Video courtesy of VCCP
Purpose of the Event
O2 is a leading mobile phone provider. Their objective was to create awareness of the full range of devices they sell, from smart lighting to Bluetooth speakers and to excite people about the potential of smart tech. The campaign was required to run in Autumn 2014, around Halloween, with activity on and offline.
Creative agency VCCP Kin designed O2POSSESSED (the first haunted house entirely controlled by household smart devices) as their outline solution to O2’s brief.
VCCP instructed Superglue to work with them to bring the solution to life with a totally immersive event. Specifically, the brief from VCCP was to create a genuinely scary Haunted House filled with ‘scares’ that would be controlled by O2’s connected devices. The physical house would be host to an immersive theatre experience, which 200 guests would visit and would provide material for online content.
The Event Objectives
The key objective for O2 was to achieve brand fame. The campaign KPI’s were based on reach and awareness, with video views and content reach being particularly important. In terms of the physical event, the success would lie in creating a truly memorable experience that used the O2 technology in relevant ways. It was essential that an authentic world was created to captivate the online and offline audiences and draw them into the drama.
The live event ran for three days over Halloween 2014. There were two additional days of build and rehearsals and one day de-rig.
A narrative for the Haunted House was devised to create a coherent and consistent experience. The story was that professional ghost hunters had been sent to the house to follow up on sightings of Jack the Ripper’s final victim, Maggie. Reality and fantasy had become blurred for the ghost hunters and so new guests (the visiting competition winners) were invited to the house to help ghost hunters understand if what they were witnessing was indeed real.
From the moment guests approached the house they were enveloped into the spooky story. Their first interaction was to be greeted by an actor who led them inside where they were briefed by the ‘ghost hunters’ on what to ‘expect’. Guests were then taken upstairs and separated unexpectedly so that they went around alone.
Each room was dressed as if it hadn’t been touched since Maggie died in Victorian times. Guests experienced different ‘scares’ in each of the rooms, which were filmed, and broadcast live online. These ‘scares’ included lighting flickering, loud noises, people appearing on screens behind them and then not being there, people appearing from the darkness and large projections of faces jumping out from the walls. The technology used to create the scares was carefully hidden, for example inside props and behind false walls, to ensure maximum impact.
The scares in each room were remotely controlled with mobile phones and tablets from a control room. At the end of the experience, O2 Gurus gave visitors a “lights on” experience and explained how each room was set up.
Superglue combined performance with a high-end faultless show that came together to produce authentic reaction from the audience. The production was uncompromising in ensuring that the guests would be completely immersed in the experience from beginning to end. Inside the house the only people coming into contact with a guest were actors in character and as a part of the ‘show’.
The immersive experience lasted around 10-15 minutes. Guests were obviously terrified by the scares. Superglue’s team focused on audience engagement at the event, anticipating the feeling of guests at every step of their journey. After the experience, in the lights on area, guests reported being completely captivated by the spell of the show.
Superglue Agency sourced locations, designed, produced and managed the event and all of the live show activity on site. The show and its filming was controlled by Superglue producers and show callers to ensure a seamless performance every time.
The core show team was made up of actors, costume designers and makers, make-up artists, a lighting designer and a props master; all under the direction of Superglue Event Director Jane Morley.
VCCP produced all of the filmed content, social media and campaign mechanisms to push engagement on line and to the public.
O2POSSESSED was a delight not only for those who visited the house in person but also for fans at home. People around the UK were able to view visitors’ journeys in real time on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and were rewarded for spotting the ghost. On Halloween, a terrifying wrap film was released on O2 social channels that showed viewers just how scary it was to have been within the haunted house. This film drove viewers to product demonstrations that not only revealed the technology used to create the scares but also showed viewers how the devices we used might be relevant within their own home.
The experiential event enhanced the broader brand campaign by blending immersive theatre with effects controlled in real time over smart devices, harnessing O2’s range of products in unexpected ways. Smart Technology became tangible and relevant for consumers who previously may not have seen its benefits.
Through multi-platform programming, imaginative use of O2-sold smart tech, and timely digital content, the event was able to terrify and delight the target audience in order to generate interest about what O2 devices can do.
O2POSSESSED is remarkable not for its performance but also for its success in achieving a truly relevant, creative response that was delivered with both flair and high attention to detail.
The event and campaign achieved their objectives and delivered impressive results.
– Over 49,000 people applied to visit the house.
– The videos have over 3 million views (and counting).
– The wrap video received 20,000 unique views in just three days.
– The wrap video received 10 times the average engagement on O2’s Facebook posts.
– During the campaign, #O2Possessed became a UK trending topic without media support.
– Over 45 million people have seen the campaign on Twitter.
Guests were genuinely impressed with both the event experience and the technology. When measured on its ability to create brand fame, drive awareness of O2’s range of products, and create excitement about the possibility of smart tech, O2POSSESSED is a clear success.