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Creating Participatory Narratives In Advertising

Razorfish exec talks to PSFK on the audience-driven AXE Anarchy campaign [partner supported]

Nestor Bailly, PSFK
Nestor Bailly, PSFK on March 26, 2013. @NKBailly

In today’s media-saturated environment, how do you grab people’s attention? Traditional ads on any number of screens in people’s lives just aren’t that effective with thousands of competitors scrambling for the same eyeballs. So how can a campaign stand out from the noise?

Razorfish Creative Director Alex Bodman found a way with the AXE Anarchy campaign. An audience-driven comic book narrative, it built a huge level of sustained engagement by giving the users complete control of the narrative. It became the the first comic that was book written by and starred its readers, and the project was serialized over 4 months with a new page created every 2 days. PSFK and Creative Sandbox hosted a Google+ Hangout with Bodman to get some insights into this innovative campaign, watch it below:

Alex discussed the unique challenges and rewards of ceding narrative control to the crowd. To make people care and share in a world where this is tough competition for a user’s attention, they avoided the fallacious ‘build it and they will come’ mentality by totally involving the audience and giving them ownership of what happens in the story, essentially building it with them instead of for them. He found the comic book format extremely useful and practically unlimited, since the artists could draw anything (perfect for the epic setting of the story), and as the narrative grew the traditionally dominant 60-second spot actually performed as a trailer for the comic. One tricky part was whether to pre- or post-moderate comments, and telling the client that they literally had no idea where the story would go; but surprisingly, out of tens of thousands of submissions, they only had to delete three.

Razorfish

PSFK has partnered with Google’s Creative Sandbox, a gallery of the best and most creative projects in advertising, to bring you ideas and inspiration for the new year. See more work from the Sandbox here and submit your own work.

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