A good idea is all you need

A good idea and the skill to pull it off is truly all you need to cause a stir ,this is one of my favourites over the last few years.

As you can imagine there must have being some panic in CIA circles as the viral clip sparked a genuine investigation into the security breach at air force one.

The clip shows a lone graffiti artist jumping the fence of Andrews Air Force Base while the  Secret Service were on a donut break— he then unleashes his paint can all over the President’s 747 to spell out the mysterious tag “Still Free.”

The grainy video, which pointed viewers to the website stillfree.com, got bloggers and press from ABC News to sky News buzzing about whether or not the White House was being Punk’d— this clip gained huge media time for urban clothier Marc Ecko, the assumed culprit behind the defacing. The viral turned out to be the first public project out of Droga5, in partnership with production company Smuggler and director Randy Krallman.

The Anti- authoritarian Ecko-promoting stunt brilliantly leveraged word of mouth power and starting showing up on numerous of internet sites and blogs worldwide, earning awards galore, including the Cyber Grand Prix, Silver and Bronze Media Lions at Cannes—and a Creativity Award from the judges at creativity online

In an interview with Droga5s executive creative director, Duncan Marshall revealed some great behind the scenes information.

We knew we wanted to create a pop culture moment. We had a very brave client, but we didn’t have a huge budget, we figured we should try and show the ultimate in graffiti somehow. And convince people it was real. We kicked about the idea of having The White House tagged, but it seemed too predictable, and anyway, no one would believe it for a second. Air Force One was a bit more of an unknown, and visually more interesting. (I said Air Force One first, by the way, although the others may contest this)

We thought the challenge was going to be Ecko buying into it—but he was up for it. In fact he wanted a bit more action than we felt would be believable, and we had to pull him back. Unsurprisingly, the biggest challenge was getting a 747 that we could turn into Air Force One without anyone asking too many questions. And doing it in two weeks. One was found one in Mexico, but the owner wanted it to be left as Air Force One after the shoot, and it all seemed a bit sketchy. Then we found one in Arizona, but it turned out to belong in some way or other to the C.I.A. So we tiptoed away. We also knew we had to get genuine graffiti artists from the outset, otherwise people would have called us on it immediately. Luckily, someone got hold of three guys who knew what they were doing. Randy did an amazing job directing—again, it was crucial to make it look like the taggers had just shot it on the fly—and to show clues that bloggers would pick up on while making it look like the camera was the last thing they were thinking about.

It is important to know that the mass media are always hungry for content. And that people don’t mind being misled for a while as long as they’re entertained along the way.


The results

In the first week it hit 3500+ websites, had over 100 major broadcast news appearances, and was featured in over 17,000 global news outlets. It recorded 23 million unique visits in the first two weeks on www.stillfree.com. The total audience to date, according to Associated Press and Nielsen Ratings is 115 million+. 

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