Clicking for Hobbits

​​Google’s Chrome experiments are generally cause for nerdish celebration as they push the browser to strange and creative places. And now, as The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies gets sets for launch, it’s updated the interactive map of Middle-earth it launched around one year ago with a host of new tricks.

The site, which was created by Swedish agency North Kingdom, now offers content from all six Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Movies and allows viewers to check out all 27 locations. 

As it says on Creativity: “It’s fully optimised for mobile phones and new features include interactive battlegrounds, where visitors can pretend they’re taking part in epic battles from Tolkien’s books. Players can choose whether to be good or evil and are given a Tolkien-esque name before pitting themselves against mythical creatures from the books and films. They can also challenge friends to a battle using peer-to-peer gameplay technology. Also new is a ‘hero’s journey’ section to follow the journeys of Bilbo and Frodo with 3D animations and interactive navigation.” 

When we chatted with Google’s Annie Baxter a while back, she said digital marketing started as a performance and direct response technology. But now it’s moving into brand.

“It’s got this perception issue to overcome. I don’t think people are even close to pushing it as far as it can go. But at what point will someone be as proud to have done a beautiful digital campaign as they would to have made an iconic TV ad? The classic TV approach was to create an emotional experience that will get people talking and get mass reach. If you look at what browsers are now capable of, in terms of the graphics and sounds they can support, or the work The New York Times and The Guardian do, it’s beautiful. That’s a huge territory for brands to get into, to create those online experiences that people want to share and talk about because they are gorgeous and creative and use the medium to its full potential. It’s not just a dead screen. That’s why we have a Creative Lab and do Chrome Experiments  [like Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown]. The idea is that there could be a nugget in there that a creative director or CMO sees that could work for a brand.” 

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