The creative brief was to highlight the fresh, local, made-from-scratch food that has transformed the Hard Rock menu over the last few years — and to do so without surrendering any of the brand’s rock edge. The result: “Meet Our Other Rock Stars,” new 60 and 30-second spots, written and created by Duncan/Channon, directed by Henry Hobson and produced by Alive and Well. The media brief was to reach 33 million people in 53 countries — and to do so without surrendering much of the brand’s marketing budget. The result: Hard Rock crafted a partnership with Facebook to hit users while they’re trash-talking with friends before, during and after the first streaming Super Bowl. Betting line: Hard Rock overwhelmingly favored to win.
In a well-deserved tribute to the agency’s interactive team, Duncan/Channon is being honored in this year’s Communications Arts Interactive Annual for the Hard Rock Booth Interactive.
Judge Rachel Pasqua pretty much hit the nail on the head when she described the interface, created for the new generation of Hard Rock Cafes, as “an innovative combination of social and touchscreen technology with a tactile twist on the old restaurant booth jukebox that lets users thumb through the memorabilia and cast their vote for the next video.”
Also honored in the CA Annual is the Rock Wall™, a sister project designed and developed by Obscura Digital which, like the booth interface, builds on the D/C-created Hard Rock memorabilia website. Big ups to them, to D/C’s development partners at Vertigo, and especially to Joe Tenczar and the Hard Rock team.
Hard Rock runs a massive video system to coordinate the displays throughout its cafes, hotels, casinos and live venues worldwide. Duncan/Channon collaborated with artist Erik Natzke to create a series of trippy, dynamically-generated animations to display when music other than music videos is playing (live bands, a DJ, etc.). Animations are paired randomly with whatever music happens to be playing at the time and each resolves into a specific visual revelation. Here’s a six-minute sample (you’ll have to supply your own mushrooms).
Music: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Mysteries” / Cut Chemist, “(My 1st) Big Break” / Manchester Orchestra, “The Only One”
It all started with a groundbreaking little Deep Zoom website, conceived and designed by Duncan/Channon, that enabled rock fans to get extremely up-close-and-personal with Hard Rock’s memorabilia collection without having to travel. The site, now featuring 1,100 priceless pieces of rock history (en route to thousands more), was an immediate popular success – and a critical one, too, winning D/C two Webby honors.
But even as development continues on still more amazing editions of the site and its widget, Hard Rock management threw down the gauntlet: get the technology “out of the box” and into the properties, starting with the new flagship cafe opening today on the Las Vegas Strip.
Working with Hard Rock’s crack technology, property-development and memorabilia teams, and our friends and software development partner Vertigo, D/C designed three new interfaces for the cafe. These include two apps for Microsoft Surface – the multi-touch, multi-user, interactive tabletop – as well as a touch-based interface for the restaurant’s 38 booths, where guests can manipulate memorabilia, peruse merchandise and vote on what video plays next in the cafe. The agency also consulted with Obscura Digital on the Rock Wall™ – a massive (18 x 4 ft.), interactive display that enables six simultaneous guests to explore Hard Rock memorabilia with their fingertips.
There’s more. And more to come. But, honestly, isn’t that enough?
Microsoft has officially launched a Seadragon app for the iPhone. Which means you can now browse high-resolution photo collections on your iPhone — including the Hard Rock memorabilia collection (as seen on the Hard Rock memorabilia website, conceived and designed by D/C and built by Vertigo).
So if you’re out and about and overcome by a sudden and insatiable need to see Morrison’s ripped leather pants, you totally can. Here’s how:
It’s fun to be sworn to secrecy. And for the last two months, until 9:30 this morning, Duncan/Channon has been just that.
Two months ago Microsoft gave the greenlight for D/C and our development partner, Vertigo, to create the first website to use Deep Zoom technology. Part of the new Silverlight plug-in, Deep Zoom effectively adds another dimension to the navigation of web pages, beyond scrolling horizontally and vertically, allowing users to seamlesssly zoom in — way in — on an object or group of objects.
Needless to say, this unreleased technology was a perfect match for the new memorabilia site we had begun designing for Hard Rock, which is to ultimately encompass 70,000 items from an unparalleled collection of historic rock treasures.
At a meeting in Redmond, Microsoft liked our proposed design so much they not only shared their new technology, they invited us to share the stage at their prestigious MIX Conference in Las Vegas, which kicked off this morning.
Hard Rock runs a massive video system that is displayed on flat-screens and wall projections throughout its 140 cafes, hotels, casinos and live venues worldwide. But, until now, this highly visible channel has not had a single piece of video to identify what it is. In addition, the system needed a looping piece to fill the monitors when music other than music videos was playing (e.g., a band or DJ).
So, first, D/C developed a musical signature for the channel, a flexible, 3-7-second piece that, in order to transcend tastes, trends, languages and genres — not to mention, cut through lots of ambient noise — is almost entirely made up of percussion.
Then the agency produced, directed and shot a series of guerilla-style bumpers, lo-fi animations and loops that, in both their style and substance, conveyed much more about the brand than that it has a A/V system. (The fine music accompanying the loop is merely for demo purposes. In reality, the loop is, of course, silent.)
View all on Vimeo.
Posted in Brand identity, Design, Hard Rock | 5 March 2008 | by D/C
To signify dorkishness, the 2001 movie Ghost World, set among contemporary twenty-somethings, clothed a character in a Hard Rock t-shirt. One measure (you surely have your own) of how far this 30-year-old brand had fallen. So D/C’s work, in close collaboration with Hard Rock’s new management team, started by clarifying and then communicating a new brand strategy to a confused rank-and-file. It continued on through revising the menus (graphically and otherwise), reviving merchandise sales and, through advertising, promotions and events, re-connecting the brand to contemporary culture and contemporary customers. Along the way, the agency completed a comprehensive, top-to-bottom design overhaul, which has now been awarded top honors from the prestigious REBRAND 100 competition, a worldwide contest that recognizes excellence involving both design and strategy.