Cannes Lions


OGILVY, New York / IBM / 2018

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What if one person could restore power to millions?

At Mobile World Congress, we redefined what devices are capable of with an interactive action film—called OUTAGE.

The film, a completely self-guided experience, puts participants in control during a citywide blackout. To restore power, viewers must race the clock to make critical decisions that drive the characters forward. Each choice sends the viewer along one of seven story paths, in which they face short circuits, blaring alarms, and storm-like conditions.

OUTAGE premiered inside an immersive theater at MWC. We teamed with director Brad Turner (24, Homeland) to produce a gripping storyline full of drama, suspense, and yes, lightning strikes. IBM technology was the star of the show, enabling participants to locate issues, evacuate personnel, connect to experts and more.

At a conference all about curved screens and connected cars, this “product demo” became the talk of MWC and beyond.


Outage pumped adrenaline both on-ground and online.

MWC18 took place in Barcelona from February 26th to March 1st. At the event, we positioned an immersive theater space at the center of the IBM booth, wrapped with dramatic scenes from Outage.

Inside the movie-like theater, a touch-screen display waited in front of a large, multi-panel screen. The theater fit between 15-20 people at a time, one of whom was tasked with making decisions throughout the film.

Online, a web-version of the experience was made available to all, where users could make choices or learn more about the IBM mobile capabilities seen in the film.

To drive traffic to the online site, we used boosted social assets and search.

To generate cultural excitement with a wider audience, we used exclusive interviews with director Brad Turner, live activation coverage and behind-the-scenes to pitch to creative, pop culture and tech media.


"GRIPPING" – Creativity



Power of Earned:

With only 1/3 the paid media budget of 2017, not only did earned media from PR help drive 23% of visits online, but those who came from paid had the highest engagement rate of 67% – 515% higher than IBM benchmarks. Overall, we had over 150% more site visits than expected, and with a younger audience skew.

PR also helped to boost on-ground traffic at MWC – with 33.9% more activation scans and 43% more total booth attendees than previous year.

Behavior and engagement:

On-ground audiences watched over 162 hours of IBM content. Online, we achieved an overall site engagement rate of 25% – 200% higher than benchmarks. Also, 1 in 3 people finished the entire 6.5 minute-long experience. Unheard of.


Finally, with each MWC validated lead worth a projected $1MM and given the typical 6-12 month buying cycle, the activation’s goal was to get visitors to find out more about IBM solutions or speak to an IBM expert. The experience generated over 651 new client meetings. Online, over 1 in 2 did one of the above – a whopping 4100% higher lead response-rate than the norm. That’s already 1,083 highly-engaged leads generated online.

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