i.Saw – the USB gadget the whole world has been waiting for (no, really…)
9th July 09
How many marketing campaigns can you name that are properly innovative, laudable in their intent (cheap to produce & for a good cause), blindingly simple to interact with and delivered with laugh out loud wit? Here at Labs at any rate we reckoned we would be pushed to name one. Then along comes something that completely blows us away, the brilliant i.Saw and its sister product, Papercut.
We first heard about the whole idea when our friends from BBH Asia Pacific got in touch. Inspired by mountains of uncollected pages on the printers in the office, they’d developed a unique, downloadable sound effect application of a chainsaw, designed to drive home a straightforward message: printing unnecessarily = killing trees.
Peter Callaghan, CD on the project, explains the brilliantly simple idea: “Papercut is a simple reminder of where paper comes from. When you press ‘print’, you’ll hear the roar of a chain saw. It is not to make you stop printing, just print less, using only what you need. Reminding people that printers run on trees.”
The next step was to orchestrate a campaign to encourage people to download the app. The team given that task, Noel Yeo and Shawn Loo, explained they were intrigued by the idea of creating a product, rather than a classic viral. And with that, the i.Saw was born. An entirely spoof creation, the i.Saw is a USB-powered chainsaw (the answer to all your office needs, natch) complete with its own lovingly created product page.
‘Pre-ordering’ the i.Saw on the site initially generated a classic, automated email response thanking you for your order. Now a banner informs us that pre-ordering is closed, click here to find out why… which takes you to some brief copy revealing the spoof and offering you the entirely free, downloadable sound effect app. Genius.
The story so far
Starting close to home, the Papercut app itself was tried out in BBH offices first. Peter picks up the story again: “It spoke to people as they where about to print. And it worked. It was fun and annoying and got people talking. It got them conscious of their paper usage. We sent it to a few friends and they sent it to a few friends. People liked it. We worked out that if everyone, everywhere printed a bit less, it would add up to a whole lot of paper. A whole lot. So we set about trying to get it on as many computers as possible.”
Inevitably, with no media to speak of, earned or bought, the time came to promote the app a little harder. ‘Launched’ on Monday, the i.Saw was immediately picked up by Gizmodo and Wired. Both journalists strongly suspected it was a spoof product, but clearly had some fun writing about it. 1.5 6.9 million hits (updated end 14.07.09) on the site later, it’s starting to look like there’s some momentum behind this. There’s also been a fair amount of early speculation in the Twitterverse:
And a few discussion threads on Reddit which practically had us convinced that the i.Saw might really be real.
Speculation has been rife, but no-body knew until now why the spoof product existed, nor had anyone been directed yet to the reward, the downloadable sound effect app Papercut.
The task now..
To continue to spread the word and get as many people as possible to download the app. Which is of course where we can all get involved. If you love the idea as much as we do, please tweet, RT, comment and blog about it. This may also be the one download your mum and your mates who don’t work in the industry might actually want to receive. And please tell us about any suitable contacts you may have at relevant NGOs, environmental agencies etc. you think might be interested in offering their support.
Our aim? to get as many people as possible around the globe to download the app.
ECD – Steve Elrick
Digital CDs – Noel Yeo, Shawn Loo
Producer – Shaun Lee
Designer – Jeff Mendoza
Props – Art Devil’s Production
ECD – Steve Elrick
CD – Peter Callaghan
Art Director – Joseph Tay
Programmer – Nguyen Thanh Binh
More on the making of i.Saw: behind the scenes
Shawn and Noel were kind enough to take some questions and tell us a bit more about the process of creating the ‘product’.