo hall, we decided to use a seventies cartoon art style for the characters, now called 'Bingo Buddies'. Wee Mees are based on the simplistic style of South Park, which is ideal for the young internet users of today, but we wanted to aim at a slightly older market, so using the style of cartoons from their childhood seemed like an ideal approach.

Once we had this central idea of cartoon versions of the players that could celebrate when they won, talk to their friends and even shout 'BINGO' through a microphone recording, the rest of the campaign seemed to fall into place.
The Bingo Buddies could gain new items based on the purchases players made on other virgin sites and there would be music playing in the background, just like regular bingo halls, only the players could vote for the song, based on the Virgin Radio play list.

We also decided there was no better way to show how the cartoons can match someone's features then to have the recognisable face (and beard) of Richard Branson as the cartoon mascot for the site.
He would then be used in TV and flash adverts showing his cartoon counterpart exchanging clothes and items depending on the advice of the other players in the bingo hall. Then, as the items get more and more rediculous, it cuts back to the real life Branson on his laptop, wearing that rediculous item (eg. an afro).

The cartoon nature of the advert means it could be crudely animated and still look good, which would be ideal for Flash. Also, the TV version of it would utilise the red button, to allow players to create their Bingo Buddies from the comfort of their living room, then upload it, ready to use on the net.

The website would also contain blank comic strips containing a celebrity player, who would create their Buddy and play a few games that month. Users would be encouraged to fill in the blank speech bubbles, to make humrous scenes involving Branson and the celebrity.

Winning entries would be shown on the site, while the inevitable controversial entries could be 'leaked' to parady websites and papers.
We felt that the new Virgin Bingo website and campaign very much retained the fun, fresh image of the Virgin brand, while appealing to the celebrity loving, socialising audience of the game.
Before the project was fully finished, we visited Lean Mean Fighting Machine, who seemed very positive about our ideas...which was pleasant.
(A bit long winded I know, but as soon as I know how, I'll upload the comic book we made, which details our research and ideas, as well as telling the story of a heroic Richard Branson adventure...)

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Under Construction

I am currently snooping around the website, pressing buttons to see what they do.

Something wonderful will no doubt follow...