During the past ten years, Arilyn has worked with clients from various industries and countries in over 500 XR campaigns. Combining creative technologies with storytelling has been the cornerstone since the beginning.
Finding new ways to tell stories has been a particular interest for Arilyn's founder & Creative Director, Otso.
Let's hear from him about some of the most memorable cases!
When we first started Arilyn, we had nothing but a lot of passion for doing something new and inspiring. We rented a cold storage room - that used to be a sauna of slaughter men - from the meatpacking district in Helsinki. It was quite rough and smelly but extremely inspiring.
First Arilyn office
10. LIVING PAINTING with Topi Ruotsalainen
Our very first project was to create "a living painting" with a well-known Finnish painter, Topi Ruotsalainen. On a wall in the meatpacking district hung a huge painting of the corpses of the meat made by Topi, and we made it come to life with augmented reality. It resulted in a chilling experience, where the corpses started to breathe, enhanced with an audioscape.
This got us our first media hit - on the biggest newspaper in the Nordics. Quite a good start, I would say.
A living painting with Topi Ruotsalainen
9. FAN ENGAGEMENT CAMPAIGN for Samuli Putro
Our second campaign was enhancing Samuli Putro's - one of Finland's most beloved and most successful solo artists - new music launch. We created a multi-channel fan engagement campaign consisting of a short story presented in unexpected locations with AR. Putro's fans could search for clues about where they could hear the story on his social media channels. We utilised everyday surfaces, such as book and record album covers, and even Finnish bank notes, to launch the virtual miniature Samuli.
Putro's fans loved the campaign, and it received broad buzzing. The campaign's final step was that the fans got to hear a new song and see its music video before the official release through Arilyn.
Samuli Putro in our DIY green screen filming set
8. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL - The old meets new in virtual storytelling
Respecting nature has always been close to my heart, so I was particularly excited to get to work with Greenpeace on a global campaign at the beginning of our journey.
As a part of their 2018 main theme - protecting the great Northern forests - we launched a portal to a virtual primaeval forest; people from the busy streets of a metropolis could transport themselves to a magical forest to walk around and experience the ancient Nordic nature with the Northern lights lighting their path. At the end of the path, Greenpeace's Campaign Manager sat by a bonfire telling his story, combining the old storytelling way with a new one.
7. THE SURPRISING TRINITY - the pop star, the fan and Donald Duck
At the heart of our strategy has always been finding interesting combinations between different parties and connecting them through AR in surprising ways. A few years back, we saw a very successful example of this.
Finns love the story of an underdog, and Donald Duck is a massive hero in Finland. Since 1951, a large part of Finnish homes have received a weekly comic book following Donald's adventures. In an August 2018 number of Donald Duck, one of Finland's biggest pop stars, Sanni, was featured as a cartoon character in one of the stories, in a collaboration between Sanni's record label Warner Music and Walt Disney. As a treat for Sanni's fans, we made a virtual Sanni to explore the story among the comic through AR.
The frame where the virtual Sanni could be found was changed throughout the campaign, and the fans got to participate in a hunt to find a wheel of fortune and win tickets to Sanni's show.
6. STOCKMANN - Christmas adventure
Stockmann is an iconic department store, standing in the most central spot in Helsinki, Finland, for over 160 years. With Stockmann, we have utilised an entirely new way of storytelling with creative technology.
Stockmann's Christmas window is a tradition that has delighted children and families throughout the store's history. In 2018, the Christmas story was deepened through an AR adventure. Together with professional writers, we created a scavenger hunt that mixed a feeling of nostalgia and modern technology.
Tiny elf footprints were hidden inside Stockmann. By following them, children could find AR elf doors, from which opened micro cosmoses where the characters from the Christmas window would give the children clues as to where they could find Santa Claus.
Since then, the AR adventures have broadened to all Stockmann department stores in five countries.
5. THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS - Ozzy Osbourne
Up until 2019, out of the stars in the music field, we had carried out different AR campaigns mainly for Finnish artists. Then Sony USA contacted us regarding the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne - a true LEGEND in the music business. Sony USA wanted us to create engaging AR content for his megalomanic limited edition vinyl box set See You On The Other Side, which included all of the Prince's published music, posters and exclusive items for true fans.
We utilised wholly new AR content in the campaign, including old archive material and unpublished content. In addition to pleasing Ozzy, we managed to keep Sharon happy, which is probably one of the most significant achievements in my career.
4. LIL NAS X - Welcome to Montero
Once we had successfully carried out the Ozzy campaign, knowledge of us transferred from Sony's New York office to the west coast. Next, Sony's Capitol Records contacted us to create "an outstanding AR campaign for one of their biggest artist in a relatively fast schedule."
We, of course, said yes, having no idea who this artist was. It turned out to be Lil Nas X, one of the biggest stars in the world at the moment. Our job was to design an AR experience supporting his Montero album launch in a matter of few weeks. We worked extremely long days in three different time zones with a team of around 20 people. The outcome was a Montero-inspired AR installation, with which Lil Nas X's fans could take pictures and post them on social media.
3. MOTEL FINLANDIA
One of our most imaginary campaigns is a larger entirety with Music Finland. In 2021, the buzzword on everyone's lips was Metaverse. Music Finland wanted to test how the virtual dimension would fit into exporting Finnish music to the world.
My own attitude toward the Metaverse was conflicted; the Metaverse projects I had seen were game-like and mimicked clichéd futurism. We took a reversed approach. We sought inspiration from the shaggy 70s and created an empty motel in the middle of nowhere - Motel Finlandia. The virtual motel features changing Finnish artists performing on the stage of the motel's empty bar - except for the passed-out Santa Claus.
2. DAVID LYNCH - Infinite Deep
I have always been David Lynch's fan. Twin Peaks was, in addition to Nirvana's music, one of the most influential factors in my childhood. Since then, it has been my biggest dream to work with him. In 2022 that dream came true.
Helsinki Photo Festival brought Lynch's photography exhibition to Helsinki in November 2022, and they contacted us to create a sneak peek exhibition where people could see some of Lynch's work before the physical exhibition's opening and buy tickets. This was one of the first online exhibitions we created that included the possibility of buying tickets to a real-world event.
When designing the exhibition, I was intrigued to bend the limits of reality. We could approach the online exhibition with a Lynch-like vision without the limitations of a physical display. Lynch's photos are strange, and we wanted to create an environment accordingly.
1. VIRTUAL ART GALLERY
For the first eight years of Arilyn, we strongly focused on AR. We had had fruitful collaborations with dozens of museums, and when the big C hit us, they started to ask for remotely accessible exhibitions.
We took on the challenge and started building a whole new virtual space platform. It works terrific not only for museums and galleries but also for businesses as showrooms and 3D extensions for websites. The online spaces can be practically anything and feature any kind of media. They are great for playing with rules of what can and can't be, what is real and what is imaginary.
The most exciting thing about online spaces is that they run on mobile devices' browsers. They are easy to enter and exit, which makes them easy to implement into already-existing workflows.
Virtual Art Gallery was soft-launched a little over two years ago, and we have slowly gathered test users from all over the world. Word-of-mouth has worked wonders, and the user numbers have grown steadily.
This has strongly indicated that we are working on the right things.
I have been thoroughly interested in visual arts since I was a child. I sincerely believe that the world is full of art that needs to be displayed. Social media does offer a platform for that, but for me experiencing art in a space is much more of an experience.
Virtual Art Gallery's mission is no more than democratising the art market and giving every artist an equal opportunity to present their work in a worthy environment.
My hope for the next ten years is for Virtual Art Gallery to find its audience and serve artists worldwide.
Hop on board and let's take your story to the next level!