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How D&AD and Flashmat drew in the crowds with the Doodle Sketch Book

Flashmat shared the prize for ‘Event Technology of the Year’ at The Drum Experience Awards 2019 with its Doodle Sketch Book project for D&AD. Here, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project.

The challenge

D&AD, a globally renowned non-profit advertising and design association, asked Flashmat to create an interactive and creative experience at the D&AD Festival. The festival is a three-day creative spectacular celebrating the world’s best in craft, creativity and culture. Around 4,000 creatives from across the industry came together to connect, learn and stimulate new thinking for the year ahead.

Traditionally, the Festival has been strong on displaying design ideas and great advertising via print medium and screens. However, the ambition of this year’s Festival was to ramp up the experiential, digital and interaction feel of the event to excite the next generation of creatives coming through. The theme of the Festival this year was ‘Shape the Future’.

We had the following key objectives from D&AD:

• Engage and inspire the audience of designers, creatives, brand leaders, agencies, students (and even school kids!).

• Bring a buzz to the Festival floor and get people talking about D&AD and the Festival.

• Bring the latest and greatest tech (“digital”) whilst retaining the core essence of creative drawing and design (“analogue”).

• Work within the overall branding of the Festival.

• Ultimately get as many people as possible organically sharing content to the Festival hashtag (#DandAD19)

The strategy

We all doodle - in a meeting, on a call, in the corner of your notebook or an old invoice. Those little sketches made by our subconscious can tell us a lot about ourselves and our personality.

We took the simplest and most spontaneous form of art and created a whole experience around it – the Doodle Sketch Booth. A solution where guests could explore their own doodle meanings and show others their super-personalised video and final image of their doodle creation.

We were given a prime area near to the entrance of 3.5m x 6m. We delivered the end-to-end activation (design, creative, technology, staffing); the stand was built by our supplier NoSuchThingStudios under our direction.

The campaign

The team applied specialist knowledge to bring the vision to life. We built a structure to house a floor to ceiling piece of glass surrounded by two painted walls in D&AD designs, with a backdrop, which doubled up an iPad wall. We put in place a complex technical setup to produce videos and photos, automatically edit them and allow festival goers to share to their email and on social media.

Festival goers could draw on the glass with a chalk pen creating a striking black and white video displaying their message. With studio-quality cameras and an interactive touchscreen for users, the Flashmat team worked on all aspects of production, from lighting to post-production, and ensuring the video clips were highly sharable on social media.

The team worked hard to put in place a slick and straightforward user journey. Our automatic editing software was key to ensuring that the final videos confirmed to the creative specifications of the campaign. Each film was:

- Mirrored; to allow the viewer to see the delegate’s doodle as it was drawn.

- Cropped into a square format suitable for sharing on Instagram.

- Sped-up; to create a more dynamic video that could be read quickly on social media.

- Finalised with discreet yet clear D&AD branding.

Our Doodle Dictionary was a proprietary document created for this experience by significant research of many sources and designed in the D&AD style. There are over 100 of the most popular doodles analysed and outlined.

Guests were filmed doodling for 30 seconds on glass, and then had a one-pose photo taken with their creation. They were then invited to print and email their masterpiece as well as their 15-second time-lapse video. Afterwards they could consult our Doodle Dictionary to understand the meaning of their doodle. All festival goers also received a follow-up email with their specific doodle meaning contained in it.

Guests could watch a wall of other doodling, including a live stream of doodling taking place, D&AD graphics, Mr Doodle, Google doodle project, etc. Text explaining doodles was placed around the stand and many guests spent time exploring the Doodle Dictionary and talking with hosts about the meanings. Guests were also invited to stick their doodles on the doodle wall.

The results

There was an incredible buzz from the attendees to the Doodle Sketch Booth – it was a continuously busy stand (with other stands looking on jealously!), some great feedback and loads of organic sharing online (a lot more than other activations).

The dwell time of participants was between 10 – 20 minutes on the stand (a high number) suggesting that participants were engaged with the content around them, had a strong desire to participate and happy to talk to the hosts at the stand. Queues did not scare people away but drew them in!

During D&AD festival over 800 people (approx 20% of attendees) experienced the Doodle Sketch Booth. Over 200 doodles were shared across Instagram making it the most attractive stands of the festival, with a reach of over 350,000 on social media.

This project was a winner at The Drum Experience Awards. Click here to register your interest in 2020’s event.

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