Had he not taught himself how to code Flash, Perry Price today might be seen punching away at a calculator, wearing a military uniform or shuffling along the sanitized halls of a hospital. Dare Digital's innovation director had earned his degree in economics at York University in England and spent several years in vetting for the U.K. Ministry of Defense and NATO prior to becoming a hospital administrator. This was all before he decided to dive boldly into new media, schooling himself in Flash, and then setting up a software company and a small print media shop with a group of friends. The websites his company created soon drew attention from agents and eventually, from the U.K.-based Dare, who three years ago signed him as a software developer.
Can you tell me about your role at Dare?
I came as a developer but I contributed a huge amount from a creative and a strategic point of view—I worked in my spare time on several innovative additions to the Walkman site and demonstrated that I could think in new directions. My job now is to focus on these innovation "products" but also to identify broader business areas or "channels" to take the company into. I take a close look not just at where we can go technologically, but also what I think might be creatively exciting for the audience or strategically important for the clients' business. I run an innovation hub called Dare Labs which acts as an umbrella brand over these efforts and operates as an important part of our new product development. We will often produce prototypes and pitches off-brief from the client, or across several accounts, that we will then take to those clients, or new business opportunities, and I will personally sell those in. Overall I would say that my USP is being competent in a number of disciplines here.
Tell me about some of your favorite Dare projects.
I spent four or five months working very long hours more or less single-handedly building the Sony Ericsson Walkman site and the emotional attachment I felt by the end of that was enormous. It went on to become their most successful site with more than 10 million visits. I worked on the Vodafone McLaren F1 site in 2007 for a similar period of time. Our theme had been "life journeys" and we watched as Lewis Hamilton went from an unknown go-kart driver to one of the biggest names in sport. More recently I've enjoyed success directing Sony Ericsson's GPS tent-finding app for festivals, which has had a huge run of awards and nominations. Another location-based piece I produced for Vodafone called "Where's Perry" went on to become one of the most important modules in the "Find Live Guy" campaign where users tracked down Live Guy to win a netbook.
How do you view the role of tech and digital creativity within the kind of work the agency does?
Our creative director told me that it's no longer enough to just produce an advert, you now need to generate pop-culture instead to be successful. Social Media is an extremely effective way to do this. Live Guy was a great example of the way Twitter, blogs and Facebook can build an important following around a site—a tribe, I think is the right word at the moment. Using technology to solve problems is also a great way of building affinity. I heard people at Glastonbury calling the names of their tents in the dark so while solving that for someone may never be commercially viable, it is something they remember for a very, very long time!