ESCP Europe Business School

CMC Blog

Posted by Alkmini Gritzali at 9:42 - 1 Comments

How does a town just disappear?

"When I was six, my dad killed himself and we left the old town where I was very happy. Now I go back to look for it, it isn't there…"

"In Search of Oldton" is a digital narrative project - a digital archive of stories, images, artifacts and postings - developed by the author Tim Wright, a few years ago. The project was originally designed to explore the writing possibilities of online media users and to trigger 'writers of the future' across the UK. It was a non-profit project, being however directly connected to modern marketing practice. Although not new, and not aiming to capture consumers' creativity at first, it is, in my opinion, one of the boldest examples of consumers' collective creativity and value co-creation within the digital era.

Wright began the project with the above quote, asking online users to contribute their own memories, stories and pictures of the lost town, in order to recreate (in essence, reinvent) the past. The response was huge and immediate. As the themes, already developed in the website, included childhood memories, relationships with family and loved ones and British history, people started sending emails, postcards, photographs or even objects, pointing at their memories, nostalgia or even their loss. The provided themes were so relevant to people's real lives, becoming a very powerful entry point for all kinds of contributions.

Out of the online users' contributions, Tim Wright developed the city's architecture - a physical map of Oldton,which connected the various posts and gave the users' contributions a context. The connection encouraged the users to cross-refer to names and places, creating a whole web of memory and fiction. The final project, out of Wright's and users' contributions, comprised two anthologies of artifacts, the "Our Oldton", a map developed by users' memories, and the "My Oldton", Wright's version of the lost town.

Tim Wright was not at all the author of the final project; he was just the driving force, the architect, or the inspiration. He provided the grounds - the basic structure and of course context - that connected individuals into an imaginative community. The project became a community of story-tellers who started by individually contributing their memories and imagination, to end up as users collectively developing an elaborate topography of Oldton.

By collecting and reinforcing people's stories, Wright stimulated a long creativity process. At the beginning, consumer creativity was at the individual level; people were contributing memories and artifacts, without connecting to each other and being knowledgeable of what the others were contributing. Then came the moment where Wright provided them with a platform, the map of Oldton, which gave them the opportunity to interact and contribute to each other's stories. By developing the map, consumers got involved in a collective creativity process. The map became the common ground for the imaginary - and not only imaginative - community to pick up and cross-refer to specific names, places and events that would not exist in any other case.

Thus, it was this process of individual creativity, giving rise to collective consumer creativity through the building of a common ground, that allowed for a lost town to be found. Although Tim Wright's project was semi-commercial and far from marketing strategies, it gave a great lesson and became very useful for marketers, by unveiling the mechanisms by which consumers can essentially participate in value co-creation. "In Search of Oldton" actually proved that consumer creativity can not only foster brands' value creation, but also build new products; even rebuild lost towns.


Latest comments 1 Comments

Jemwel said...
02 November 2012
why is that? Creative Advertising is everywhere you look. Not just in these types of exlampes. Without creativity in advertising the world would be full of pragmatics with repetitive skull drilling advertisements. .


Get Social & Share


Latest from CMC Blog
Most active posts
How to Build a Billion Dollar App - 7 Comments
Posted by Creativity Marketing Centre @Creativitymktg
at 24/06/2015 7:49
Who's creative, who's not? - 3 Comments
Posted by Benjamin Voyer
at 09/11/2012 10:00
‘Growth hacking’, the new marketing trend in startups - 3 Comments
Posted by Vishal Kapadia - @vishkap
at 05/11/2012 15:10
The Vicious Spiral of Consumer Expectations of Creative Brands - 2 Comments
Posted by Benjamin Voyer
at 07/01/2013 12:45
Are retail stores dinosaurs? - 1 Comments
Posted by Minas Kastanakis
at 15/03/2013 10:37
Kristine de Valck, dry chicken, and paintball - 1 Comments
Posted by Tom van Laer - @tvanlaer
at 05/03/2013 16:18
Shakespeare was wrong - 1 Comments
Posted by Peter Stephenson-Wright
at 12/02/2013 13:50
How should companies respond to stories in social media? - 1 Comments
Posted by Tom van Laer - @tvanlaer
at 19/11/2012 11:50
Value as process - 1 Comments
Posted by Vlad Glaveanu
at 16/11/2012 11:31
Latest posts
What is the Secret of Building a Disruptive App? Here’s What You Need to Know
Posted by Creativity Marketing Centre @Creativitymktg
at 08/07/2019 10:24
Everything You Know About AI Is Wrong
Posted by Dr Terence Tse
at 04/07/2019 10:23
The Power of a Strong Concept in Marketing #BIGPICTURE2019
Posted by Laurent François
at 23/05/2019 7:43
Latest comments
On How to Build a Billion Dollar App by Free FIle Hosting

Anything in here will be replaced on browsers that support the canvas element