The premise of the “More To See” theme was that, just as television was the most powerful storytelling device (with perhaps a hat trick to the movies), Sharp’s Aquos product line offered the most advanced televisions. , providing viewers with a more vivid picture experience thanks to its superior colors, details and sound. One of the campaign’s five TV spots showed people – a mother dressing her daughter, a man cooking, an audience in a movie theater – living their lives with their eyes closed. Finally, a woman opened her eyes in an art museum in front of the painting Bataille de Guararapes by Victor Meirelles. A voiceover then said: “The Sharp Aquos LCD TV. Suddenly there is more to see.” Some critics objected to the underlying concept. Writing in Brandweek, Barry Janoff commented, “Taking the premise of the spot literally means implying that people can’t really see or enjoy their lives unless TV is there to help them. And, what’s more, they won’t really value their own life. unless they trade their regular televisions for an Aquos. Of course, Sharp can’t tell people to go out and enjoy life by turning off their televisions.
The message of “More to See” may have been simplistic and even illogical, but the method used to deliver the campaign centerpiece was as innovative as Sharp’s LCD technology. The campaign was more than multifaceted; it was in many ways an example of interactive fiction, using the different elements – TV spots, print ads, websites and an “alternate reality game” contest – to engage audiences and keep them involved in the campaign. During months. One such approach was aimed at countering the resistance consumers had built up to 30-second ads after being bombarded by them for years, not to mention the ability of digital video recorder owners to skip ads. The pioneering effort in this type of promotion was the independent film The Blair Witch Project, which created a buzz by suggesting in the media that the film was a student documentary project that went horribly wrong. The curious were taken to the producer’s website, and a large number of people began to debate among themselves whether the “found images” of the student filmmakers were true or false. When the low-budget film launched, it became the surprise hit of the summer of 1999, generating impressive sales of $ 150 million at the domestic box office.
Sharp enlisted the services of Blair Witch’s producers, Haxan Films, to help create the mysterious story around which the “More To See” marketing campaign and contest would revolve. The resulting tale was called “The Legend of the Holy Urns,” and consumers were urged to solve the mystery of where an eccentric millionaire hid three precious urns. The three TV commercials that developed the storyline – “The Key,” “The Pool” and “The Tooth” – wove a “cinematic mystery,” in the words of Bill Dunlap of Shoot magazine, “set on a country estate. , involving a beautiful woman, an older man in a swimming pool and a reckless driver in a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. ” Marcus Robinson, writing for Boards Magazine, offered his own recap of the installation: “A guy, Peter Lindeman, swims in the pool of his large French chateau, and his girlfriend wanders down the road to meet his lover. Unfortunately, he massaged a toothache and had his eyes on the rear view, forcing him to swerve to avoid hitting her, and eventually tossed his red sports car into the pool.
All three spots showed the same incident from a different point of view. In “The Pool”, for example, a woman from a bedroom window watched Lindeman swim in the pool when a car suddenly flew through the air and landed in the water. A Sharp TV was then played, and on its screen viewers were taken to the campaign’s website, Moretosee.com. The site provided audio and visual clues, and featured blogs, allegedly written by the three characters engaged in the three mysterious ballot box hunt. Chat rooms were also available for people to brainstorm on the mystery together. Once viewers took to the website, they had the opportunity to learn more about LCD technology and Sharp’s Aquos TV line. Participants were also directed to other websites for clues. The spots were directed by award-winning documentary director Errol Morris, whose credits included Gates of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control.
The TV spots began airing in September 2004 and have aired on a variety of network and cable programs, including ABC’s Monday Night Football and CBS’s 60 Minutes. The “More To See” campaign also included print ads, run by the Amsterdam office of Wieden & Kennedy, which also attempted to direct people to the website. After starting in the United States, “More to See” was rolled out to 18 other countries. In an ancillary part of the campaign, Sharp opened a storefront in New York City, where consumers could explore the Aquos product line and other clues were available. The campaign ran for four months, throughout the critical holiday season, with bits of mystery spread over time. In the end, Ken Floss of Ohio solved the puzzle and won the grand prize, an Aquos TV, and other home theater equipment.