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November 7th, 2014 by

Screen Shot 2012 11 02 at 9.00.20 AM - Riaan Cruywagen Steps into Digital to Launch Online News Platform A mini, animtronic puppet of South African icon, Riaan Cruywagen, created quite a buzz in an ad campaign, conceptualised by full-service digital agency NATIVE VML, for a new Afrikaans digital news platform, Netwerk Animatronics and puppetry were combined to create Cruywagen’s alter ego, Klein Riaan, for an advertising campaign launching Netwerk, which included content from leading Afrikaans newspapers Beeld, Die Burger, Rapport and Volksblad. Klein Riaan featured in a short story film, as well as radio, print and digital advertising to support the campaign.

“Our aim was to convey the message that, through Netwerk, readers will have access to the same trusted news they’re used to getting from the individual newspapers. That it has all the integrity of traditional newspapers, only now it’s in a digital format,” says Ryan McManus, NATIVE VML Executive Creative Director. NATIVE VML teamed up with special effects company, Cosmesis, and Velocity Films, to create the puppet. “Who better to convey that message than a digital version of Riaan Cruywagen, one of South Africa’s most loved and trusted personalities?” Klein Riaan was created by scanning the real Cruywagen from head to toe and creating an exact replica of Cruywagen’s face. Beneath the clay skin is the remote control machinery and animatronics that allows the puppet to come to life with the ability to move, blink, smile and talk.

Cruywagen recorded the voice overs for the puppet’s dialogue in a film and a radio advert. The short film shows how Klein Riaan lives in a young man’s life, providing him with regular news updates, information and tips to help him be better informed, smarter, fitter and in the right place at the right time. “With and easy access to up-to-date news, anyone can have their own personal Klein Riaan,” explains McManus. Cruywagen may have stepped down from live news, but he is still very much a part of South Africa’s entertainment industry, presenting various TV shows and even producing a music video. Now he brings authenticity to the digital space, showing readers that produces the same credible, trusted and respected news they’re used to.

Originally posted on BizCommunity: