I was cleaning out my old Neopets backup drive (which is a thousand-year project, I’m discovering) and I found an old set of Faerie Quest marketing images hanging out next to KikoOfDoom.jpg. (Don’t ask.)
While the subject matter is kind of boring, I think this set of images is a pretty good example of both why people used to call our creative process a bit strange, and also why that strange process got us the best possible outcome in the end (in my obviously biased opinion). We not only allowed folks to work outside their expertise; we relied on it.
Faerie Quests Facebook Tab
One of the many weird Facebook Page features that died almost as soon as it was born was called “Facebook Tabs”. It was essentially an extra page you could add to tout something, like an event or sale or whatever else people tout on their Facebook Pages. We’d done a Facebook Tab to promote an event earlier in the year (Neopies Y13!) and so added one to our list of To Dos for the Faerie Quests event.
To start, one line of copy was quickly written up and handed over to the graphic designer, who also pulled some art from the approved event files. This is what we got back.
As you can see, that one(ish) line of copy was quite bland. The art itself looked great but the overall composition lacked interest. My official Creative Director response was, “meh.” I mean, the goal was to get people to click on this. Would you even remember this image, let alone want to know more?
The designer actually only had about 20 minutes to whip this up, which explains some of the lackluster results, but we couldn’t put all of the blame on him. Not even most of it. The copy was tweaked and we tried again.
Now we’re getting somewhere! The designer had more time and gave the image some character based the direction of the new copy.
We still felt like the copy was too “marketing”, though. Statement, tagline, CTA (call to action). There was nothing interesting about it. So, we went back to the drawing board and did what we would have done for any other creative project: figured out who this content was for.
Who would see it? Fans on Facebook. Who was on Facebook? Veteran and loyal players who visited for behind-the-scenes antics. They accepted our wacky ways and, surprisingly, asked for more of it. It was okay to break character because they were experienced fans who wouldn’t be confused by something coming out of left field. They got that the faeries’ situation was dire in canon, but could handle us stepping back and poking fun at it out of context.
So Lorna, who was in Marketing (i.e. not a content developer), came up with the idea for Fyora to say something wacky to make it funnydumb (that’s a word). El Picklesaur was not a Marketing genius, but he came up with the perfect line for Fyora and suggested the button for a clearer CTA. I was far from a designer, but convinced the gang to let me into the Photoshop file and I ran with it to add the rest.
Now would you remember this? Would you click on it?
This all happened in about the span of 2 hours. Different people in different disciplines came together to get stuff done. Doesn’t matter what idea came from where. As long as the idea was good, it was gold.
I realise it’s not the most exciting image to do an explanation around but I thought it was a good showcase of that process. It turned out that Facebook Tabs were broken and then shut down, meaning we were never able to put this up and see if our experiment actually worked. So you’re seeing this image here for the first time, for the last time.
It’s for the best.