If you grew up ever wanting to be Storm or Wolverine like I did, you’ve probably been tapping your foot impatiently waiting for today’s release of the latest X-MEN flick, “The Last Stand.” For those of us who are in the know, the good news is you’ve had plenty of time to get hyped with new media agency Hybrid Studio’s online campaign since it launched in September.
The campaign, which is every bit as flashy as the movie hopes to be, follows the Southern California-based agency’s work on the first two X-MEN movies. As Jeff Lin, president and creative director for Hybrid Studio explains it to ADOTAS, “At the beginning of the campaign in Aug ’05, we visited the movie set in Vancouver. We were able to see the production art, read the script and get a feel for this movie. We did the first and second X-MEN site for Fox, both of which were groundbreaking at the time.”
Lin continues, “We were again tasked to come up with something amazing. Our internal goal was to set a new standard for movie Web sites. We base our ideas for the Web site on the X-MEN movie property, our intimate knowledge of the comics, and we give it our interpretation of what the online extension of that X-MEN movie’s world would be. As fans ourselves, we wanted to build a site that we would love. The hard part is to come up with a concept for the site long before we even see a photo or a trailer.”
Regardless of having to blindly create the campaign, the agency came together and created a fully interactive campaign complete with a “mock browser” “The concept was to create an intriguing interface that would have depth and layers of complexity,” Lin says. “We really wanted fans to feel rewarded for visiting the site and spend some serious time on the site. The best thing we can do is help generate a buzz for the movie through our online design.”
The site includes all the usual suspects: downloadable wallpapers and AIM icons, ringtones, character profiles, movie trailers and photos, a downloadable game, and The Cure Summit forum, but it also includes downloadable X-MEN III Remote Widgets for iTunes (available in Apple and Yahoo). Very cool branding for the desktop. Additionally, one of the components of the campaign that has been sparking much of the attention to the Web site is the MySpace page the agency created along with the page takeover on the main MySpace homepage that’s been driving the traffic.
The site, which was created from a combination of Adobe Photoshop, 3d max, After Effects, ActionScript, database integration, and Flash 8, is one of the more impressive visually than most online campaigns. In fact, when asked what viral features were integrated into the site, the company said the look of the site itself has brought more word-of-mouth attention than “any e-card we could have built” because as Lin put it, “Good design and creativity is the original and the best viral element.”
But for all you X-MEN super fans, like me, who might be a bit apprehensive and skeptical at any derision from the comic book roots, Hybrid Studio has had only positive feedback from their target demographic, the “alpha fans.” “We’re really proud of the fact that the fans who were previously skeptical of the upcoming film, its new director had now changed their minds completely,” Lin reassures us. “Since the official site was released, one of the fanboy sites which was notorious for trashing this upcoming movie, the director, the studio, and even the studio exec ceased up in their criticisms.
“That was such a huge turn of events… from such scathing criticism to utter silence as soon as this site was released.”