interTrend, a Long Beach-based communications firm that specializes in Asian-American focused advertising was awarded an Effie Award for its work on a viral video campaign it produced for AT&T last year.
The company, in conjunction with San Diego based Wong Fu Productions, created a marketing campaign that used mini-movies with each episode following two young Asian actors trying to connect after a luggage mix up. Titled Away We Happened, the series showcased the practicalities of AT&T technology in everyday life and encouraged online viewers to use social media to vote on what should happen in the next episode. Producers then tallied votes and usually over the course of about two days would create the next seven-minute episode. Jon Yokogawa, managing director at interTrend told online marketing blog ClickZ that the six-week process required flexibility from all parties involved.
The success of the experimental marketing scheme was something unexpected by AT&T. According to the company, nearly 4,700 suggestions were made through Facebook during the five weeks the episodes were produced and the project logged more than 10 million viewers. The L.A. Times wrote an entire feature on the campaign, calling it a "blend [of] elements [from] South Korean soap operas with a novel Japanese storytelling device that employed online social networks" and noted that the unusual interactive web nature of the series "could provide a template for advertising in the future."
With so much response, the international communications giant was forced to reconsider the power of crowd-sourced series for future ad campaigns.
interTrend is a marketing firm with a reputation for connecting Fortune 500 companies with Asian-American market segments. They currently rent office space at 555 E. Ocean, but in November announced their plans to restore the dilapidated Psychic Temple on Broadway and make it permanent interTrend headquarters.
The Effie Awards, founded in 1968, are awarded annually to companies to celebrate effective marketing strategies. Through the awards, the company hopes to spotlight innovative marketing techniques and create a dialogue about the constantly changing world of marketing and communications.