A decades old, universally recognized brand, Hard Rock had lost its way — and was losing its audience. The goal of the relaunch, awarded top prize in the Rebrand 100 competition, was to restore the luster that had once motivated stars to hand over guitars. This meant cleaning up logos, creating an overarching corporate logo, finding a way to say “rock ’n’ roll restaurant” wordlessly and opening up to modern music, among eight years of other things.
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 has a cafe at the brand new Yankee Stadium, and, along with the prime real estate, gets thirty seconds every game in front of 50,000 fans on the hi-def Jumbotron. Not surprisingly, they tossed the opportunity to agency of record, D/C, which cooked up a modern mashup of the old chestnut “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as sung by New York-area rock stars.
The spot was mostly shot at the stadium the day before it opened. And the musical cast included Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, en route to a plane to Cleveland for his induction into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame; Bronx native and Yankees fanatic Ace Frehley of Kiss; Scott Ian of Anthrax; Little Steven Van Zant; the Bacon Brothers (Kevin and Michael); the Dictators’ Handsome Dick Manitoba, another Bronx-bred Bombers fan; and Bernie Williams, the retired Yankees star — and hot-shot guitarist — now making his own promising play for rock stardom.
In addition to the scoreboard, the spot will be aired on the TV systems at both the Yankee Stadium and Times Square cafes.
The Hard Rock memorabilia collection encompasses 70,000 fascinating pieces — from Prince’s tiny purple boots to the handwritten lyrics for “Imagine” to thousands of guitars — and is 100% real. It’s also the basis of the brand’s authenticity. The goal here was to enable the entire world, beyond even the millions of annual in-person visitors, to get up-close and personal with the objects — and with the brand’s enduring coolness. The site, featuring Deep Zoom technology, became the foundation for digital kiosks, walls and tables at all properties.
Well, they say chefs are the new rock stars.