Here is the presentation of the revelation by LOA, recorded at TEDxVienna 2011:
At the much anticipated first “live demonstration” of the Table Connect for iPhone project at today’s TEDxVienna event, design studio LOA revealed that it was all an elaborate viral marketing stunt – a combination of skillful visual effects and a meticulously planned roll-out strategy.
The Table Connect for iPhone team created massive interest in a video that showed them connecting an iPhone in a giant table surface screen that resembled an iPhone. Suddenly, all the contents of the iPhone surface were displayed on the giant screen, and the guys started performing the exact same gestures we are used to from an iPhone, with no noticeable lag whatsoever.
This is the original Table Connect for iPhone video – what the buzz was all about:
Within hours after the video release, big tech news and blogs covered the story. From the very beginning, there were countless discussions between commenters and the media alike whether it was fake or not.
The Sun, Gizmodo, Engadget, Forbes, CNet and countless other publications posted the video and within a day, the video skyrocketed to no. 1 on the YouTube charts.
Countless media enquiries from TV channels and international media for interviews followed, but the team wanted to stay hidden until the revelation of the secret.
TEDxVienna intro video for the presentation (full presentation online here shortly!)
At TEDxVienna, the team revealed that at the moment of their biggest viral success, they were so thrilled that they hesitated to reveal the truth to the story right away.
“Very quickly, the 15 minutes of fame were gone again,” says Lucas Triebl, one member of Table Connect / LOA. They hesitated, tried to sell the viral to Microsoft as a promotion, and in the end even attempted to build the table for real due to the incredible amount of buying requests from giant corporations, some of them Fortune 500 companies. But in the end, all of that failed.
“It all started when I discovered that Lucas’ desk looks just like a giant iPhone,” says Nino Leitner, another team member. That got their creative juices flowing and within minutes, they were planning the shoot. “As a filmmaker, I always got my Video DSLR on me – the other ingredients to success was probably the squeaky floor and two barefoot guys!”
It was the third member of the team, their visual effects guy Stefan Fleig, who successfully turned what was a lifeless, ordinary piece of furniture from the 80’s into the multitouch wonder that it ultimately became. “It became my personal challenge to make it as believable as I possibly could. Everything, even the iOS user interface, was recreated in post production from scratch.”
After a lot of ups and downs during the course of the project, they were happy to finally be able to reveal the truth to the story. “We didn’t want to sugarcoat anything at TEDxVienna,” says Lucas Triebl. “Yes, we absolutely told the entire story as it happened,” agrees Nino Leitner.
What they dubbed “an idea worth faking” at the beginning of the talk, became an “idea worth spreading” after all in the end. “We succeeded at something that many marketing experts are dreaming of.”