DA Group and Rhetorical Add Shock Element to Marketing Campaign

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - DA Group (DA), the intelligent communications provider, has pulled together voice and visual character technology to create a brand personality for Jim Beam Brands. The virtual personality in question is Eduardo J Pussai, a loud-mouthed individual who fronts "Shockmail" an email messaging system between party-going friends, also devised and developed by DA. DA Group's visual persona - as Rhetorical's voice - was created to reflect After Shock's brand style and appeal to its target drinkers. With both the image and the voice built on to DA's animation technology, it means that a text input (email) is instantly translated into a moving, expressive audio and visual image. Currently residing at www.shockingtimes.com, Eduardo has already caused a stir amongst web users. The embedded technology, developed by DA, detects the mood of the email message and applies (in)appropriate animated actions. Eduardo adds his own off the cuff phrases, ensuring that the end result is never predictable. Users log on to the site which gives them access to a host of After Shock related features including Shockmail, competitions, a facility which lets you contact your friends for free and the suggestively titled "Fore Play" where they can keep track of After Shock parties across the country. Derek Scott, marketing manager at Jim Beam Brands which owns After Shock said, "The purpose of the site is to promote After Shock to a very specific consumer group. We wanted something which would appeal to people's sense of fun, something we associate heavily with the brand along with a strong sociable element." "Eduardo covers both of these areas admirably and has already been a great success. We are very pleased with the results our technology partners have produced." Marc Moens, CEO of Rhetorical said, "Speech technology is a great way to bring a brand to life. Voice adds the dynamism to a virtual character and gives the character personality as well as movement. Eduardo was a challenge for us because he is very different to the voices we have done in the past." "All our voices are renowned for their clarity and natural sound, the idea is to make them as lifelike as possible. With Eduardo we had to make a voice which was larger than life and added a certain 'After Shock flavour' to the proceedings. This was certainly a challenge but I think users of the service will be impressed by Eduardo's vocal capabilities not to mention his vocabulary!" Mike Antliff, CEO of DA Group said, "When Jim Beam approached us they asked for an innovative idea to help promote the After Shock brand. Our characters are often used as brand images and our unique technology instantly creates animations that literally bring simple text messages to life. What we have done with Rhetorical is to combine our leading edge animation technology with their speech synthesis engine to produce a character with real visual and audio personality. The collaboration with Jim Beam Brands has opened up new opportunities for the development of online characters and avatar marketing solutions."
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