What would Victorian man-about-town Dorian Gray have been like if he had lived in the era of the smartphone?
The hero of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, as you may recall, struck a deal with the devil to forever keep his dazzling good looks, not knowing that a portrait of himself would show macabre signs of his aging.
A new illustrated series on news site BuzzFeed entitled "The Instagram of Dorian Gray" brings Gray into the technology age, part of a promotion campaign sponsored by AT&T to advertise its Talk and Surf plan, which lets AT&T users do both at the same time on their mobiles. The series of illustrations shows Gray with a smartphone dialing up his favorite ladies, then simultaneously checking out the "Likes" on his portrait. The youthful one gets far more likes than the aged version.
"We wanted to think conceptually on how we could best tell the story of AT&T's technology feature in a fun way," says Jeff Greenspan, chief creative officer at BuzzFeed, about how the campaign came about. BuzzFeed designers created the artwork specifically for the campaign, which AT&T can use in its own advertisements as well as for sharing on Facebook, Pinterest and other social networks.
Even those who don't know Oscar Wilde's classic story should be able to get what's going on in the illustrations, Greenspan added. BuzzFeed users, as ever, can also rate the illustrated series, with a number of users already rating the Dorian Gray bit "Cute" "Win" "Awesome" "Fail" or "Geeky." (One user posted that she wished the carrier's network was as good as the cartoons.)
Three more such series are to follow on BuzzFeed in the coming months featuring well-known literary characters. Although Greenspan wouldn't tip his hat as to what they were, he said the next story will involve a character from Greek mythology.
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Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
March 19, 2014