Diamond Reef Wins Ogilvy Award: Shopaholic ARGers Rejoice


Do you like spending money? How would you like your very own American Express Black card? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, I have some good news for you. Jackie Turnure (Rockpool Productions and LAMP Story Mentor) won a Content 360 award at Milia 2007 in April for her Alternate Reality Game, “Diamond Reef”. As the Ogilvy One Worldwide Category winner at the conference, Jackie is engaged in talks with American Express to get the project underway, with a development prize of 10,000 euros. Milia is an annual conference in Cannes, France that brings together content creators, producers, and distributors to conduct business and discuss the future of creative content.

The award-winning “Diamond Reef” alternate reality game centers around the American Express online credit card. While following a gripping tale of adventure and intrigue, players will explore the features of American Express credit cards within the spy thriller format. Jackie describes the project as a collaborative online treasure hunt paying homage to James Bond stories: in her words,

The world’s most expensive diamond has been stolen, a beautiful young woman has gone missing, and you must find the diamond and rescue the girl, using your American Express card. This alternate reality game is an interactive treasure hunt where clues and story are distributed across the real and virtual worlds. And the stakes are high – if you are one of the top 10 players to solve the mystery, you win 10,000 euros!

Players are issued a Blue Amex card and make numerous virtual purchases both on their own and in groups to arrange for DNA tests, billboard purchases and package deliveries. Through the course of the game, savvy players will see their cards upgraded from Blue to Green to Gold and finally to the famed Black American Express card in an extended experience. A game that integrates money management with mystery solving should be a novel experience. And with the backing and support of OgilvyOne Worldwide, a major player in the advertising world, this game has the potential for truly redefining the cross-media experience.

Although a launch date for “Diamond Reef” has not yet been set, keep your eyes peeled over the next few months for updates on this exciting project. This might be your only chance to experience the American Express Black card firsthand, unless you have a rich great-uncle on his deathbed who always thought of you as his favorite.

The Labratory of Advanced Media Production: It Must Be Bloody Awesome to be Australian

LAMP.jpg“Where the Bloody Hell are You?” It’s a simple question, and yet it becomes a pivotal one in the world of Alternate Reality Gaming, where live events, deaddrops, and local advertisements feature heavily in the experience. And thanks to the dedicated work of the Laboratory of Advanced Media Production, things are looking bright for Australian ARGers.

LAMP is faciliated by the Australian Film TV and Radio School and provides numerous seminars, workshops, and residentials to aid in the development of cross-media entertainment under the direction of Gary Hayes (Personalize Media). Fellow staffer Jackie Turnure refers to the organization as “a hothouse or idea incubator, an intense brainstorming residential” that takes eight development teams away for a six day program to refine their concepts and develop pitches under the guidance of guardian mentors. Past mentors have included Christy Dena author of Cross-MediaEntertainment.com and co-author of the ARG white paper, as well as Evan Jones (Stitch Media) and Tony Walsh (Clickable Culture).

On the first day of the LAMP residential, the eight teams experience a condensed, customized ARG designed by Gary and Jackie as both a team-building exercise and an introduction to the possibilities of the genre. You can find past games documented on the LAMP Wiki, most recently featuring an Italian mystery quest functioning concurrently in the real world and in Second Life. The remaining time is spent working with numerous experts dealing with issues such as cross-media production, financial modeling, and new media models. The residential culminates in a 15 minute visual presentation to a group of VIPs.

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