|Title||THROUGH THE DARK|
|Product / Service||GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC|
|Category||A14. Excellence in Partnerships for Branded Content|
|Entrant||R/GA SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA|
|Idea Creation||R/GA SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA|
|Media Placement||ESSENCE DIGITAL Singapore, SINGAPORE|
|PR||POEM GROUP Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Production||R/GA SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA|
|Production 2||EXIT FILMS Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Production 3||XYZ STUDIOS Melbourne, AUSTRALIA|
|Hamish Stewart||R/GA Sydney||EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR|
|Michael Armstrong||R/GA Sydney||CREATIVE DIRECTOR|
|Blake Kus||R/GA Sydney||ASSOCIATE TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR|
|Jess Bateman||R/GA Sydney||DESIGNER|
|Shruti Rai||R/GA Sydney||SENIOR EXPERIENCE DESIGNER|
|Aaron George||R/GA Sydney||SOFTWARE ENGINEER|
|Kate Allan||R/GA Sydney||COPYWRITER|
|Justine Cusack||R/GA Sydney||SOCIAL STRATEGIST|
|Cory Nicely||R/GA Sydney||MARKETING SCIENCES MANAGER|
|Julia Rush||R/GA Sydney||PRODUCER|
|Natalie Brend||R/GA Sydney||SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR|
|Jeff Donios||R/GA Sydney||SENIOR TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR|
|Gertjan Leppers||R/GA Sydney||EXECUTIVE PRODUCTION DIRECTOR|
|Mike Daly||Exit Films||DIRECTOR|
|Kim Wildenburg||Exit Films||EXECUTIVE PRODUCER|
|Marco Palmieri||XYZ Studios||LEAD ANIMATOR|
|Richard Osellame||XYZ Studios||SENIOR TD|
|Stevie Watkins||XYZ Studios||CG LEAD|
|Garett Mayow||XYZ Studios||EXECUTIVE PRODUCER|
|Eran Hilleli||XYZ Studios||LEAD DESIGNER|
|Gina Moore||XYZ Studios||CG ARTIST|
|Tim Murphy||XYZ Studios||CG ARTIST|
|Heath Pagram||XYZ Studios||ANIMATOR|
|Eran Hilleli||XYZ Studios||ANIMATION DIRECTOR|
We partnered with one of Australia's best-known and most loved acts: Hilltop Hoods. Their track, Through The Dark, is a deeply personal song written by band member Dan Smith (MC Pressure) about his son Liam’s battle with leukemia. Raw and real, the song connected deeply with audiences. The idea was to bring that to life, translating its conflicting emotions into something that would give a sense of a father’s world turned upside down and a journey through fear towards hope. The ambition was to create an immersive digital experience where users navigate through two simultaneous 3D worlds, The Dark and The Light, by rotating their mobile device. We placed the artist at the core, building everything around them to realise their vision. We became an extension of their band, concepting and workshopping with them in weekly hangouts and daily calls. Google, the band and the agency were a close-knit team.
The collaboration was completely bespoke. Hilltop Hoods had never worked this closely with a brand before and trusted Google completely. The lyrics were our narrative guide: powerful words that convey a tangible sense of a father’s world turned upside down by his son’s illness - and we worked closely with the Hilltop Hoods to convey their vision. To bring it to life, we crafted two complete worlds existing in parallel, the Light and the Dark, to represent the emotional highs and lows of caring for someone who’s battling cancer. The result is a seamlessly flowing interactive film where users navigate their own path through fear towards hope by rotating their mobile device. Driven entirely by code, the film is rendered in real-time in the mobile browser. To allow users to move between the two worlds, the cameras were mapped to the mobile device’s accelerometer.
Through the Dark transformed the Hilltop Hoods’ song into an immersive digital experience, meticulously rendering the two complete worlds so that users could move between them with unprecedented interactivity. Digital technologies were pushed to their limit, positioning Google Play Music as an innovator in the crowded, streaming landscape. With over 400,000 unique user interactions, social share of voice for Google Play Music doubled to 24%. And best of all, the thousands raised for CanTeen helped launch Side of Stage: an initiative conceived by the band to help young Australians living with cancer access live music and meet their favourite artists.
Through the Dark is not just branded entertainment, it’s an immersive interactive experience and music video, born from a collaboration between a music streaming service and a legendary hip-hop band. Entertainment is part of Through the Dark’s DNA.
The strategy was to position Google Play Music as an innovator and active supporter of the Australian music industry by collaborating with local artists and creating exclusive content fans would love. The insight: it had to go beyond sight and sound, giving fans a completely new experience, using technology in a way only Google could, while remaining true to the artist’s vision. Our technical ambition was to create an interactive digital experience that was not only beautiful and original, but groundbreaking. And because Through the Dark was such a personal song for the band, we wanted to convey its moving story on the most personal of devices - mobile. We also wanted to leave a legacy, giving youths living with cancer ongoing access to live music. So each click-through from Through the Dark to the album on Google Play Music generated a $1 donation to CanTeen to kickstart the initiative.