Back page: The Boot Camp diaries

A day-to-day breakdown of the Sid Lee Boot Camp experience.
Montreal 17-05-2012

A challenge in today’s marketing landscape is to get all the people required to create a transmedia program to play nice and get on the same page fast. This spring, Sid Lee put its Boot Camp recipe to the test for the second time, using a warehouse space as a lab and a team of eight creatives hailing from the U.S., France, the Netherlands, Germany and Canada as guinea pigs. Their goal was to create a program for AIDS charity (RED). Here’s how it worked:

Day 1
The Boot Campers get acquainted with their coaches and each other in the “war room” – the warehouse that they’ll call home for the next 10 days. Given the brief, they begin brainstorming ideas using Post-it notes, covering the walls with ideas to (literally) see what sticks.

Day 2
Guest coach Adam Bracegirdle, a creative technologist and co-CD at Sid Lee, inspires the Boot Campers to tell the story of (RED) through activities, such as social media and stunts, driving people to a digital hub. He helps them think through the consumer journey within an interactive experience, focusing their attention on tackling a major roadblock: many people have heard of (RED) but don’t know exactly what the organization does.

Day 3
To get the Boot Campers to work together in a more cohesive unit, Joanne Fillion, CD of Cirque du Soleil, brings play to the Boot Camp, having the campers wear red clown noses and making them join in circus games.

Day 4
To get their thinking to coalesce, Sid Lee architect Jean Pelland helps the Boot Campers develop ideas for a physical hub.

Several viable umbrella ideas begin to emerge, including the “9 Month Projects,” based on a baby’s gestational period, since (RED) combats the transfer of AIDS from mothers to babies. They begin building the best Post-it note ideas with modelling clay, balloons and even fishnet stockings.

Days 5-6
Nothing rallies the troupes like a strike against their brainchild. After crystallizing their ideas, the Boot Campers present four of them to Bertrand Cesvet, chairman of Sid Lee, who challenges the ideas and even questions whether the brief can be done.

To reinforce the plan, the coaches show the team how to simplify their ideas and make a meta-story. The group decides that the “9 Month Projects” is the way to go, and work on the storyline for the presentation video.

Days 7-9
The Boot Campers simplify and speed up work flow on the video by divvying up tasks into two groups – half devoted to conception and half to production.

To give C2-MTL conference-goers an inside peek into the process, the Boot Campers move into a dome on the C2-MTL campus. This proves to be a challenge, as they have to move out of a comfort zone they’ve created for themselves, much like the real world when, after leaving a team meeting with laser-focus, the office hubbub intrudes.

Day 10
The big reveal. The final work is presented to the C2-MTL conference crowd, and to Deborah Dugan, CEO of (RED). It’s met with positive feedback and raucous applause.

To see a PDF of the back page, click here.

And see the final product of the Boot Camp below: