Some words about visualization

Of all the things I heard at SXSW a few weeks ago, the one I've repeated most is, "visuals make a story 30% more likely to be picked up by media outlets and social media mavens."

It's the kind of fact that's unprovable, since there are many factors that determine if a story or campaign will be covered. But it was a good reminder nonetheless.

And it reminded me of the first time one of our stories greatly benefitted from including visuals. I was working at a fun Chicago agency (Hadrian's Wall) and the Chicago Bears, our local NFL team, were in the playoffs against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers were based in Charlotte, home of another fun agency (Boone Oakley). So we called them up and issued a bet: The winner of that weekend's game gets to take over the losing agency's website for a week. If the Bears beat the Panthers, the Boone Oakley website would state their agency is far inferior to Hadrian's Wall, and would redirect all web traffic to our site. If the Panthers won, our Hadrian's Wall site would praise and link to Boone Oakley's.

It was a goofy story, but it was picked up by both industry and mainstream press and established record amounts of web traffic for both agencies. And much of the coverage was centered around the logos we created (customized versions of the well-known NFL logos of each team).

As it turns out, the Panthers won. But the NFL never sued us for defacing their logos, so I figure in a way, we won too. Not to mention, we learned a great lesson on visualization.

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