Viral Marketing

From Milan to Tokyo by Subway

Imagine that you are a regular Italian commuter on Line 2 of the Milan Metro subway. The train pulls up to Moscova station and you get off as usual. But wait! This isn’t right! You must have dozed off. This doesn’t look like Moscova station; it doesn’t even look like Italy. Like Captain Kirk in “Star Trek,” you’ve leaped time and space and have been beamed to Shibuya station in Tokyo.

This is the elaborate promotional stunt staged by Milan-based agency M&CSaatchi to drive home the point that Fastweb optical fiber is so super fast that it can transport users instantly to the other side of the world. M&CSaatchi painstakingly reconstructed even the smallest detail of a Japanese train station to make the experience feel more authentic…and more surreal. The station’s billboards and posters were in Japanese characters and manga style illustrations. Hundreds of actors who looked unmistakably Japanese roamed the platform like regular commuters. Newstands sold only Japanese magazines and the loudspeakers announced train arrivals in Japanese. Only a special QR code on the billboards led to a question written in Italian: “Does your line go that fast?”

Silvio Meazza, interactive partner of M&CSaatchi, explains, “In a way, [the event] is a great demonstration of what the technology of Fastweb is: the bridge between our real life and virtual one. Two spheres with thinner and thinner borders, whose interaction exponentially increases our chances.” The few hundred “innocent bystanders” who witnessed this event first-hand quickly made it go viral via social networks. M&CSaatchi helped them along with a dedicated hashtag #Fastline on Facebook and Twitter, and special Fastweb T-shirts to wear when taking photos of themselves to attach to their Instagram posts.