BKWLD Takes Teens On A Graphic Robo-trip

A teen wakes up, shaky, disoriented, covered in blood and vomit. The last thing he remembers is slamming a bottle of DXM cough syrup (robo-tripping) in a pre-party binge. An urgent text message sends him to his Facebook page, where the night’s carnage plays out across his timeline – photos of puke-splattered cars and toilets framed by appalled comments from assorted friends. Bits of the wild night return to the teen in fragmented memories: stumbling, puking, and the angry reactions of his peers.

Any Facebook user can put themselves through this disorienting 3:00 experience thanks to the Sip It Up Facebook Connect app designed and developed by BKWLD for Partnership at Drugfree.org via Tribal DDB SF. BKWLD created the entire experience, building the Facebook page alongside a website – dxmstories.com – that explores the detrimental effects of cough syrup abuse.

“Our biggest opportunity here was to graphically show the negative consequences of the drug,” stated BKWLD VP Josh Reddin. “We wanted shock value to drive home the fact that cough syrup abuse is a real problem, with real health consequences and – maybe even more important for teenagers – your social life.”

The studio supervised the shoots for the Facebook app and dxmstories.com, with CD Chad Turner teaming up with Moxie Pictures Directors Henry & Rel, who shot a variety of trippy live-action footage for the Facebook app and web videos. The studio then worked with Beast Editor Brian Lagerhausen to assemble the experience.

“Teens interpret one another’s lives every day through their Facebook posts, so showing the disastrous consequences of drug-abusing behavior through real-time posts creates a very visceral experience,” explained Turner.  “We wanted teens walking away thinking, ‘I don’t want to be that kid.’”

The crew faced myriad challenges, from recreating a realistic Facebook wall to making the app operate effectively whether a user had one friend or 700. The studio also tapped iTunes API to select the music that is played in the party scene, and Google Street View API to composite the car-ride footage into a video of the user’s neighborhood. BKWLD even customized an algorithm measuring proximity and frequency of interaction to ensure that the friends commenting were relevant.

The app has already enjoyed considerable success—garnering an astounding 20% like/share rate on Facebook, and producing in excess of 120k exposures through social networks. Since the launch of the app, DXMStories.com has seen a significant increase in user engagement. Metrics show that visitors are now spending an average of two minutes more per visit on the site than they were during the same time period last year. Those visitors are also twice as likely to delve into and explore the site upon arrival, rather than immediately “bouncing” to other web destinations.

Dxmstories.com explores the effects of cough syrup abuse through a series of raw interactive videos. The site also includes stories from abusers, facts about the drug, and links to organizations that can help with addiction.  In a continuation of the campaign, a trio of YouTube videos was released last week with over 100K hits to date.

For more, click here to check out Tribal DDB’s case study.




Agency: Tribal DDB SF
Client: CHPA Partnership for a Drugfree America
ECD: Keith Ciampa
ACD: Matt Klug
Senior AD: Shawn Gurzcak
Senior Copywriter: Reid Hultman
AD: Sean Flores
CW: Justin Peele
Director of Content Production: Frank Brooks
Interactive Producer: Christian Colasuonno
Director of Technology: Brian Jeremy
Business Director: Jenny Leonetti
Director Social Media: Matthew Nelson

Live-Action: Moxie Pictures
Director: Henry & Rel
EP: Robert Fernandez
Line Producer: Melody Roscher

Interactive: BKWLD
Account Supervisor:  Josh Reddin
Production: Chris Edmonds
CD: Chad Turner
CD: Jeff Toll
AD: Ethan Martin
Tech Directors: Robert Reinhard, Dan Rodgers
Lead Dev: Matt Aebersold

Editorial: Beast
EP: John Ettinger
Editor: Brian Lagerhausen

Sound Design: One Union
Engineer: Matt Zipkin

Telecine: New Hat
Colorist: Beau Leon

About BKWLD:

We were founded in 2001.
We work out of 2 offices – Sacramento and Seattle.

We are a team dedicated to doing great work for great clients, and have a hell of a time doing it.