Robbie Williams goes interactive in spoof reality TV video

LONDON - Interactive TV agency Weapon7, in partnership with EMI Records and The In Good Company, have launched an interactive video for Robbie William's latest single, 'Something Beautiful', which spoofs reality TV shows.

Viewers are able to vote interactively for a week and then the winner will be revealed across the world and the changes incorporated into the video on July 14.

Hundreds of fans auditioned for Robbie's version of reality TV and viewers will vote on the last three finalists. The interactive element is essential to the video as it aims to mimic 'Fame Academy' and 'Pop Idol' events with the call to interact.

However, according to Simon Smith, creative director at Weapon7, Robbie Williams is not the only one poking fun: "The interactive element is also rather cheeky. It parodies the endless voting applications we see on TV that we keep being told are really 'compelling' and 'enhancing' the broadcast, when clearly they are not. This is a fun, tongue-in-cheek experience and it reflects the mischievous and laddish nature associated with Robbie Williams."

The interactive concept debuts this week on MTV and runs for one week. Outtakes and auditions will be exclusively available to UK digital satellite viewers on MTV, MTV Hits and VH1.

John Leahy, marketing director at EMI Records, says: "This is a superb example of participation marketing coupled with a perfect match for Robbie's style: bringing his persona to life."

Once viewers have pushed the red button, they are taken to a Robbie Williams-branded four-screen video application. Fans are given the chance to choose between three different videos featuring each of the finalists' finest moments. The fourth window plays the linear video on a loop. Viewers are invited to vote for their favourite finalist through SMS text messaging.

The interactive element of the project was a team effort between Weapons 7, 'Something Beautiful' video producers at Hangman Studios, and EMI Records' marketing department.

Eric Winbolt, new-media manager at EMI Records, said: "The whole concept, reality gameshow spoof, interactive voting and changing the outcome of the video, complements Robbie Williams' personality. He is such a star of the people and this video allows fans to be part of the experience. Viewers have control, both of the eventual outcome and of access to additional footage exclusively in the interactive environment."

According to Williams, there is a serious message behind the fun: "I know Take That were a manufactured band but I think it's all gone too far nowadays. These shows -- you know which ones I mean -- promise fame and fortune but they just chew people up and spit them out. People don't realise how fleeting their moment of fame can be. In the end, they are being humiliated for mass entertainment."

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