Interview: The Team Behind Internet Explorer’s Inori Aizawa
Back in 2013, Microsoft did something totally unexpected by personifying Internet Explorer 10 into an anime character called Inori Aizawa. They kicked it off with a short 2 minute video clip which garnered millions of views (to date, there are about 3.1 million views).
We had the pleasure of sitting down with the project’s Team Lead, KC Ng from Collateral Damage Studios (CDS), who shared insights from this very successful campaign.
TCG: So how did it all start?
CDS: It started when we saw this fan art that was posted online and it featured the personification of browsers like Chrome, FireFox and Opera. We got inspired and decided to do something similar for Internet Explorer. Following that, we developed the character sheet for Inori Aizawa and placed the contents on a blog post; we then got some of our influential friends in the Anime community to share the blog post.
TCG: So at this stage, Microsoft was not involved yet?
CDS: There were anime fans in Microsoft who took notice of it and the local Marketing Lead for Internet Explorer approached us during a convention to take this concept further. The rest, as they say, is history. 🙂
TCG: What was the approach going into the project?
CDS: I guess the good thing was that we had already done most of the groundwork before meeting Microsoft so it was just a matter of taking the concept and developing it into a kick-ass video. As Anime Festival Asia was just around the corner, we decided that it was the perfect launch pad for this campaign.
TCG: Was it going to be a video all along?
CDS: Yes, we figured that the best way to launch it with a bang was with a YouTube video and it helped that the animation designer who did up this character also worked for an animation production house.
TCG: What are some key factors that contributed to the success of this video?
CDS: I feel that one of the main success factors was that it went against what people expected of a brand like Microsoft. There were elements of fun and the video certainly, has lots of entertainment value. We also placed a tonne of Easter eggs in the video so that people would watch it again and again.
As this was never meant to be a commercial project but more of an inspired fan art, there’s certainly a feel-good factor seeing it go from a blog post to a YouTube video with millions of views.
TCG: Were you surprised by the success of this video and was there a KPI before the campaign?
CDS: It was totally unexpected, but I can say we did our best to put in the parameters for a good campaign, and the efforts paid off.
Our KPIs were 2 million views in half a year but we achieved it in 2 days, and that’s excluding the views from other 3rd party sites other than YouTube, plus all the other PR mentions we received for this campaign.
TCG: Are you sad now that IE10 has been discontinued?
CDS: It is a pity, but looking forward, we hope to do something similar for Microsoft Edge, *keeping my fingers crossed*.
TCG: So what sort of projects is CDS focusing on these days?
CDS: We are now more focused on illustrations, and video animations are something we do once in awhile; we work mostly with Indie video game developers as well as board game designers.
For a portfolio of CDS’s work, visit http://www.collateralds.com/