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How We Turned a Colour into a Media Channel

The Influencers 540 Add to collection

Saatchi & Saatchi’s Jan Teulingkx on helping Gorillaz take over the world of magenta

How We Turned a Colour into a Media Channel
I never really had a thing with magenta.
I couldn’t associate anything with it. My favourite colour has always been blue.
When I think of blue I have memories, I see stories and adventures.
Today magenta is what I read every day at the bottom of the page of our briefs from Deutsche Telekom. Under the section politely titled 'Mandatories’. Magenta is Deutsche Telekom’s key branding asset. And they colour the world with it…
Don’t be mistaken, Deutsche Telekom gives us some of the biggest and bravest briefs in the world. It’s all about innovation, technology, reaching young generations with the most exciting content on the planet.

Deutsche Telekom - The Lenz App from Saatchi & Saatchi London on Vimeo.

Over the years I have learnt to understand and appreciate branding. Sometimes a logo or a colour are the key things that stand out in a world full of amazing content. And there’s no reason to underplay it. ‘Make the logo bigger’ is just a way of saying: the idea isn’t differentiating enough.
In this case, we were asked to showcase some of the incredible music content Telekom Electronic Beats has to offer. Including a partnership with Gorillaz. It’s hard to compete with Jamie Hewlett’s visual magic, if your only weapon is magenta.
Every brief has a tension: in this case, how does a brand stand out if you don’t create the content, but you’re just the carrier.
It’s accepting that challenge that leads to great work - when you realize Gorillaz is the main act and Deutsche Telekom is the stage. 
It was then, that the least expected element of that page became the magic one.
We made magenta the screen, the canvas to show that beautiful content.
All it needed was some mobile technology.
The technology we used is about 120 years old - the classic Chroma key. Today referred to as ‘green key’, used in every TV studio to bring the weather forecast. We just changed the green into magenta. So every time your mobile camera spots magenta, it triggers something completely different. The result was The Lenz - the perfect AR app. 
Gorillaz matched our thinking. A virtual band can pop-up everywhere. Now we could exaggerate the 'everywhere'. Gorillaz has taken plenty of risks, using holograms on world’s biggest stage (MTV Music awards). Even the first ‘virtual press conference’ Telekom Electronic Beats organised with them was a masterpiece of ‘technology-that-could-go-wrong-any-second’. And that's what made them a great partner to work with. 
The Lenz App (by B-Reel) is the kind of app that is simple yet totally brilliant. With so many markets involved we used geo-localisation to release specific pieces of content into different places. Object tracking linked specific footage to an object. Imagine a magenta newspaper ad that invites you to see a live streamed concert, tonight at 8pm, on that page. I definitely wouldn’t leave that paper on the train.
Our campaign has just started. We showed the path by spraying a lot of magenta in city centres, turned on magenta spotlights on buildings & fountains (yes, The Lenz App works on light and water) and even made a magenta cocktail in which you can see Gorillaz animations.
But the great part has been seeing how this protected and cherished brand identity has become something to play around with by this so-called ‘unreachable generation’. Colouring their hair magenta, their bedrooms, their bikes… even creating a new style of selfies – and all by inviting Gorillaz into their house.
It’s great to see how an idea grows in the hands of others. It changes a lot. Although blue is still my favourite colour at least I can link a great story to magenta today.

Jan Teulingkx is Regional Executive Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi

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Saatchi & Saatchi London, Fri, 05 May 2017 15:45:36 GMT