The Invited by Studio McGuire
The Invited Campaign Walkthrough
The Invited by Studio McGuire reimagines the classic story of Dracula with a pop-up book augmented by AR technology serving as a conduit for Dracula’s reincarnation into the world. Set in a dark, secret location, a book and a tablet together summon one audience at a time through an unsettling 20-minute experience in which each page turn reveals a new exquisite kirigami world and a new set of broody holograms. The Invited is a 2020 phase one prototype funded by CreativeXR.
Research suggests that VR and AR are not markedly different in terms of current sites of engagement: Both technologies are most popular in the home amongst younger audiences, and, as of 2020, both VR and AR are most commonly consumed outside of the home amongst audiences over the age of 25, a statistic that likely reflects the headset manufacturers’ current marketing approaches and the traditional video gaming audience. While the market for temporary events, installations, art galleries and museums predicated on AR technology is currently small, research also indicates that there is a small but thriving market for temporary events, installations, art galleries and museums predicated on VR technology. As such, and in order to try and broaden the audience for AR experiences, it was key for our R&D content to promote the aura of magical worlds that audiences may well associate with VR, albeit communicating the power of AR to reveal dark layers of magic hidden within our own world.
Disclaimer: This material was produced as an R&D project, and did not form part of a real marketing campaign. It was informed by the Immersive Promotion Bible, funded by StoryFutures Academy, 2021.
Aim: To broaden the audience for AR-based event experiences by taking a magic-orientated approach to promotion, specifically based on miniaturisation and paper-craft that foregrounds layers of revelation.
Campaign title: ‘Visible to Some'.
Promotional strategy: We centre the promotion around the idea that Dracula was never just a story, but a warning from history about the evils the plague all our lives. The campaign sets up a mystery about what Dracula needs to bring himself back to life, with the promotional materials luring audiences in through four phases of immersion: seeing, revealing, entering and becoming. The original theme of Dracula – that we need both contemporary science and ancient knowledge together – is reimagined here as the answer to the mystery, i.e. the secret to Dracula's reincarnation rests in the marrying of a kirigami book and the digital technologies of our modern world. The ‘everyday miracle’ of the campaign is therefore rooted in making dark magic real, with its secrets hidden inside the world of kirigami, a world that is only visible via the digital lens.
Platforms: Social media (Facebook); videos; website; origami invitation letter with QR code-led video.
All R&D content was designed by Matthew Freeman, who co-produced the materials with Naomi Smyth.
Central Promotional Image
For the Awareness phase, we created social media posts for a Facebook page ('DraculaImmersed'). The social media was focused on the first of our immersive phases - seeing - with content setting up the mystery of what Dracula needs in order to bring himself back to life. We adopted the logic that the Short Fiction immersive format is best characterised as akin to being immersed in a great book, hence our captions are based on the evocative language of the Dracula novel, notably quotes that hint at the campaign's mystery.