English band Hell Is For Heroes having success with interactive music video:
- [EMI] home to the likes of Robbie Williams, Coldplay, Blur and Radiohead, has already produced the world’s first fully interactive video and is so pleased with the results that it plans to repeat the trick with several of its major acts. The guinea pigs in question were the charmingly named Hell Is For Heroes, a rock band of the type adored by the black-clad hordes of teenagers you’ll find huddled in any city centre.
The band put much of the success of their recent single You Drove Me to It – their first to reach the top 30 – and the subsequent chart revival of their debut album, The Neon Handshake, down to the interactive campaign. Rather than featuring the usual red-button call to arms, the director worked with creative agency Weapon 7 to develop the concept of a man clad in red who appears in the video to signify to those in the know that it is time to access the interactive service.
This way, the band could ensure that the interactive element did not appear too tacky or obvious, says Weapon 7 creative director Simon Smith. “The target market are the most clued-up people in media, so while the interactive element was simple, it had to be a reward for their discovery. If we had had the red button up there, their mums would have known about it as well and suddenly it’s no longer cool.”
He also stresses that the interactive TV service had to be supported with other marketing, such as flyers and postings to fans’ message boards, to create a “buzz” around the discovery of the interactive element. The interactive content also included the band’s web address and a special password to “unlock” a new area of the site. According to Smith, traffic to the website tripled when the video was on air, while the tour was a sell-out.
One side benefit of developing the interactive area, which appeared for 30 seconds and included constantly updated photos of the band taken on tour as well as information and news, was that it ensured heavy rotation on MTV. “They [claim that they] showed the world’s first music video and wanted to show the world’s first interactive video. They were right behind it,” says EMI’s head of new media, Eric Winbolt. With over 110 airings a week on MTV2, the momentum behind the single built and it was play-listed on Radio 1 and Xfm.
….”With the next generation of set-top boxes, if they can have a system in place where you can click during a video and download it to your iPod, with the total added to your bill, then it’ll be to their benefit. Most of the majors were late with the web and they paid the price. They need to get involved with interactive TV while it’s still a safe area in which to paddle,” he says.
“Fully realising the opportunities offered by digital media breathed new life into an existing method of communicating with music fans,” concludes EMI creative and marketing director John Leahy. “By giving exclusive content, we are able to offer a glimpse into a more interactive world and one that allows us to build on the relationship.” [Guardian]