Press Release from HUSH
Following the recent success of their Toyota Prius installation at the Detroit Auto Show and a gesture-based installation for Infiniti, HUSH is back with a multi-faceted interactive project smack in the symbolic center of the world. To help launch its successful baby gear brand in the US, Italian company Chicco, and McCann Worldgroup, enlisted HUSH to create an interactive microsite that links user-generated videos of enthusiastic babies saying the company's name (pronounced "KEE-KO") to a real-time video billboard in Times Square.
HUSH worked closely with McCann to create the campaign. "The brief was simultaneously very simple and very complex," stated HUSH CD/Partner David Schwarz. "On one hand, it was a simple and smart idea: introduce the Chicco baby brand to the U.S. market by having their ultimate consumers (babies) say the brand name on camera. This would be poignant and would help reinforce the proper pronunciation of the brand in English. Conversely, in order to achieve this, McCann wanted us to create a complex, integrated system of media and content - all automated and seamless - that would require some serious strategic planning, technical R&D, and cross-platform design thinking."
Working with a 10-person project team, HUSH spent 12 weeks from discovery to launch, handling every facet: interactive design, animation, technical strategy, front- and back-end programming and QA. The front-end design for the web experience and the animated billboards involved development of the website architecture and a system for recording and serving video to the user.
The studio also assumed the leadership production role, helping all parties stay in sync. For example, to overcome the logistical obstacles involved in moderating each video and funneling them to the billboard from disparate points, HUSH worked with technical partner, Aerva, which makes software that moderated, transcoded and pushed videos to the billboard display. HUSH's system supplied branded design and animation content for Aerva to push through to the billboard along with their ID'd and transcoded user-generated videos.
The result was a close-to-real-time system that was completely automated from the user's perspective, with a seamless movement of video content from user submission to a moderator to its display in Times Square. At the end of the process, a photo "proof" was sent back to the child's parent and a website gallery archiving the armies of miniature wordsmiths.
"The challenge here was defining the technical ecosystem and managing the various technical and production partners of the job," stated HUSH CD/Partner Erik Karasyk. "We had to embark on a Discovery Phase in each portion of the project in order to figure out the technological advantages and limitations and answer the tougher questions: how do all of these mediums talk to each other? How does content get created, tagged and passed from platform to platform while retaining its ownership and connection to its author? Which design elements can we generate to stitch together a user's experience with the Chicco brand so they can move from website to billboard to sharing content through social channels? Our tech leads provided keen insights for each medium and we worked closely with all parties involved to create the best possible design, development and user-interaction experience."
With their ever-broadening creative talents, like creating large-scale design experiences, HUSH is well positioned to take the industry lead on this rapidly expanding segment of the advertising world, especially when briefs call for unique activations or placement in high profile, coveted media spaces such as Times Square.
"Certainly, we've all seen the work being executed in airports, trade shows, and exhibition spaces, and this growth has been enabled with readily available black-box-type solutions that provide a technology platform and lower the barrier to entry," continued Karasyk. "However, that's not what we do. The briefs that HUSH receives, and we really seek out, are for bespoke installations that require not just technological tricks, but creative visual executions mixed with a level of user experience that helps deliver a brand story."
The Times Square experience was part of a larger illustration and print campaign, so HUSH sought to situate the user so they felt that they were literally placing their videos directly onto the billboard. HUSH also helped bring cohesiveness to the campaign, using, augmenting, and redesigning the illustrations of British artist Andrew Bannecker to make it work best on various platforms, translating the style into a fun, child-like movement for the illustrated characters, typography, and other elements.
"The real thrust of the entire campaign revolved around Times Square and having your video play on the big screen. Therefore, it made sense to translate that environment to the interactive experience," noted Schwarz. "So while everything was skinned in highly illustrative style, the focus was on Times Square and its intense, buzzing media environment."
The clips can be uploaded and viewed at the website (www.chiccousa.com/timessquare). The billboard, part of a new American Eagle Outfitters store, will show clips at 15 and 45 minutes past each hour until March 13.
Credits:Client: ChiccoLaunch Date: February 2011
Agency: McCann Worldgroup New YorkCreative Director/Art Director: Nathalie BrownAssociate Creative Director/Art Director: Karen IngramCreative Director/Writer: Steve NasiExecutive Creative Content Producer: Catherine PattersonCreative Content Producer: Stuart ShapiroChief of Staff: Mark StrongBusiness Partner: Neely BakerProject Manager: Lindsey RogersGroup Strategy Partner: Jane Goodman
Production Company: HUSHCreative Director/Partner: David SchwarzCreative Director/Partner: Erik KarasykProducer: Jenn MannArt Director: Laura AlejoLead Animator: James O'BrienAnimator: Wes EbelharAssistant Animator: Justin DemetricianInteractive Designer: Jen LuFlash Developer: Nicholas KircosTechnical Lead: Will Olbrys
Online Advertising Development: ModstarExecutive Engagement Officer: Biagio Black GoetzkeProduction Manager: Marina Mezzogiorno-Brown
Website Hosting: AervaCEO: Sanjay ManandharHead of Engineering: David CrowInteractivity Engineer: Rafael MendiolaSoftware Engineer: Raam DevSoftware Engineer: Tony AidamouniSupport Engineer: Jon Stoker
About HUSH:HUSH is a creative studio crafting visual stories for digital, broadcast, mobile and exhibition media. Whether with the latest technology or the most classic of techniques, we unify stories for agencies and brands alike.
Design. Story. United.
Agency Collaborations:McCann SF, Jack Morton Worldwide, Momentum Worldwide, Mindshare Entertainment, George P. Johnson, Grey, BBH, Sapient, space150, Central Planning, among others.
Brand Collaborations:Nike, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Microsoft, Zune, HP, Coca-Cola, Honda, Hyundai, Acura, Kiehl's, E*TRADE, Random House, Dove, Stylecaster, MTV, Syfy, Discovery, HBO, PBS, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Starz, among others.Facebook