TOOH01Just sat here late on Saturday fine tuning some of those drafts I mentioned in the last post and an ad on SBS caught my attention. Some kind of scientist, feels ‘corporate video’esque’, stood over a dead naked body, bit weird, didn’t make sense in Aussie ad context (they are usually pretty opaque). Then it got weirder. He ripped off a crisp sized dry scab off the knee of the dead body and said something along the lines of “we have to innovate and try new things” then looked as if he was about to eat it! Just at the moment of ‘potentially’ putting it in his mouth, yuk!, a cliffhanger, a sudden cut to a “cross-ref” to go to

As I continued writing this and have the front of the ‘Human Testing’ site up a second ad comes on at the end of the break. This time there are subtle and in-your-face references to Tooheys Extra Lite beer in vision and voice over. Shame, I was looking forward to the quest of finding out what this is.

I continued to explore regardless and if you go to the site you will see a typical (for Alternate Reality Games/viral) spoof corporate/science/lab website in the domain of bio-experimentation. (Not sure why they all have that 10 years into the future DNA thing story foundation, yet are designed in a 50s Americana aesthetic?). Anyway the site is nice, feels like a parody of the corporate site itself. It is obviously Tooheys as that appears in the web browser top bar all the time, but the rest of the site trys to keep us in ‘human testing’, lab world – a few heavy ad references to the ‘beer’ hidden in files and books, small games etc:

“The Platinum testing facility was founded to study the totally normal, nothing to be concerned about yet somewhat unique properties of Tooheys Extra Dry Platinum. Current theories suggest that Platinum is a clean, crisp liquid (commonly referred to as a sub-genus of ‘beer’) that’s unusually refreshing…” and so on, not so subtle here then

TOOH02It is a flash website and feels like some of the prototypes we have been producing in LAMP for the past year – lost of scrolling real world representation, files, noticeboards, test tubes – in fact like a late 90s CD ROM. I was finding it hard to think of the a) Tooheys beer stuff to the b) human DNA testing as a cohesive narrative – the two are too different OR to close. Testing if you like the beer – a bit cheesy. The success of these depends on having something plausibly linkable and that can suspend disbelief. Perhaps beer and an export conspiracy, or the discovery of beer on a distant planet and a thousand others – better than the bio research thing. Also revealing more over time, so there is a growing buzz in the “what the heck is it” domain – rather than that immediate reveal. Like good sex, advertisers should consider foreplay occassionally 😉

But back to the impressive element, a positive thing from my perspective – this is the only ad I have seen on Australian TV in the past year or so that has MADE me go to a website. In true call to action, cross-media styley. Another blogger said he was informed via email, so their “access point” was more viral (as he puts it). Of course it looks like ‘they’ (the Amnesia part of AvenueA / Razorfish) may have been the ad agency behind this one back in mid-September, so still wondering about the timing of this? Anyone got any ideas, have I just missed the ‘call-to-actions’ over the past month? A forum feels very ‘staged’ here. Still trying something different, in Australia, well done the true team behind this. It beats the other Tooheys ad, an annoying CG washing machine fighting with the hover over a beer – swimming pool ad. There is very little out there at the moment about the Toohey cross-media viral ad in blog land and Googling only brings up a handful of refs. Depending on the timing, which must be partly current if a TV ad is running (always hard to tell where you are in the cycle), I am now part of the viral propagation. Which I don’t mind as in today’s cross-media universe we are all inextricably linked together – like it or not. Right back to the draft back-log…
Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006