By Dominic Goldman
When Levi's 501 wanted to launch a new Web site, they turned to Dominic Goldman and OgilvyOne/Singapore. The result was a fresh approach to interactive and a Gold Pencil.
I can remember back in the '90s how impressed people were with anything that moved on their computer screens. If it looked cool and did something slick with any new kind of effect, jaws started dropping.
When I visited New York back then for the Flash Film Festival, I was completely taken aback by the leaders in Interactive. I'll never forget seeing Joshua Davis and Yugo Nakamura; their work made an entire audience of two thousand people react in the same way: 'Whoaaaaa!'
I could not have been more inspired.
But I soon became unimpressed and disillusioned. Something more was needed. Behind all the flashy special effects, where was the idea?
This became key to all of my future work. Interacting with consumers in an intelligent way by making the communication interesting, entertaining and noticeable without being gimmicky was most important. Consumers are bombarded with advertising from all channels on and offline and have learned to switch off to it. So how do we get under their radar?
I've heard many people say, 'I hate those annoying banner ads when I'm surfing the web.' I agree. But just like watching TV, listening to the radio or reading a magazine, most advertising is irritating. Yet, on that
rare occasion, I'm oblivious to the fact that I'm being sold something. Usually, I'm delighted. This is the challenge. Unlike traditional channels, online provides a canvas to allow people to respond and interact with an idea.
Fortunately today, Interactive Awards, particularly the One Show, are filled with great examples of work founded on big ideas. Polished execution is now
a given. It needs to be relevant. Every element has its purpose and relates back to the core idea. If it's not necessary, take it out.
Born-again Web site
The idea for the Levi's site began as a pitch for the regional interactive business for Levi's. The brief was to develop an online campaign for the classic 501 jean, which had been re-cut. The proposition was 'reborn.' The above the line agency, BBH, had developed a print campaign featuring a guy emerging from water wearing only the new jeans. His skin was wrinkly and his hair was grey under the water. As he climbed out he was reborn, young and new again.
Following the reborn proposition, we needed to integrate with BBH. But there was more to it than simple implementation we needed to create something that was more suitable online. To be reborn is to enter into the world new again like a new baby, so we decided to expand on this theme by using an adult submerged in water crouched in a fetal position. This was to be the core focus of the site and would act as the main navigation.
For the pitch we needed to mock this up in flash, so we used one of the best fashion photographers in Asia, Roy Zhang, to help us out. With a limited budget, we used our art director as the model and submerged him in a friend's swimming pool. He spent five hours trying to keep in position submerged in the water while we rotated him and took shots using an underwater camera. Unfortunately, this didn't quite work and the shots didn't come out the way we had planned. We eventually made it work by spinning him on a stool and superimposing him on a water background. This did the job and we eventually won the pitch.
Our next challenge was to recreate this for the real site. Learning our lessons from our preparations for the pitch, this time we shot the model in a studio and had him perched on a rotation device on a green background. We needed one hundred shots and it took two days to get this right. It was a real challenge because the model had to keep absolutely still even his slightest breath could create a jump when animating the rotation. And as this was for the main navigation of the site, we scripted the navigation to allow the model to spin to a different location in the animation sequence.
After that, showing the product in the four finishes was the next challenge as the model had to animate and stand for each finish. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it in the end. Back in the office we were really excited with the way the shots had turned out.
The idea for the music mixer tied back to the idea of 'reborn.' We took classic Marvin Gaye tracks like 'Heard It through the Grapevine' and commissioned Ben Galvin to remix them. Users could then create their own mixes and send them onto their friends, thereby giving new life to classic tunes. We were really pleased to get these tracks onto our site it's the only place you can hear these new versions.
The client was very happy with our work. We are very fortunate to work with someone who understands our ideas and allows us the creative freedom to do the best work we can.