MADRID (AdAge.com) -- Spaniards who just returned from their summer vacations less relaxed than usual can blame the new Fox Crime TV channel, whose launch strategy for Spain was to make their holidays as scary as possible. That included sinking a fake dead body -- a mannequin wrapped in a black cloth and bound with chains -- at the bottom of the ocean at popular scuba diving spot El Cabo Negro along the coast of Alicante.
Bungalow 25, the Madrid-based independent agency that masterminded the "Crimes of Summer" scare campaign also planted a camera underwater to record the reactions of horrified scuba divers who thought they had stumbled across a murder victim. The video was sent to bloggers to spread virally and posted on YouTube. Seen up close, it's clear the mannequin's feet are cemented into a box that says "New channel. Fox Crime. Discover It."
"This isn't just a simple ambient idea," said Julio Gálvez, executive creative director and one of three founding partners at seven-year-old Bungalow 25. "We aimed to find a new advertising channel. Their reactions were spectacular. The whole situation became so realistic that more than once we had to dissuade people from calling the police."
The corpse and the whole "Crimes of Summer" campaign for the thematic crime channel featuring shows like "Law and Order," "NCIS" and "Dexter" turned lighthearted summer fun into potentially deadly activities. For instance, napkins at some beach hotels were imprinted with the message: "Fox Crime sponsors the egg and mayonnaise sandwich of the refreshment stall next door," implying imminent food poising in the summer heat. Fox even sponsored this year's "La Tomatina," an annual tomato-throwing street party held near Valencia, where people were given more than 120 tons of tomatoes to throw at each other to leave on the streets "the print of the bloodiest party ever."
"I think this is the smartest way of selling a brand: finding it in the least expected places," said Pablo Pérez-Solero, Bungalow 25's president. "Places that are in some way related to the message that the advertiser seeks to communicate but are not regularly used in advertising."
Bungalow 25 applies that philosophy to its other clients in Spain. To launch Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 7 in Spain and prove that the operating system is truly easy to learn and to use, Bungalow 25 zeroed in on a Spanish village with little internet access and only 40 inhabitants, most of whom had never used a computer. But the name of the village Sietes (Sevens, in Spanish), was an irresistible reminder of the Windows 7 name.
So Bungalow 25 turned tiny Sietes into "a village of Windows 7 experts," which became the campaign's slogan. Microsoft set up a local school to give the villagers a week of computer classes, and they appeared in a campaign giving testimonials about how simple it was to learn to use Windows 7. Sietes became famous as the launch site for Windows in Spain. The video was streamed 3.9 million times, and visitors to the campaign's website spent an average of four minutes on the site and accounted for 3.7 million page views. And there is now high-speed internet access in Sietes, where villagers can go to the town's only bar to check their email on a new PC.
And where did Bungalow 25 get its name, and why is its website designed like a visit to the beach? "It's a small cute bungalow were I used to spend my summers at the Mediterranean coast in Spain," said Mr. Perez Solero. "I spent great moments there, it smelled like the sea and every day was a new adventure. Except for the sea part, a place that was just like this agency is now."