Digital Activation and the ‘outernet’

The first time I’ve heard of the ‘outernet’ —as opposite to the internet— was through our very own OgilvyAction Head of Digital, Hugh Boyle. He’s been talking about it for a number of years now and refers to the increasing connection between the virtual and real worlds empowered by digital technology and ubiquity of mobile devices.

Others like Springwise call it the ’OFF=ON trend‘. Regardless of semantics, the concept has been gaining traction and recently ‘the first movie in the outernet’ has been launched.

The interactive film called ‘The Witness’ is a campaign for 13th Street Universal thriller and crime TV channel, and it combines technologies seamlessly to provide a new kind of storytelling experience.

An online promotion led to the selection of a few final participants in an extremely engaging movie/game that takes place in this space between reality and fiction, the real and the digital worlds.

The participants had to start the game at a hotel in Berlin where they could witness a crime scene through their phones, using GPS, a special app designed for the iPhone, pre-recorded footage and game mechanics. As the story unfolded, they needed to move through different locations, collect clues using QR codes, interact with the movie characters that would appear impromptu on their way and even take critical decisions that might lead them to become the heroes of the film of just dead characters.

You can watch ‘The Witness’ video here.

No doubt it makes it a highly relevant campaign for the brand  but, most importantly, it points out to the multiple possibilities for enhanced interactions with shoppers throughout the patch to purchase or building new and exciting brand experiences.

As long as your audience has a mobile phone and a good reason to interact with your brand, the ‘outernet’ provides a rich new space for all sorts of hybrid and meaningful experiences. All sorts of technologies can enable this clash of worlds but it seems that the key is still some kind of game mechanics and good old-fashioned storytelling.