• Cannes
  • CLIO
  • D&AD
  • The One Show
  • Webby
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The Wilderness Downtown


The first web experience to match the emotional power of a song.

A great song sticks with you - it hits an emotional chord that few mediums can. When we partnered with Google and Arcade Fire to develop The Wilderness Downtown, our challenge was clear: could a web experience ever match the power of the best music?

We set out to prove that it could, developing one of the world’s first interactive music videos, optimized for the Chrome browser. 
The song’s lyrical theme of long-lost childhood served as our inspiration for the experience we built. In partnership with Google Creative Lab and Chris Milk, we designed the music video to be dynamically built around each individual user’s childhood home.
Google’s Maps API gave us access to all of the big data that we’d need to make the video geographically relevant to each person. But we realized that Maps is a whole lot more than just streets and directions – it’s home. It’s a way to connect to something personal. We tapped into the Maps API to pull in imagery from each user’s hometown, making the streets in the video your streets.
The results were staggering, with views pouring in from around the world. We had inadvertently ushered in a whole new style of storytelling: videos designed to be as unique as each viewer, for the most personal experience possible. And for Google, we demonstrated the power of Chrome and got more people using it. The project went on to win the Grand Prix at Cannes - but, more importantly for us, it also forever changed the way we approach our projects.

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