Last November, Xbox celebrated the launch of Rise of the Tomb Raider in the U.K. with quite a sadistic stunt in London. It challenged eight Lara Croft fans to stand on a billboard and get pummeled with harsh weather, as voted for by the public watching online.Last person standing would be the winner.In the end, the McCann London stunt was a rousing success. And last week at Cannes, the work won 17 Lions, including five golds, becoming one of the most-awarded campaigns of the year.We wanted to learn a little more about how McCann pulled off the stunt, which of course brought with it myriad logistical and medical concerns. Below, Lolly Thomson, co-president and chief creative officer at McCann London, tells us how it all came together—from the contestant who got hypothermia to two others who found a love connection.
Xbox is celebrating the launch of Rise of the Tomb Raider in the U.K. by punishing eight Lara Croft fans with a sadistic stunt—forcing them to stand on a billboard in London for 24 hours and pelting them with harsh weather conditions, as voted for by the public.
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It was a minute after midnight in Times Square, and the scene was utter bedlam. Lime-green spotlights crossed the winter sky, digital billboards were on overdrive and celebrities like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson were out in force. But this was not New Year's Eve. It was Nov. 15, 2001, and the center of attention was the Toys R Us store.
Disembodied, badly equalized and with no musical cues or ambient sound around it, the nonetheless recognizable voice of Kevin Spacey in sneering antihero mode fuzzes over the computer speakers. "You think that you can just march into these countries based on some fundamentalist religious principles, drop a few bombs, topple a dictator and start a democracy?" he asks. "Ha!