As if all those flares and 1990s – that’s a spinning one-handed handstand to you – weren’t proof, breakdancers love a challenge. And that’s exactly what Taxi Vancouver put to them when they were invited to a Toronto studio for a faux dance audition last fall.

After the breakers had shown the ‘judges’ some moves, they were asked to repeat their routines, but this time while solving a jigsaw puzzle, Rubik’s Cube, word game or Jenga tower simultaneously. The actual subject of the film was a real-life demo of Vancouver-based Little Boy Games’ Go! Go! Break Steady videogame for Xbox Live, which pairs breakdancing with puzzle-solving.

‘This crazy combination of breakdancing and puzzles was the thing that made this game unique, and [the developer] had an instant international audience – anybody with an Xbox can download this game – so from a media perspective we thought we [could] do something entertaining online that was also low-budget,’ says Michael Mayes, CD at Taxi Vancouver.

Created in partnership with Industry Films and director Alex Ogus, the original three-minute film gives a behind-the-scenes look at incredulous, eager-to-please b-boys and b-girls trying to solve puzzles while balancing on their grey matter.

‘We thought people would get mad or be confused – we had no idea so many of them would try and do it,’ admits Mayes.

The video was hosted on and optimized on YouTube and other video-sharing sites, as well as seeded to videogame and breakdancing blogs and communities around the world – just in time for the holiday season. Three 30-second product-focused spots aimed more squarely at the gaming consumer gave the game another leg up early this year.

Now if we could just master patting our heads and rubbing our bellies at the same time…


You wake up late on your sister’s couch with a pounding headache and wearing yesterday’s outfit. If you can relate to this scenario, you’re probably a 20-something woman, the target audience for Unilever Canada’s interactive web video ‘Waking Up Hannah.’

Created last October by Ogilvy & Mather Toronto and the Barbarian Group, the video, hosted at, promoted the launch of Dove’s new Go Fresh product line of soap, shampoo, lotion, deodorant and body mist. After watching an introduction, users could determine how sassy protagonist Hannah went about her day, whether her actions were ‘calm,’ ‘energizing’ or ‘refreshing,’ in keeping with the three Go Fresh scents. Users clicked on multiple Hannahs to uncover a total of 19 storylines and seven possible endings. They also got a peek at her email, voicemail, text messages and photos.

Touted as the world’s first interactive romantic comedy – complete with blind date, bossy sister and slave-driving boss – the film is Dove’s first effort to reach out to the demo. Unilever Canada has had great success in the past reaching out to young girls with the Dove Sleepover for Self-Esteem program (now in its second year) and to 50-plus women with Body & Soul, a play written by award-winning Canadian playwright Judith Thompson and performed by women with no prior acting experience.

Sharon MacLeod, marketing director for Dove and skin care at Unilever, said digital media was the obvious choice for this target group. ‘We know that she is certainly online more than she’s watching television, so we wanted to go to her, and we felt that would be the most compelling way to engage her,’ she says. ‘In the digital world there’s just so much you can do, well beyond what you can do in traditional media.’

In six months the site received 270,750 visits, and users spent an average of over three minutes watching Hannah make the best of a bad morning. Among women who saw the film, 56% said it made Dove more appealing. And Unilever exceeded Go Fresh sales targets by 48%.

Jump to:



Direct mail