HP Goes Hedge Hunting

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HP "Hedge Games"
When it comes to the convergence of Hollywood and interactive advertising, a new campaign from HP and DreamWorks stands on the cutting edge—or hedge, as the case may be. To generate buzz for both the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film Over the Hedge (out May 19) and HP's new dv5000 Entertainment Notebook (which was used during the production of the movie), the HedgeGames.com website was created by branded entertainment agency Campfire. "HP provides the tools that DreamWorks Animation's artists and technicians use to produce CG animated movies," says Julie Haralson, corporate advertising manager for HP. "Once people understand that HP technology is behind the creation of Over the Hedge, the desire to learn more about HP products becomes stronger." Adds Campfire partner Mike Monello, "The alliance between HP and DreamWorks Animation goes much deeper than a traditional movie-tie in, and we felt it was important to express the fun spirit of both the movie and the notebook in a deeper, more immersive way."

The immersion takes the form of 100 online games hidden throughout the site's virtual hedge, testing players' knowledge and ingenuity through puzzles and trivia questions. "Each puzzle is steeped in both the characters from Over The Hedge and features of the HP dv5000, so by simply playing the game you learn the features of the product and are immersed in the world of the film," says Monello. Each successfully completed puzzle disarms a "trap" that's been set to ensnare RJ, Verne and the rest of the gang on their way over the hedge, and players who solve all 100 games have a shot at winning prizes like an HP Ultimate Entertainment Suite. But what truly separates HedgeGames.com from other gaming sites is the social networking aspect of "The Forest," an online forum where players can gather to share clues and meet other like-minded animation aficionados. "Traditional game sites are fun, but they are solo experiences," says Monello. "Even the video game industry is moving towards networked games that allow players to communicate. Going to a movie is a social experience as well, and we wanted to both start and continue that experience online. The game and the sweepstakes were designed to inspire collaboration over competition, and that's what the "Forest" community is there to accommodate. The challenge of the game becomes a bonding experience for the community, so people initially come for the fun and games, but stay for the community and friendships that develop."

Campfire also created a viral video to be seeded throughout the internet to drive websurfers to the HedgeGames.com experience. "The coffeehouse video was used to seed the story of RJ and gang heisting a HP dv5000, which is shown in the TV spot created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners," says Monello. "The online videos bridge the story between the TV spot and the site, creating a narrative that is uncovered by players as they solve the puzzles."
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