April 13, 2010

HP's Serena Wins Big @ ad:tech!



By Wendy McHale, Publisher

Last year, the MadAve Journal bloggers had a great time checking out the creative submissions at ad:tech San Francisco. We're proud to say we picked a few winners. One of our favorites was the HP Serena Williams microsite, which won ad:tech's Best Website award. I had the good fortune of speaking with Philippa Campbell, Account Manager at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the San Francisco the agency behind this fantastic website.

Wendy: Congratulations! What was the inspiration for the site?

Philippa: The HP Personal Again campaign was designed to build brand recognition and celebrate the personal aspects of HP technology and its ability to inspire, liberate, and fuel creativity. It featured some of today's biggest achievers in sports, film, and music, showcasing what's contained in their personal computer.

Wendy: I agree. What made you select Serena?


Philippa: We chose Serena for her achievements in tennis, her interest in fashion, travel, movies, and music and tell her story though her computer. The viewer gets an intimate look at Serena's life and we show how technology has enabled her to accomplish her goals.

Wendy: I love the intro video; it is a smart way to outline all the cool online goodies you can enjoy. And there are so many! It must have been great working with her.

Philippa: We had the opportunity to create the kind of stand alone content with Serena that would drive people to her website and would continue to raise the profile of the brand and turn more and more people on to HP computers.

Wendy: What were some of the things you are most proud of?

Philippa: We really wanted to leverage Serena's philanthropic work with Reading Across America, so we turned her into Sugar Fly Williams, a funky, high-flying, super-hero committed to ridding the world of illiteracy. To help tell a more personal story of her tennis career, we created a revealing documentary piece tracking her comeback.


Wendy: There's a lot of content on the site. Here's a quick rundown:

1. 3-part video of Serena schooling Wee Man on the tennis court
2. Blaxploitation parody video depicting Serena "Surgarfly" Williams battling evil
3. HP Behind the Scenes video showing the making of the microsite, including some neat motion-capture discussion
4. Documentary video of Serena taking some time off from the court
5. Up close and personal gossip videos from Serena's friends and family
6. Downloadable ringtones

Philippa: That's right.

Wendy: The best thing about this microsite was its use of original video content. I haven't seen many sites really leverage all the opportunities for video that the web provides. You weren't concerned you were putting too much on the site, which could confuse the user?


Philippa: No, we're seeing a shift in entertainment consumption and how people immerse themselves in today's media, so a rich online journey through Serena's life was a perfect complement to her TV commercial.

Wendy: I really liked the flow. It builds upon each other

Philippa: That was our goal. Each piece of content helped viewers connect with Serena and learn about a different aspect of her life. Her computer allows her to reach out to her wide fan base and show people a new side of Serena that was new to many people.


Wendy: The site is so complex. Was it a lengthy project or did it come together quickly?

Philippa: The site took about 3 months to complete. We began by gathering behind the scenes footage at her commercial shoot and interviewing friends and family. During post production on the commercial Serena continued to share personal artifacts for inclusion on the site. We also had the opportunity to shoot her a second time to capture our Weeman vs. Serena tennis segment. These videos were integral parts of the site and showed a different side of Serena.

Wendy: This was great! Thank you!

Philippa: Our pleasure!

The site is still up, so if you haven't seen it yet, click on any of the photos here and check it out. The 2009 ad:tech People's Choice Awards submissions are due on February 5th so if you haven't submitted your entry yet, you still have time. See you at the 2009 People's Choice Awards in San Francisco and hey I'll save you a front row seat!

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