In this first dry run, co-producer Bruce Raphael from New York put down 3000 rmb to cover wine and pizza and a little something for our host, Room 101, which has since been knocked down by the tasteless authorities of Beijing urban “development….” I injected 3 improv actors (2 of them with business cards bearing their characters’ names with working phone numbers and email addresses, as well as phones with sim cards used only by the actors while in character) into the event, a party for a fictional art auction house based in Munich, and brought along a 2-camera crew to cover the event. The actors blended in with the rest of the party attendees, who didn’t know who the actors were or what the story was. The next day, everyone who attended the party (who also opted in by registering with an email address and mobile phone number) received an email from the character “Elliott Marker.” The footage shot of the actors was later incorporated into a film trailer, for which the attendees also signed off on when they registered…
The walk-through starts here.
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“Who are you and what have you been doing since you came to Asia?”
My name is Scott Mollan.
I came to China as Creative Director for Ogilvy as CD for IBM Greater China. The IBM CD role was across advertising, DM and interactive- integrating campaigns in all media. There were 24 dedicated IBM creatives at Ogilvy Beijing. It was to be a two year appointment that was cut short when IBM China changed from an Asia Pacific account to a Global account after just 18months. This meant that most of the work would be adapting USA/global campaigns and this really wasn’t something I wanted to do. As an AP account, IBM was a great piece of business to work on creatively, particularly as we were doing campaigns for Greater China with independent budgets.
I also helped Ogilvy on other pieces of business including Audi, China Mobile, LG and winning the pitch for UT Starcom.
That’s when Denstu Beijing offered me the CD position in their First Accounts Division – a big agency with over 500 staff. I was responsible for a team of 36 in the creative department and studio. The major accounts were Lenovo, Citroen, China Unicom and Toshiba. We pitched and won Google and Yili Dairyfoods. I also designed and ran the training program for the creative department. This was really rewarding, not only because our department won some awards but also because the training raised the creative standards of the team. So much so, that when Lenovo bought the entire IBM PC division, and subsequently Dentsu losing a big chunk of its Lenovo revenues, and 11 of my team and I losing our jobs, I found six of them positions the next day at Y&R/Wunderman on the strength of our work. I also came on board at Y&R in a temporary CD position for 6 months to work on Chevron Texaco, Mattel, Foxconn and Microsoft and to provide creative and account management training.
Following that, McCann Beijing asked me if I would come on board with them as writer CD on a 12 month contract working on Microsoft, Intel, UPS and Nestle. At McCann I also set up their creative award training. Once again this proved fruitful with our work picking up 2 silvers, a bronze and 6 finalists in the 2006 China Ad Festival.
Microsoft and Nestle were 2 accounts where campaigns were integrated and I worked alongside the planners, and CDs of Momentum and MRM.
Before moving to India to manage a 40 person creative department for Lenovo Worldwide, I was CD for GQP San Francisco and Beijing, working on Symantec SE Asia, Foxconn, Riverbed Technologies, Hotel InterContinental, Goodyear and Siemens.
Back in 1998, being the typical creative New Yorker, I had an idea for a film. It was called “Faction,” about an underground spy network entrusted with keeping tabs on the rest of the intelligence community. It was also when the internet was still in its big bang phase, and startups were popping up everywhere like mushrooms. Tony Verderosa, who did the soundtrack for what the film finally became (another project called “Burnout“), was the first to record a track over the internet, working with Sinead O’Connor and Thomas Dolby. We discussed the possibility of making the story interactive, yet too little experience with would-be investors clouded our approach. The idea was still in mind, however.
In 2001 I left the rat race to teach English in China, a “vacation job,” to give me some time and space for a more clear approach next time. I reinvented myself, shooting another short film in my first 3 months there, which got me hired to be the advertising department of a US-Chinese corporate training joint venture, which got me into Beijing, and introduced to an editor for Cosmopolitan Magazine. I then ended up shooting “Asia’s Michael Jackson” with a Hasselblad for a 6-page spread, then as editor for a Starbucks magazine, then producing and shooting a nationwide multimedia campaign for Olay, then producing and shooting a 5-day shoot for a regional (5-country) campaign for IBM with Ogilvy in Sydney, and then hired by Getty for more international clients like Epson and Shell Oil… between that came more shooting for other clients, from upscale hair salons to a German magazine, model testing, private clients… all while getting a front row seat to history in the world’s fastest-growing economy and new cultural revolution.
Finally my idea resurfaced, and I ran it by Scott Mollan, very likely Asia’s most brilliant creative director. He caught on rather quickly, about the same time as I was shopping it to China Venture Labs for development. Scott gave IRE its name, and slashed away all the fog around the idea, leaving only a clear definition of IRE which anyone in the ad industry could understand. It’s value was clear: for less than the cost of a single tv spot, it is now possible to create multiple times the impact with an entire season of IRE programming.
Finally I hunkered down and wrote “Trace,” designed to be IRE’s first demonstration and proof of concept.
WHAT IS IRE?
Interactive Reality Entertainment (IRE) is a method and system for producing live events-based, interactive branded entertainment. It currently has a patent pending.
IRE adds value to an already existing event or set of events by providing the option for attendees to participate in a real-time cross-media storyline incorporating the event, and connecting it with more events, social media, web and mobile media, all of which afford interactive touch points and new opportunities for product placement. The entire storyline is finally released in a free online movie encapsulating the previous content and attendee/content subscriber experiences.