Antlos (AirBnb for boating)
5 destinations in the Mediterranean sea
Antlos has been defined by TechCrunch as “the AirBnb of boating”. After hard work the startup was ready to be presented to the world, and they needed to start with a bang, so they called us to create a launch campaign for their brand.
Antlos is pretty much one of the most striving startups in H-Farm, arguably Italy’s version of Silicon Valley. After a period of incubation and strong development, they called us thanks to the good word of Zooppa, and our previous success in the sailing turf with Barcolana, to help them position themselves out there through a storytelling campaign.
As usual in the startup world, the scope of the project was ambitious, the budget was narrow, and the timeframe was more than constrained. Antlos needed to launch their top locations, while positioning themselves away from the springbreak-paradise cliche. The company had to show that sailing with a experimented skipper who knows the location can be fun and enriching for very different targets.
The brief was to create a set of emotional stories to convey the unique value proposition of the platform.
Antlos needed to launch their top locations, while positioning themselves away from the springbreak-paradise cliche.
The expectations were high, and the challenge too. In order to tackle this problem, we thought way beyond storytelling. We needed to build a solid strategy to be able to stay on budget and yet satisfy all their demands.
Antlos is not just a boat rental. It cares about the shared experiences with important people in your life. Their UVP is to provide the perfect setting for meaningful experiences above the depths of the sea, thanks to the help of experienced skippers on board. The content strategy then was to concentrate on people and experiences on board.
We concentrated on people and experiences on board
Clearly the main difficulty was to be aligned with the proper positioning of the brand, being broad enough to cover a myriad of targets. In order to comply with the client’s needs, we proposed a webseries format, concentrated in the experiences that can be lived only on board. A trailer and five episodes to develop one minute stories to match the distribution needs.
The biggest problem was to attract very different targets into a somewhat similar experience: young couples, friends, colleagues, solo travelers and families. Each target has different expectations of a sailing holiday, and value different things out of the experience. The second challenge was the need to answer the frequently asked questions of a user on a sailing holiday while staying emotional and not informative on the tone.
Another difficulty was budget and time constraints: develop a full-blown webseries would be too long and expensive to make it in time for the launch (although the best choice in terms of communication and reach). We had only three days (and sometimes less) on each location to shoot each episode, from arrival to departure. All the production tasks had to be done in that time.
We had only three days (and sometimes less) on each location to shoot each episode, from arrival to departure. All the production tasks (briefing, scouting, shooting, backup, etc) had to be done in that time.
Actors were out of discussion, and the shooting had to be coordinated in high season, with a reduced filming crew, limited to two people: director/cinematographer and producer/sound assistant.
We then turned weaknesses into strengths. The use of real people would give a slight docu-fiction tone to the series, while the experiences lived would be mainly based on real interaction, but treated as a fiction in order to create proper story containers. Instead of staging, we would rather observe and repurpose the material, with the same approach of a documentary. The characters of each episode would match a specific target, and each story would be then self contained, in order to allow remarketing through “binge-watching”.
The first step to draft the stories was to have an in depth analysis of their target, and create rough sketches of episodes to find the proper people to be on them, and plan ahead the key points of their sailing experience. What would they do during the holiday? How should we structure the shooting to have the proper material?
We researched the interests of each of this personas on a holiday, and initiated to cross reference the answers to come up with the common ground for all the episodes, and check what were the main concerns and questions of each group regarding a sailing holiday.
We finally came up with five sets of “personas”: the group of friends, the solo female traveler, the couple, the family, and the work colleagues.
From these personas, we drafted a story for each episode, associating an experience to each of them. That’s how we came out with the structure of the series.
Each episode then contains a basic story structured around an experience: Happiness, Discovery, Love, friendship, celebration. The stories would then work on many levels, portraying the experiences on board on a first level, the locations on a second level and answering the F.A.Q on a third level.
Inside each episode we answer the frequently asked questions by showing instead of explicitly tell them. The situations portrayed would hint the viewer of what to expect of a sailing holiday with Antlos, while still appealing to them emotionally.
The final wording of the hashtag was then enhanced by Luther Design, which proposed #BetterOnBoard. Keeping it real was an important aspect of the crafting of the stories. Not only the guests on each trip were not actors, also the skippers were the actual skippers that you can hire through the platform.
The skippers were real sailors that you can hire through the platform
Instead of forcing a specific story, we would adapt on it based on what happened on board. The perfect example of this is the Celebration episode. When we brief’d the participants of the trip, we discovered that Cara, one of the guests for the episode, didn’t know how to swim. We thought that this detail was perfect to show how sailing holidays can be amazing for anybody, even for those who cannot swim, so we decided to adjust the story to make the central point of it. She had the time of her life on board, and it really shows on the story.
The key aspects of the project were targeting, observation, and adaptation.
The targeting guided our process, first through proper analysis, and then on execution, creating the format and the assets to create the proper cohesion during the whole series. That was the only way to be able to create different stories for different targets while staying coherent to the UVP.
Observation allowed us to improve each story realtime, capturing true spontaneity and real human reactions to a specific experience, conveying the real dynamics on board of a sailing boat: real lovers, real friends, real experiences on board.
Adaptation was the word of order on board. Being able to use the unforseen to enhance the message is what makes the difference on this kind of project.
We couldn’t be happier to discover that Antlos’ team was already using Slack. That streamlined the communication exponentially. We created for them a set of strategy docs to explain the conversion dynamics behind our content strategy, in order to check if it was aligned with theirs. Then we created the draft stories to set the main guidelines in order to find the proper “characters”. We were lucky to count with amazing people who really made our work much easier.
During the whole workflow we checked the progress with our consultants from New York and Buenos Aires, who helped us to stay tuned with the main strategy and enrich each story. This showed essential in order to get the final product.
During the prototyping we shared a set of google docs that then were commented and broken down in longer treatments. Through Slack we kept the Antlos team on the same page and all the versioning was managed with dropbox.
We’re very proud of the work we’ve done here, and to have been able to help such a talented team to launch their brand to the world. Here’s hoping they can succeed in changing the future of the sharing economy.