Ascentium sits squarely on the razor-thin line that divides technology from creative in the digital space. Though the agency has its own brand clients, it often works closely with Microsoft and its agency of record, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, to deliver the technological expertise that brings creative to life online.
Working on behalf of the California Strawberry Commission, Ascentium built a virtual town, Strawberryville. The town is really a game, and the game is really a teaching tool designed to educate children about the benefits of Strawberries. What we loved about Strawberryville was that the platform works for kids of all ages as well as parents and teachers. Each user group gets a site packed with info, and there's hardly an animated portion of the site that you can't click on to learn more.
What's Challenging About Digital Right Now?
"Digital suffers in sympathy with [the] market," says the agency's CMO Romi Mahajan. "Right now, all customers are challenged with budgets, and as such, some of them hew back to traditional methods because risk-taking is seen as frivolous [by some]."
One part think-tank for brand strategy and one part entertainment company, Big Fuel sees itself as the go-to agency for building user engagement. To date, it has worked with a diverse group of brands from FOX and NBCU to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Some brands do media buys, others make media, which is exactly what Big Fuel did for Neutrogena's "One Less Stress" campaign. Building on a successful Spring Break event, Big Fuel got teen girls using Neutrogena to audition for a web-based reality show that details a range of issues young women must face. Throughout the series, Neutrogena was positioned as the product that helps teenage girls reduce and manage their daily stresses.
The Most Exciting Thing About Digital Right Now?
"These are exponential times -- from the way content is being consumed to the dramatic shift in audience control when it comes to marketing and advertising messages -- and there is a need for new methods of engaging with consumers," says Big Fuel founder Avi Savar. "This need is driven by new channels of communication and more audience fragmentation. Where it gets really exciting it that independent creative shops have tremendous opportunity to make a dramatic impact. Smaller agencies are able to leverage new technology, new media platforms, efficiencies in production process, etc., to do a lot more for brands with a lot less money -- and typically in a third of the time. The opportunity to do great work while pioneering new ways of thinking is truly exciting."
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