'World's First Sensory Gaming Device' Revealed as Elaborate Stunt for C4 Show
The AzanaBand, which simulates happiness, fear and pain, was actually part of a clever marketing campaign by 4Creative to promote new series Kiss Me First.
Total immersion - the holy grail of gaming - looked to be one step closer last week, when Channel 4 aired an ad for an innovative new product claiming to simulate happiness, fear and pain... without consequence.
The futuristic 40-second teaser spot, directed by Misha Manson-Smith - who's repped by Rogue Films - introduced the AzanaBand, billed as 'the world's first sensory gaming device developed by leading neuroscientists', and available to purchase exclusively with the Azana Game. Viewers were then directed to Azanaband.com where they discovered that the device, worn clipped around the neck like a choker, ‘brings virtual reality gaming to life', changing colour according to the emotion or sensation it triggers.
Unsuprisingly, the Twittersphere exploded, with gamers expressing a mix of excitement, nerves and disbelief at the news, while the site clocked up over 346,000 visits:
Adding to the intrigue, Bristol-based YouTube gamers Hat Films posted a video of them trialling the AzanaBand on their channel of almost one million subscribers.
There were also sponsored articles on popular TV, film and gaming entertainment site, Den of Geek, announcing the launch of 'a revolutionary gaming device' whilst promotional posters appeared across London and Manchester.
However, a full-length trailer released by Channel 4 last night revealed that the AzanaBand is, sadly, part of a clever marketing campaign, created by the broadcaster's in-house agency 4Creative to promote the broadcaster's new thriller, Kiss Me First, about a teenager addicted to a fictional online gaming site.
“Kiss Me First is a brilliant show with a very unique audience, so to get their attention we needed to do something innovative and different," says Alice Tonge, head of 4Creative. "To create intrigue, excitement and a genuine buzz around the show, we partnered with influencers and launched the AzanaBand as if it were a real-life gaming product.”
It's not the first time Channel 4 has faked a product launch to promote a TV series: ahead of its AI drama, Humans, it created a pseudo-brand, Persona Synthetics, and opened up a store on London's Regent Street selling 'synths'.