Yahoo! Design & Branding TOM HANKS' ELECTRIC CITY TAP CODED CAMPAIGN by Pereira & O'Dell San Francisco

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Industry Portals
Media Design & Branding
Market United States
Agency Pereira & O'Dell San Francisco
Art Director Paulo Coelho Santos, Matt Courtney, Keli Linehan
Copywriter Arício Fortes, Charlie Wolff
Released January 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Consumer Services
Advertiser: YAHOO!
Product/Service: WEB SERIES
Chief Creative Officer: PJ Pereira (Pereira O'Dell)
Creative Director: Aricio Fortes (Pereira O'Dell)
Creative Director: Paulo Coelho (Pereira O'Dell)
Copywriter: Aricio Fortes (Pereira O'Dell)
Art Director: Paulo Coelho (Pereira O'Dell)
Copywriter: Charlie Wolff (Pereira O'Dell)
Art Director: Keli Linehan (Pereira O'Dell)
Art Director: Matt Courtney (Pereira O'Dell)
Interactive Producer: Kelsie Van Deman (Pereira O'Dell)
Print Producer: Drew Saucedo (Pereira O'Dell)
Art Buyer: Issy Penaflor (Pereira O'Dell)
Production Company: B-Reel (B-Reel)
Media placement: Posters - CES - LAS VEGAS - January 10-13
Media placement: Event - Concert at SXSW - March 11
Media placement: tv spot - G4 tv channel - March 9 - March 19
Media placement: banners - Yahoo! - March 9-30th
Media placement: Facebook app - Facebook - April 15

Describe the brief from the client
Yahoo! challenged us to launch Tom Hanks's post-apocalyptic web-series, Electric City, using any media we saw fit. The series is unlike anything seen before in the US, and because it was created by 1 of the biggest names in Hollywood, we needed to launch this web-only series like a feature film.

Describe the challenges and key objectives
Since our target was wary of traditional marketing, we needed to do things a little differently. We created a whole new language called ‘tap code’, based on the Morse code-like language used in Electric City. We built an entire campaign around deciphering the tap code to unlock the secrets of the city.

Describe how you arrived at the final design
We gave ourselves 1 simple ground rule. Everything is decipherable. In every execution, the groups of dots serve not only as a beautiful design element, but also as a hidden message. From posters, to direct mail, to banners - where there is tap code, there is a message. The idea of hidden messages also informed larger scale design decisions. Each image, character, or scene is painted in code, often obscuring more than it actually reveals.

Give some indication of how successful the outcome was in the market
We drove over 1m page views to a the mysterious tap-coded microsite,, where returning users spent, on average, almost 30 minutes deciphering clues each visit. Hundreds of people flocked to the Electric City Launch party to watch the premier of the show, decipher tap code messages, and make their own tap coded dog tags. Most of all, we created a language that served as both a beautiful design element as well as an enigmatic medium to deliver information about Tom Hanks's Electric City.