Winning a Clio Key Art Grand award is a big deal. No secret there, but the way Fox Networks Group won for its multi-country outdoor art project made the win even more impressive.
Outcast Art was a project designed to promote the horror show Outcast on Cinemax. The show, starring Patrick Fugit, was based on the Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta comic of the same name and dealt with frightening themes of demonic possession and psychic scarring. The Outcast Art project (#outcastart) charged talented graffiti artists from around the globe to re-create panels that, when strung together would preview a scene from the show for its launch campaign. The way the project unfolded was the ultimate media tease.
Outcast Art gave fans a chance to see an exclusive scene from episode 1. Azaceta drew 12 panels to illustrate the scene, then commissioned the artists to paint them on walls in 12 cities, including Berlin, London, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney and Stockholm. When the murals were finished – 12 murals, two murals a day over a six-day period – they were uploaded to Outcastart.tv, where fans could gradually see the scene unfolding, as well as see the art’s progress and hear interviews with the graffiti artists, including Aroe and James Jirat, who were given the freedom to interpret the art in their voices.
Using a geo-location trigger, fans could unlock a sneak preview of the scene even sooner if they visited the city’s artwork, building hype and excitement along the journey. When all 12 pieces wre done, a video brought the scene to life.
The results for the launch campaign were stunning: over four minutes of dwell time, over four million impressions spanning 125 countries and 18.7 million social media views to go along with great reviews for the first season of the show.
“The project itself was incredibly ambitious, to say the least. The fact that it made it into a such high honor was really unprecedented for us. We're very humbled and honored by having won the Grand Prix at the Clio Key Art Awards,” said Alexandra Marinescu, senior VP, Marketing, Fox Networks.
“We put a lot of effort and energy into the show. It has been a truly team effort with all the regions involved. It feels really good. We never thought we were going to win it,” added Corina Capuano-Saccone, VP Creative Services at Fox Networks Group.
The two are wowed by the win, especially since they rarely submit their work for awards. But they knew they had something special with this project.
Ambition with a global theme
Outcast Art didn’t start out as quite an ambitious project as it ended up. It was born with Fox’s Italian, UK and German teams. They were all seeking something that would appeal globally, like with The Walking Dead zombie invasion that launched that top-rated show. Considering the scope of the project, the studio had to find partners to help facilitate some of the builds, and they went with the UK shop, Red Beam.
“There was a lot of source material. We were able to engage with both Robert Kirkman, as well as Paul Azaceta to develop the idea further. The social media legs that it got and the unlocking of the content — and all of the video production that went into each local mural build — that was Red Bee,” said Marinescu.
With seven years experience working with The Walking Dead, and knowing how Kirkman worked because of that show, they knew that he wanted to translate the graphic novel to a TV show — and it was critical that they stayed authentic to his creative vision, including being true to the character in the story.
“The heart of Outcast was that it's a genre show. At the same time, it did not have to look sci-fi, or too horror. It was more about the drama with the characters. All the things we designed were created from the base of (lead character) Kyle's drawings when he was a kid. The logo itself came from that. All the treatments you'd see on the website, on the stand; everything is related to these drawings. Everything was more about the character who's an outcast and who is trapped like a demon in this little town,” said Capuano-Saccone.
“For all of our global shows, we have incredibly long-lead, multi-phase, trans-media, all the buzz words that you want to throw in there, campaign,” added Marinescu. “We like to culminate it with something that has mass appeal, that's very PR-able. We didn't want to stage these exorcisms in town squares. That seemed to be a departure from the show itself. (The murals) seemed to be the right blend of tipping the hat to their comic book characters and also bringing to life the fact that it is now a show.”
Teamwork across the globe
The pressure of getting the murals done, the scene unveiled and the promos completed before the show’s premiere was a tight squeeze for the team, especially considering they were dealing with multiple teams in 12 cities in various continents.
“One of the things that makes Fox and what we do really special is, the fact that we have our little global team and we're basically the puppeteers of 52 marketing teams in offices around the world that have a really deep understanding of the concepts, of the audience, of everything,” said Marinescu.
“Whenever we come up with these global ideas, it really resonates with the local audience. It's not just us in LA dreaming these things up, it's actually our teams in London and Manila and wherever else, putting their hearts and minds into making it and development. I'm always amazed by having to extract the idea and then, rallying the team and everybody buys into it and everybody puts passion behind it. It always works out — knock on wood I should say. It has worked out so far.”
The team doesn’t have much time to revel in its win, however sweet it may be. While they aren’t trying to outpace their Outcast effort, they are trying to do the best they can with the next project, which is for another comics-based show, Legion, from Noah Hawley.
“We're cooking up some fun new things for our next show. It's not about one-upping so much as it is just constantly trying to be innovative and fun and true to the project and market. I don't necessarily feel like what we did for Outcast one-upped the global zombie invasion, where hordes of zombies invaded 26 capitals, all on the day of the premiere. That in itself was challenging. That was right for that campaign. This is right for this campaign. It’s about identifying what's unique and how to bring that to life in a really big, massive way for the show,” concluded Marinescu.