By Sarah Cullen
Gorillaz have always pushed the boundaries when it comes to their work. The band teamed up with global creative agency B-Reel to create a mixed reality experience for the release of their newest album, Humanz. We sat down with B-Reel’s ECD, Davor Krvavac to discuss the agencies work on this exciting campaign.
AdForum: What were the biggest challenges in creating a comeback for The Gorillaz; given the group’s groundbreaking history for delivering futuristic visuals to their fans?
Davor: With each album, Gorillaz have consistently broken new ground, and this album was to be no exception - their latest manifestation demanded their story be told in a completely new way. Having said that, we knew from the outset that none of the ideas and resulting development and design challenges were insurmountable. The technology was there and the timing was perfect. The thing that took longest to crack really was marrying up Jamie Hewlett’s iconic style with the mixed reality workflow, and performance optimisation aspect of delivering this on multiple platforms and devices. The style and the look required a combination of CG, in device rendering and photo-realistic compositing - combining all of those techniques seamlessly took some time to crack. The super-collaborative creative development process on the other hand was continuous trial and error and experimentation with what the latest hardware tech has to offer, in other words shed loads of fun.
AdForum: Humanz House Party is the largest geo specific listening party to date; how important was it to deliver a listening experience for fans all around the World to enjoy in unity?
Davor: In a sense Gorillaz are a very democratic platform, they are for everyone to enjoy, so right at the start it was agreed that this had to be a shared, social listening experience. The experience also needed to deliver a narrative continuity with the album concept. Geo tagged AR listening experience gave us the perfect blend of Gorillaz narrative, discover and reward mechanic for the fans, and of course a unique opportunity to simultaneously deliver a unified listening experience in 500+ cities across the world.
AdForum: The Gorillaz have always been trendsetters in the way they deliver music to their fans; were they heavily involved in this creative process?
Davor: Absolutely. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this projects was the close collaboration we’ve enjoyed with such titans of popular culture. Being able to bring Jamie Hewlett’s vision to life was a true privilege for the entire team at B-Reel. Once creative trust was established, we hugely enjoyed our position of being able to pitch ideas to Jamie while simultaneously testing and developing his and his team’s ideas.
AdForum: With the huge success of surprise album drops, do you think mixed reality apps will become the way to release albums in the future?
Davor: I think it’s fair to say that mixed reality will fundamentally change the way brands communicate to their audiences and music category is no exception. If anything, music industry is leading the charge right now and as the technology matures MR and AR will take over from the traditional linear media. Location and context is so important in how we emotionally connect to music - MR gives us a whole new toolkit to make album releases such as Gorillaz’ Humanz more relatable and engaging. It’s a hugely exciting development from a creative and tech standpoint.
AdForum: Finally, how to do you plan on listening to Humanz House Party on April 21st?
Davor: We’re throwing a huge party. But you’ll have to use the app to find it.