Orcon and Special Group strike again with ‘living office’

Banner ads are often criticised for being boring, cheesy, annoying, intrusive or a combination of all four. David McGregor, writing in Idealog, went as far as calling online promotional activity “the Great Pacific Garbage Patch of the advertising business”. But Orcon, Special Group, Exposure and Salt Interactive have joined forces to show that very good things can happen when the utility of the digital space is combined with the ideas of agency land.

Like 2degrees, Orcon is also going down the simple, flexible, no-contracts road and the interactive banner ad aims to dramatise how its offerings give New Zealand companies the freedom to grow and change. It is just ‘push play’ interactivity, but it allows readers to watch mini-episodes of office life, covering everything from the unbridled joy of a new business win through to a fairly entertaining office meltdown. And there’s even an escaped convict involved (perhaps aimed at potential clients in Mt Eden).

The banner is live on the masthead of the Herald Business and Stuff Business pages today. But you should just have a play with it on our very own banner above this story. Or here.

Following up ‘Orcon + Iggy’, which, as most now know, was hugely successful both in terms of customer acquisition and award wins, was always going to be a tough ask, and while this isn’t of the same integrated, multi-platform scale, it is similar in the sense that it’s a brave, very involved and quite novel production that required plenty of problem solving and posed a number of logistical challenges, particularly the moving wall and the ‘reset point’, where the loop starts again.

Special Group’s creative director Tony Bradbourne says it was basically the equivalent of making several TVCs. And because this hasn’t really be attempted before and falls somewhere between the two genres of online and TV, there were plenty of technical and budgetary unknowns to deal with.

Still, as the Iggy campaign showed, risk can often equal reward and this unique and entertaining banner ad perfectly aligns with the creative approach Orcon, which won the ‘creative business of the year’ at this year’s AXIS awards, is becoming renowned for.

Chris Clark, the director of the ‘living office’ project, is a firm believer that the internet and television are slowing merging into one commodity. And he thinks this is one of the first examples of that in New Zealand. And while he wouldn’t divulge the budget, he did say it would be classified as a very expensive banner ad, but as a cheap TVC, primarily because everything was so well-organised before the shoot and there was so little post production required.

Whether it’s successful or not, Clark says it’s a very cool and it’s very well-executed. And he believes we’ll be seeing much more of in the future.

“I think this is the area advertising is going to go. But for this kind of thing, the budgets aren’t set. So I think it’s going to take the success of a few of them before things change,” he says.

Clark, who was a huge fan of the Iggy campaign, was stoked to be able to work with both Special Group and Orcon and says the Cannes Lions recognition meant everyone knew they had to step it up a notch in terms of what needed to be done. And, after this, a few more notches might need to be created to go up.


Agency: Special Group
Creative Directors: Rob Jack and Tony Bradbourne
Account Director: Annabel Rees
Managing Partner: Michael Redwood
Producer: Mahsa Willis
Media Planning: Sean McCready

Production Company: Exposure
Director: Chris Clark
Producer: Craig Henderson
DOP: Andrew Stroud
Art Director: Ashley Turner

Interactive Agency: Salt Design
Interactive Creative Director/Designer: Michael Chalberg
Senior Interactive Designer/Developer: Lee Burrow
Interactive Producer: Stephen Williams

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