Escaping out of the small screen

This has been a while in the reporting, as it all happened back in April, but I’ve been given the OK to shout it from the rooftops, so here goes!

What does ITV and Havas Media do when they want to promote their top four crime dramas to both advertising agencies and to potential sponsors? They give Escape a call in Edinburgh.

Well, why wouldn’t you head from London straight upto Edinburgh? Escape have rooms in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Blackpool, Doncaster and London (to name a few) as well as rooms in companies as far as New Zealand. In fact this weekend they are running an exclusive pop up room for the Bloody Scotland crime fiction festival in Stirling, with the help of award-winning ‘Wire in the Blood’ author Val McDermid.

Anyway, back to ITV and their four top rated shows, and all are viewer favourites. These were Endeavour, Vera, D.C.I Banks and Broadchurch. The top quality crime dramas that have so many of us engrossed in the mystery and speculating on just “whodunit”.

The brief to Escape, to create a unique escape experience that allows the players to immerse themselves into the shows they know and love and to become part of a storyline. Oh and make it a pop up room which can be built easily built and moved.

Thats no easy job when you have one show to promote, but to include four shows into one room, and make it relatively mobile, well thats going to need some serious TV magic.

With each show is set in a different area of the UK and in the case of Endeavor, in a different decade, making puzzles for each crime drama that evokes both the setting and the characters was key. How do you capture the essence of the drama that grips the nation on a weekly basis and catapult the advertising execs and potential show sponsors into the midst of the action?

The answer was to create a room with four sections and four mysteries to solve, and the MD16 (Mystery Drama 2016) shipping container set was created.

escape

Each section was designed to evoke that feeling we all get when on the edge of our seats, that feeling of elation (and slight smugness) as the lead detective puts all the pieces together and confronts the criminal. The same clues we have already put together and decided who was the criminal at least 20 minutes earlier.

escape1

The added bonus to the room was being able to see the result of your detective work. Each of the four detectives and their mystery dramas helped you find the criminal, and you were rewarded with some exclusive footage showing the criminal being apprehended. A very nice finale to all the hard work done.

escape2

Add to all this the creativity of the Havas Media Group who incorporated the escape experience into their day of presentations and promotions and ITV had a full day of Mystery Drama promotion. It even had its own hashtag on Twitter #itvMD16 with lots of great team photos.

So why tell you about all this now? Firstly its a major promotional event created by a Scottish escape room company, and secondly, because I think it’s the start of a new way of active and engaging advertising. Why just watch the advertisement when you can live it and experience it?

I can see more and more of these events occurring, and not just in the corporate sector, the recent promotion by Norwegian Airlines in a London shopping centre is just the start.

I just wish I’d have been able to gatecrash the day and play the room myself, I love all four dramas, especially Vera and Endeavor. Perhaps I can talk  Escape into letting my beta test the next bespoke room they create?

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