Some thoughts on #DriveTime

This post is about the recent home release social media activation of the film DRIVE. There maybe spoilers ahead BUT I’ll be sure to yell loudly if they come near. Then again, we may make it without any. We shall see…

Drive: a stunning, nay breathtaking, film from 2011 (some would argue THE film of 2011). Woefully ignored by the Academy but adored by fans worldwide, its a glorious tale of love-driven revenge told through the haze of 70’s LA neon with a soundtrack to match.

Of Drive, I am a fan.

On Monday, Jan 30th 2012, Drive got its UK home release on both DVD and Blu-ray and, to celebrate said launch, film-studio-friendly agency, Think Jam, sent out early copies of the film out to a select group of fans on Twitter.

The aim? To kick-start a pre-scheduled participatory/group viewing, snappily referred to as #DriveTime.

Nice idea.

But not everyone agreed –

Dan has a point.

In fact, the whole conversation between him and Mike is worth a look (especially as both have proven experience in this kind of marketing). I stumbled across the conversation between the two of them after the film had finished, however found myself unknowingly agreeing with them midway through.

That aside, there’s also the very real issue of SPOILERS.

I would be gutted if someone I followed [on Twitter] unwittingly gave away key plot points throughout any film that I was yet to see (especially on THE DAY of its home release, ie; if you didn’t see it at the cinema then you’re stuffed). In fact, so much did it concern me that I issued my own warning before the film started.

Those issues aside, the ‘event’ seemed to go well. So well in fact, that my friend and I started kicking around some ideas around data visualisation that could work alongside it – yes, that’s right, we’re data geeks.

Bear with me, this is where things get interesting –

Data Visualisation around group events is nothing new, see The New York Times and the Super Bowl or before that, The Guardian and the World Cup; with swathes of data, you can make beautiful, beautiful visualisations.

But these events, they’re huge, global happenings with hundreds of thousands of tweets to process, giving you an extremely granular level of preciseness that you wouldn’t find with say, 1200 or so tweets… right?

Well, ish.

“…I bet they haven’t sold it in.”

One of the great things about these kinds of social media campaigns is that the data is (relatively) free and available for anyone to access. So what if you could steal the data from the Drive activity and not only present it back in a gorgeous fashion, but also demonstrate your skill as a potential new partner in doing so?

“Could you piggy-back another agency’s paid activity to showcase your own?”

Well, as I said, the data is there. So all you would need to do is farm that information and go from there… right?

Search term: “#DRIVETIME” – parameters 30-31 Jan 2012 – network: ‘TWITTER’

Export as .csv, group & subtotal the number of tweets by time published and… Voilà!

Look at that lovely data.

I’ve cleaned it up somewhat (only showing the data between 7pm and 10pm – the film started at 8pm) but you can clearly see the flurry of activity that happened throughout.

Now, we can sexify this chart (thanks Robbie) and we can also actually map the highlights of the film against the peaks and troughs of conversation.

A – 8pm: the film starts
B – End of [the awesome] opening sequence, ‘Night Call‘ kicks in
C – The Driver meets the girl for the first time – it’s encapsulating
D – Combination of ‘Under your Spell‘ starting + a key killer quote from our hero
E – Sequence of Driver and Irene spending time together [intense]
F – That elevator scene
G – Dip for a(nother) particularly violent piece
H – Film ends, people loved it and tweet according

.  Incredible.

What are the takeaways from this exercise?

  1. If you’re planning a scheduled viewing (over social media) make it both a) a universally accepted film (read: a classic that most people have seen) and b) perhaps one that’s not so visually sumptuous and arresting.
  2. Think about THE DATA. Alright there was a Storify after the fact, but if me and my friends can throw together a crude visualisation of what our collective tweets look like… then Christ, what else is possible?

Which in turn asks a bigger question:

If today’s brands (and consumers) are ready to remix anything and everything, what’s to stop the agencies of tomorrow doing the same?

..oh and look, no spoilers.

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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x

3 thoughts on “Some thoughts on #DriveTime”

  1. Still don’t get that film Whatleydud, nice soundtrack but that is all. It’s a mainstream film trying to be arty, the worst kind of mass semi-intellectual masturbation there is.

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