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...)


Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Did you see what happened when one of the Virgin financial services did a user generated content thing?

Was a bit dodgy!

But at least here its got a nice set of cartoons :D

I like a lot of the ideas here, especially combining the entertainment of bingo with the interactivity and personalisation of wee-mee type characters.

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Also, for the cartoon:

"What happened to your beard Britney?"

"I shaved it off, I thought it was becoming too popular for its own good"

"Good idea, maybe we should tell Noel..."

David Mortimer said...

Yeah, hopefully using only words will limit the amount of offense that can be caused...

The shouting 'Bingo' idea seems to be what excites most people.

I really should learn how to get the comic brand book we made onto here effectively. It actually made people want to read our research because it was presented as a Scooby Doo esc mystery :D

Robert said...

Hello ... I like the concept you've come up with.

Whether it would work as flawlessly as you hope is another thing :) [one persons humouress comment is another persons moment of boredom!] but overall I like it.

Interms of the Wee-Mee characters, we did something similar [with our friends at Amnesia] for a client of ours which you can see at

Keep up the good work and thinking ... and I look forward to following more of your brain adventures over the coming weeks/months.

Unknown said...

Hello Rob's brother.

David Mortimer said...

Hello all, thanks for reading!

I based the way of designing the Bingo Buddies on the Wee Mee way of selecting each feature in turn, but the slide bar that changes several different things at once used in is actually a much better way of getting quick likenesses.

Thanks for your comments :)

Robert said...

I am sure you can do your wee-mee changes for a damn site less than we charged our client, ha!

northern planner said...

Afternoon. My name is Northern Planner (or Andrew if you like), I like tea.
You're brother asked me to have a gander at what you're up to.
Firstly, let me warn you that you have VERY large shoes to fill. It's lovely to see that Rob needs to be looking over his shoulder.

I really like your concept, not least the observation that the fun of bingo is the interaction with other people more than the game itself.
The Wee Mees strike me as a wonderful way of making this work - and I love that you have an idea this will work since you know they're popular with the women you aim to influence.
BUT, while I personally find the seventies characters funny, I wonder if it will annoy as many people as it will put off. Seventies nostalgia is popular of course (Life on Mars) but it nagging me a bit.
I'm nitpicking though, I'm impressed you're working from the site outwards, with loads of useful content, and using ads to dramatise the online experience.
I do wonder why anyone would trust Virgin as experts on bingo? Online or not.
But great, really great. We shall watch your career with interest.

Will said...

Hello Dave M.

NP linked to you, and I followed. Nice site, and I look forward to reading more.

Anonymous said...

Me and a couple of mates started playing bingo at uni because it was a cheaper alternative to going to the casino with a similar buzz and it sold cheap beer! Anyway none of us ever really won big just couple of quid here and there but we kept hearing about these people winning loads of money when playing online bingo, uk residents are particularly keen on playing online with many companies running high profile marketing campaigns on tv and in papers. So I decided to give it a go I won nothing at first but after a few weeks of playing I started to win quite a bit. It became a bit of a hobby and quite a lucrative one at that, I enjoyed the chatting to people on the sites offering free online bingo, cash prizes were also a nice incentive to keep playing too. There are loads available just have a look around.

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