social media technology

Forget Twitter: Puma campaign wants you to communicate via dance

This article first appeared on Mashable


Among today’s modes of online communication, we’re well-versed in the use of text, images and video. But what about dance?

In a campaign for its new Sync fragrances, Puma is proposing a new form of digital expression through movement rather than words. The sportswear brand has set up an interactive platform dubbed Dance Dictionary, where users can communicate with each other by encrypting specific sentences into physical dance moves. Its slogan: “Don’t say it, move it.”

Phrases like “Will you be my girlfriend?” or “Mondays make me want to scream” are translated into a series of choreographed gestures by 25 of the world’s better-known dancers, including Storyboard P, King Charles, PacMan, Ron Myles AKA Prime Tyme and Krumpers Big Mijo, Outrage and Worm, and LA choreographer Super Dave. Each word has a different move. Certain words in each sentence are interchangeable (try swapping ‘be’ for ‘retweet,’ and ‘girlfriend’ for ‘cat’ for amusement), resulting in 10,000 different combinations by Puma’s count.

While each piece can be shared via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail, the aim from Puma is something higher. “Choreographing a new language,” might sound like a lofty ambition — and certainly one that is unlikely to have mass application for you and me — but within its target 16 to 24-year-old demographic, it’s not unreasonable to imagine these moves being practiced in real life.

Beyond being a social tool, the Dance Dictionary is designed to be an inventory for any would-be freestyler to learn from. Words like “celebration” and “spaceship” are broken down into their own videos incorporating definitions and easy-to-follow demonstrations. A campaign that’s shareable both online and offline isn’t a bad aim, and that’s what makes it smart.

Anchoring the whole initiative is a music track called “First Time” from Dre Skull featuring Megan James and Popcaan. Its video, directed by Daniel Wolf, will also appear as a TV commercial in Europe. Grey London, the agency behind the initiative, is schooled at such a method — its 2011 Lucozade spot featuring “Louder” by DJ Fresh became what was then the highest pre-ordered download in global iTunes history, according to the agency.

The trick with both, says Grey London Executive Creative Director Nils Leonard, was bringing in genuine talent, whether that be the dancers, the music act or the film director. “Everyone involved with the Puma Dance Dictionary is from those worlds. They’re not in advertising; they’re famous in their own right. To make it credible that’s where we have to go, the audience can smell it out otherwise.”

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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