AC/DC Rocks the Office was a creative advertising campaign carried out to promote the band’s 17th studio album “Black Ice”.
We knew from Columbia’s consumer insight that our target audience of 30-40 year old men uses music like AC/DC's to escape from the stresses and boredom of everyday life. Our brief was to reach this audience through the web and to provide them with "a genuine blow-out moment in these serious times". Furthermore we needed to let them know more practical stuff, like what the new album was called and where they could listen to / purchase it.
We wanted to reach our audience at a time in their day when they would be most likely to feeling the need to escape. The obvious place was the office, where most people are online all day. We realised most employees are subjected to fairly restrictive internet usage / security policies at work, so reaching this audience through a channel such as YouTube simply wouldn’t work, as the site would likely be blocked by their corporate firewall.
We realised that by including AC/DC’s music in an Excel spreadsheet, it would be able to pass through corporate firewalls uninterrupted. The next challenge was to make the content of the spreadsheet so compelling that people would feel compelled to talk about it, and share it with their friends. We decided to render the video for 'Rock N Roll Train' as ASCII art and display it directly in the cells of the spreadsheet, thus creating the world's first music video in Excel format.
A spreadsheet was created containing the music video, preview links for all of the tracks from the album, and links to purchase the album online.
A mini-site was created so that people could download the spread- sheet. A video was created showing the video playing back in Excel – this was uploaded to AC/DC’s YouTube channel.
We used the video to plug the link for the campaign's website and to encourage viewers to download the spreadsheet and try it for real. This helped dispel any notions that we might have faked the footage in any way. The video also gave press and bloggers something to embed in their story when writing about the campaign.
We carried out a carefully planned seeding strategy to publicise the campaign, starting in the online tech and gadget blogs and eventually crossing over to mainstream media.