Coffee caper

Toronto-based Lollipop has created a pulse pounding first-person interactive Web experience for Black Sunshine Coffee, with a subversive twist.

Visitors are invited to step into shadows of the underworld, chartering a flight to a mysterious island to undertake a business deal with a difference. Players who keep their cool and make it past the imposing steel door guarding the entrance to a seemingly abandoned warehouse are tested to the limits as they come face to face with the dealer, his pure organic stash, and a gun-toting gang of hired thugs.

In the hunt for an innovative storyline to launch a new coffee brand to the market, Toronto-based agency Extreme Group approached Lollipop. The idea was deceptively simple – to create an innovative interactive environment where visitors could take part in a subversive online shopping experience styled after a drug deal. The challenge for Lollipop was to create that buzz through a combination of atmospheric video content and a slick online space that married film with fun and fear.

“The story unfolds through a series of video clips with the user making choices at certain points to move through the experience,” explained Michael Gramlow, Creative Director at Lollipop. “We wanted to create a really immersive atmosphere for visitors to submerge themselves in so we shot the whole film in a first-person POV using a Steadicam and streamlined the navigation around intuitive point and click decision making.” 

Movement through the Flash-based site takes users from a first-hand look at the various roasts and beans on offer right through to the deal, where they’re connected to an online shop to peruse the goods are available for purchase.

“There’s about ten minutes of content waiting to be unlocked at,” revealed Gramlow. “Not to spoil the surprise, but there are a few things hidden on the site that aren’t immediately obvious. Try seeing what happens when you take too long to make a decision or try to look at the same product multiple times.” 

To create the contraband warehouse look and feel, Lollipop brought veteran photographer Frank Hoedl on board. Styling the lighting and shooting the video content, Hoedl’s emphasis was on capturing an authentic environment in camera to keep post to a minimum and draw out the raw, naturalistic tones and shades of the building.

“Prior to the shoot, we mapped out in detail all of the shots required to make the whole experience work and determined what the cut points would be to get from video to video,” said Gramlow. “Talking to Frank we determined that using blinking overhead lights would help us achieve natural cuts in the video and allow us to smooth out the transitions between different sections of the site. We really wanted to avoid jump cuts when users were clicking to make choices as it was vital to create seamless transitions to sustain the tension.”


Visit Extreme Group

Visit Lollipop


Title: Pure Black Sunshine
Agency: Extreme Group, Toronto
Client: Caribbean Farms
Chief Creative Officer: Shawn King
Creative Director: Matt Syberg-Olsen
Art Director: Mike Schonberger
Copywriter: Matt Hubbard
Digital Production: Lollipop, Toronto
Lollipop Creative Director: Michael Gramlow
Executive Producer: Amanda Loughran
Project Manager: Laura Richardson
Flash Developer: Dan Purdy
Live Action Director: Frank Hoedl
Editorial: Mark Paiva, Poster Boy Edit, Toronto
Post Production: Crush, Toronto
Music/Sound Design: Keen, Toronto

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