86 the Onions, Resfest Cater to the ‘Curious’

LOS ANGELES Centered around a “Keep it curious” theme, independent 86 the Onions has crafted a multimedia, multi-tiered campaign touting the ninth annual Resfest international film and music exposition, the agency said.

In addition to the “curious” concept, the Venice Beach, Calif., shop designed an initial series of nine full-page print ads “to build awareness for [the 35-city] festival on a global scale,” according to agency creative director Chad Rea.

Because Resfest’s four-day events are “all about making creative people who are naturally curious even more curious,” Rea said, 86 the Onions didn’t want to create “a typical film fest ad.

“We didn’t want to create an icon for curiosity, or use a metaphor for curiosity,” he explained. Instead, “we wanted to create an interactive way for creatives to participate in the campaign.”

To that end, Rea said he and a team including art director Nico Ammann and creatives Steve Ounanian, Mylinh Nguyen, Kristopher Delaney and John Pham developed the series of “interactive ads” to generate interest via optical illusions and eye tricks. The playable ads feature elements such as dot-to-dot, hold-up-to-the-mirror and cut-and-paste activities; by solving each ad’s puzzles, readers discover festival highlights.

Those ads began running in September issues of magazines including Wired, Tokion, Paper, Anthem and Time Out. A complementary, still-evolving Web site is expected to host extensive festival and sponsor details, as well as more puzzles and imagery games, Rea said.

In the two weeks leading up to Resfest weekend in each city, Rea continued, locally focused ads by 86 the Onions run in the area’s weekly papers. Those executions maintain the “Keep it curious” theme, but also provide specific schedule and venue information. Other local campaign components include street postings and Web banners, he said.

In addition, 86 the Onions said its “curious” concept has been applied to interactive environments at each exposition site. Some of the event’s sponsored social spaces, for example, include Graffiti Analysis, a virtual art project in which people use laser-light pens to “write” on walls; Chit-Chat areas, where thought bubbles magically appear behind people in conversation; and the Woodsuch Gallery, a showcase of international art inspired by the “Keep it curious” theme.

A campaign advertising budget was not available.

Resfest 2005 is scheduled to continue through the end of the year. Events have already occurred in New York and Los Angeles; future stops include Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Singapore and Amsterdam.