Projector's Koichiro Tanaka explains the UNIQLOCK

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Koichiro Tanaka
Koichiro Tanaka
Last year, we spoke with Koichiro Tanaka, creative director at four-year-old production boutique Projector, about his shop's Uniqlo work. On the event of the staggering UNIQLOCK site winning Grand Prix at the Tokyo Interactive Festival (and the odds that this exciting piece of work will do very well in other shows this year) here's Tanaka's explanation of the site and the thinking behind it.

Uniqlo really seems like a fantastic client to work with. Did you have much space to do what you wanted, or did you stick to the brief? What was the brief like?

KT: No brief existed. They didn't want to reduce the possibility by one-way brief. First, Uniqlo and I discussed everything to set ideals and right objectives without thinking feasibility. It was about Uniqlo's core competence, ambition, target insight, potential of user generated media/word of mouth, etc. The objective we set was delivering a fresh, portable, relevant experience that was able to be shared with audiences all over the world by the integrated use of UGM and Uniqlo's website.

So, I began to plan the idea according to these objectives. The first project was MIXPLAY. I came up with the idea of dance/sound experience by the integrated use of YouTube and Uniqlo's website (dance/sound mixer). I knew 'dance' and 'music' were most popular tags on YouTube, and I felt this motif could be suitable for expressing Uniqlo's clothes as body parts. So, we searched for the dancer who was able to realize this idea. When we found Woomin (a robot dance team), we shared the convictions with them.

According to this idea and cast, we developed the campaign script: To upload the breathtaking robot dances with Uniqlo's basics that perfectly synchronized with sound on YouTube. That would let people want to share or search more. The title, UNIQLO MIXPLAY, was the only clue. On the website, people can mix (experience) dance and sound as body messages to send them to others. This total experience would make Uniqlo fresh and unique to online audiences.

What part was the most challenging?

KT: The challenge was to design the perfect fusion of dance and sound. We discussed with Woomin and the sound artist (Tuzuki Takashi) and decided to develop both choreography and sound simultaneously. Then, we tried to adjust both performances live. Tuzuki brought a sound mixer to the shooting studio, and we directed the best balance of dance and sound. After shooting, Tuzuki composed and adjusted details of the sound based on the completed choreography.

Results: over 500,000 views on YouTube. The website page views and sales increased.

Consequently, Uniqlo began to believe the possibility of the web promotion strongly. Especially, they thought the web could be extremely effective when they did global promotion without using the media cost. So, I started to plan the idea of the next project as global promotion.

First, I decided the never-changing base. The base was the expression with which the dance (with Uniqlo basics) and the sound completely synchronized. Then, I added the problem: to integrate not only YouTube and the website, but also blogs, the world's largest user generated media/word of mouth. The answer came to me with the name (UNIQLOCK) and the hybrid ideas of media times, function times expression. World blog times, clock widget times, clock sound times and clock dance routine equals UNIQLOCK.

According to these hybrid ideas, we developed the campaign script with Uniqlo: Audition videos by clock rhythm on YouTube to UNIQLOCK as blog widget to the world. UNIQLOCK (was) to visualize and share the user's experience.

The challenge was to design the best fusion of dance and sound as clock. The point was that the clock should be ever-lasting, ever-changing media. We shot as many different dance components as possible, and offered Fantastic Plastic Machine (sound artist) to compose time-signal-sound components (one minute times three). We developed the Flash system that shuffles dance and sound components randomly so the audience felt they hadn't seen any repeats. That caused catchy and hypnotic experiences to share.

As you see, the result.

Dance is a universal language that people all over the world can share, same as the music and the clock. I think there exists huge potential to use dance to make a simple, strong communications on the only global connected media—the web. Moreover, the dance expression is related to physical reaction. When you see a cool dance, your body reacts, doesn't it? It's a strong experience worth sharing on the web.

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