Wieden & Kennedy, 2009
Coraline is a stop-motion animation film. The movie was originally made for children aged 8 to 12. The developers saw opportunities to expand this group through a clever campaign. They searched the internet for bloggers with a lot of followers, who could possibly be interested in the movie. Each blogger got a package with a unique, hand-made box. They were filled with several parts of the puppets or small tools that were used for the film. A key with a code was to be found in each one of these boxes. This code gave access to a teaser website with games and movies like trailers and making-offs. Because the bloggers didn’t keep the passwords for themselves, it created a buzz. The codes were everywhere on the internet: blogs, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. A lot of people got a sneak preview of what they could expect. There was also a virtual world where people could for instance make a picture of themselves with button-eyes and share it with their friends.
But that was not the only way Coraline got the people’s attention. On 14 locations in the U.S.A., you could find interactive Coraline-windows and walls. There was a mirror in which you could see yourself with button-eyes, just like the characters. And there were ghosts trapped behind fogged up glass, they came to live when someone walked along. Nike made exclusive glow-in-the-dark Coraline-sneakers.
This product-launching transmedia project really shows the mood and feeling of the film. The fifty unique, handmade boxes fit the theme perfectly. The mystery is a success, people entered the story because they were curious and they wanted to know more.
The special thing about this campaign is that is was designed for a secondary target group. In some parts of the campaign you imagine yourself in Caroline’s world, but in other parts you can take a look at this world from another perspective. You can see what the set looks like and how much work it is to make the puppets move right. And you can see that the sweaters Coraline wears are knitted with needles, because they are so tiny. This gives the older audience admiration for the creators and gets them more interested in the film.
As with the Vanishing Point Game this campaign used the influence of popular bloggers, which worked very well. But the more often it is used, the less impression it makes. Copying an idea, does not always copy success.