Sunday, October 14, 2012

Epic Marketing WIN: Byzantium Security

I recently got back from a trip to New York City. On Wall Street, I saw a pretty bold backlit ad on a Newsstand. I took a picture of it since it captured my attention. The resulting experience was one of the most dynamic and engaging marketing campaigns that I have ever encountered. Sorry, but if you are looking for an Epic Marketing Fail, you won't find one in this post...


We're Not for Everyone. Just the 1% that Matters.
With so much going on in New York City it takes a lot to stand out, and yet, the simplicity and bold nature of the copy on the above display ad cut through the noise. It was amplified by the die-hard occupy Wall Street protesters taking up space just a block away.

The ad's location on Wall Street makes it seem like it's targeted at 'the 1%' for some kind of security service. I was intrigued, I wanted to know more. I forgot about it until I got home and uploaded my pictures to iPhoto. Naturally, I went to the website. On the homepage there is an embedded video:

Byzantium Security Website
It's an ad for 'Byzantium Security'. It's very well done and talks about the value that Byzantium Security can bring to the world's elite. Okay, now I am even more intrigued. Who are these guys? Who uses them? Does Jason Bourne work here? I want to know more...

The second and only other call-to-action on the site is to complete a series of tests to see if you have what it takes to be a security operative at Byzantium Security. I've always wondered how I would do on one of these...

Define 'normal'.
What follows is a series of 5 psychological tests. After every stage it offers up a personal & tailored results based on your selections. My curiousity lead me to find that they actually worked with a cognitive psychologist to produce the tests (more on that later...).

Each stage of the tests prompts you to share your results on your social networks, making the campaign extremely viral. But don't be mistaken, its not the fact that the social media buttons are present that makes it sharable, its the experience and content that makes you want to share it.

I got 99 problems but social ain't 1.
At the VERY end of all of these tests, you discover that this has nothing to do with 'Byzantium Security' at all, in fact, it is ALL for a new Cinemax show called 'Hunted'.

This absolutely blew me away. The lengths they went to build this campaign are unbelievable. The amount of time spent developing the psychological testing, the fake website for the security company and the video that was shot with the show's lead actress, Melissa George, must have been a massive effort. But the payoff was all worth it.

The thing that does it for me is their non-traditional approach. It's an approach that produces a memorable experience along the way and that is the result of all of the above elements working together seamlessly.

  1. Create an experience.
    Many marketers struggle with getting their audience to share their content. This campaign created an experience that was simply too awesome not to tell other people about it.
  2. Keep it simple
    The display ad didn't have any distractions. There weren't unnecessary images or QR codes, just what you need.
  3. Bold
    The copy on the ad was bold and timely. The whole 1% thing has been a huge topic of conversation and controversy, especially on Wall Street where the ad was found.
  4. Intrigue
    Although the topic of assassins and CIA operatives is intriguing in itself, the marketers created a desire to figure out what Byzantium Security was all about.
  5. Different
    You can only make a movie/TV trailer is so many different ways. This was a truly different and unique way to promote a TV show that is much higher impact and memorable than any 30 second trailer could ever be.
  6. 1 call-to-action
    From the display ad to the website, to the interactive psychological testing, a fairly complex campaign comes off with apparent simplicity. It's absolutely critical to make it as easy as possible for your prospects to take that next step to get them to do what you ultimately want them to.
  7. Escape hatches
    If someone wants to abandon the test at any point (not sure why you would, but I tried just to see what would happen) they show their final call-to-action, which is the trailer for the movie.
  8. Social
    Creating a social campaign is so much more than having the icons on your email/website or landing page. It all starts with creating an experience that compel people to want to share it.
If you haven't already, go to and check it out for yourself. I don't want to ruin the end of the testing, but if your results are anything like mine, it's truly mind-blowing. Once you have, make sure to share your experience on the ever growing list of comments on their Storify feed. Slow-clap for Campfire for putting this together.

This is for you, Campfire.
Finally, remember, as a wise man once told me, 'Dont treat your audience like they are working for you, treat them like you are working for them'.

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