JWT creates Projector Man campaign for Tropfest

JWT Malaysia is drumming up publicity for Tropfest with a new mascot: Projector Man.

In a six-week campaign, Tropfest and the agency are taking to the streets with the mascot, with the latter in a bright jumpsuit, armed with a battery backpack and a projector mounted above his head. The objective: to convey that stories are inspired by our surroundings, demonstrating how they are “Made of Real Life.”

This guerilla tactic was sponsored by Ford Malaysia and Sime Darby Auto Connexion to showcase the Ford EcoSport, a rugged, sporty, compact five-seater SUV. Two EcoSports clad in Tropfest magenta served as the official vehicles for “The Projector Man” and his crew when they stormed public places – bus stops, bars, food stalls and taxi stands in Kuala Lumpur and Penang - anywhere there was a crowd.

They also showed short films on walls and the sides of buildings to give people a taste of what’s to come at Tropfest, a free, open-air festival for emerging filmmakers to be held at Penang’s Esplanade Sunday, February 1, 2015. In addition to the films, they also projected cryptic sentences onto random street scenes. For example, two people had the words “Strangers until now” projected on a wall above their heads. Photos were shared on social media, leaving the audience to think up their own plots and conclusions.

The point was that “anything you see on the street is a story waiting to be told,” said Nina Mohamed Nor, JWT Malaysia’s creative lead on the campaign. “The main goal was to drive attendance.”

Tropfest, started more than 20 years ago in Sydney by Australian John Polson for casual screenings with friends, has grown into a global festival. Last year, the Southeast Asian edition was launched in Penang, drawing 5,000 people. Organisers expect attendance to surge this year.

“Tropfest,  is founded on the idea of bringing great stories out into the world, so The Projector Man campaign really struck a chord with us,” said Joe Sidek, managing director for Tropfest, Southeast Asia. “We wanted to spread the message that short film is for everyone – not just an art crowd elite – and that everybody has a story to tell.”

The campaign was also tied in with Ford Motor Company and Sime Darby Auto Connexion’s launch of the EcoSport urban SUV in Malaysia.

The Projector Man and his team rode around in two EcoSport urban SUVs and invited people to go to a Ford showroom in the Klang Valley for a test drive to qualify for a chance to enter a “Longest Test Drive” contest. The prize was the use of an EcoSport for a three-day, two-night weekend in Penang to attend Tropfest.

Along with other promotions by Tropfest such as pre-event screenings at coffee shops, a forum and media outreach, “The Projector Man” helped push up the number of “Likes” on the Tropfest Southeast Asia’s Facebook page by more than 75 percent and grew the number of Twitter conversations at #Tropfestsea by 30%.

“The Projector Man” campaign was created by JWT Malaysia, which offered Tropfest 150 voluntary hours as part of their 150-year anniversary celebrations last year, with help from regional offices.