In the first few days of the campaign, more than 500 people called up the captain on screen. Even more importantly for Air New Zealand, tens of thousands of people went to the reLAXtoLONDON website to enter the sweepstake to win a trip to London — the main thrust of the promotion.
Roger Poulton, Air New Zealand vice president, the Americas, explains the airline went beyond traditional advertising by “inviting conversation” through the innovative campaign. Well aware of the importance of catching the eye of the young, cyber-savvy slice of the market, Air New Zealand is not afraid to employ the latest, zaniest forms of advertising, “whether that’s through an iPhone application, body-painted employees, our ‘cranial billboards’ [involving shaved heads and temporary tattoos], themed flights and now our first human interactive billboard,” he says.
Eyemagnet’s general manager Nick Ratcliffe points out that we see 10,000 marketing images a day and block out 99 percent of them. “That’s why we focus on interactive media, of actually grasping the experience in front of you. The Air New Zealand campaign is a good example of that — it really is a natural progression on marrying mobile and our technology,” he says.
Eyemagnet began in Wellington six years ago when founders Paul Treacy and Steve Castellotti, former workmates at a small mobile marketing company, came up with the idea of controlling what appears on multiple display screens — sometimes at opposite ends of the country — through the internet and mobile phones.
One of their first customers was Telecom, and today Eyemagnet software controls 400 screens in Telecom’s stores and stockists’ outlets throughout New Zealand, essentially showing “Telecom TV”. Some are huge touch-screens, yet the machine running them is no bigger than your average paperback novel.
While Telecom decides what goes up on screen, it’s Eyemagnet’s job to play it. It takes only three seconds to update what’s playing — “rather than waiting two weeks for some advertising posters to arrive,” Ratcliffe says — and a simple text from Telecom can change what’s on screen in a Christchurch store so that it’s different from what’s showing in Auckland.
Motion detection, where movements and gestures in front of a camera control what’s on screen, is another technology Eyemagnet has embraced. The Lynx3 body spray campaign here in New Zealand employed the technology and was an award winner, collecting the Best Smart Media Idea award at the Communication Agencies Association of New Zealand awards in May. With the help of an everyday security camera connected to a backroom computer, people could stand in front of the screen and select two virtual women, who would collide to create a “hotter” image. The viewer could then pose for a photo with their new dream girl, to be uploaded to their mobile or email.
Luci Clemow, a PR representative for Unilever who worked with Eyemagnet on the Lynx campaign, says it was new territory for both of them. “We had a difficult target to reach — 12- to 18-year old boys — so we took it to cinemas. It was a real first for Eyemagnet and us, but it was incredible — they went out of their way to make a really great campaign.”
The technology was first used in a virtual dressing room for Hallensteins, where, with motion detection, men could “try on” clothes on screen without having to get undressed. It was also used in the US in June for the 60th birthday celebrations of Harlequin romance novels. Motion detection allowed women to flick through virtual library of novel covers, like Bedded by the Greek Billionaire, and then transpose their face onto the heroine’s body.