Something which I enjoy about my role here is the development of my creative side. I’ve always enjoyed creative writing and although I’m not artist I like to make and create things. Something which I didn’t really expect was that observing creative processes would develop the way I think about things and although the role I am in is production based I’ve had some cracking opportunities to be creative.
I received an email from Steve White with one of his infamous subject lines reading “If you only open one email this year, make it this one….” So I thought I had better give it a read. What I discovered was a challenge which seemed to be aimed more towards the creative studio but which asked for a “no shackles” April Fools concept to present to our client, camera retail giants Jessops. Last year’s efforts made it into the Sun and had numerous mentions on top radio stations and in photography related articles, so this year the challenge was set once more. The sign off was aimed at us Account Handlers probing “have a go if you think you’re hard enough!” Not one to shy away from a challenge I put my thinking cap on.
At first I was thinking towards a magical photo route. As a huge fan of all things Harry Potter, I thought it might be a fun idea to use animated gifs to create the illusions of moving photo products just like the supernatural images in the hit movies. I worked up a presentation to support the idea and sent it over to Steve for consideration. Whilst in the consideration process someone else submitted a very similar idea, however, I believe it was a “two great minds” situation rather than a case of foul play and intellectual theft (But I think the jury’s still out) After hearing there was a similar idea in the pipeline I decided that I needed a backup plan. I started with a fresh look on things and decided to go down a different route.
After teaming up with Shitha we created the NoPod which is the revolutionary “hovering tripod” which uses Maglev technology to suspend your camera in the air abolishing the need for heavy and bulky apparatus whilst out on shoots. The NoPod impressed the creatives and went on to be chosen by Jessops to be their hardware April Fools email. It was donned the Ballatro NoPod – Ballotro being the name for a Jester or Joker in ancient Greece- to give the product a stronger brand presence. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing our fictional product come to life and hearing all the positive feedback.
When the 1st of April came the emails dropped and we announced it on social media and had a great response from our fans. Many stating they had not been fooled (but who really knows!) and many comments expressed the actual need for this product.
We were retweeted by several followers and were mentioned in an article by the Amateur Photographer Magazine. Furthermore, when looking at the emails performance results we had managed an excellent open rate of 26% and considering the nature of the email an impressive click through rate. When clicked on the email would divert to an unveiling page where customers were greeted with a “Fooled you!” message accompanied by some similar real products that they could buy and they proved to be a very popular channel with a good number of orders being made off the back on this email.
Not Only did we get some great responses from Social Media and Email Marketing, it was reported to Head Office that the joke has lasted longer than we intended. A camera enthusiast recently visited one of the Jessops stores and requested to buy our Ballatro NoPod. When they were told it was an April Fools they were disappointed that such a great product doesn’t exist and wrote in to Head Office to let us know how he felt about it! I’m really proud of what we made here sand really happy that my idea got through! It has certainly been a highlight of my placement so far.