What if a story you were following online ended with a radical twist that came to life on the streets of your city? That's exactly how South Africans were introduced to Twist, the new contemporary fashion brand from Woolworths. 'Can You Twist' was an innovative online reality show which featured six of South Africa's top young female writers in a competition showcasing their short stories. The line between fiction and reality was blurred each week as the conclusion to these stories played out in the streets of South Africa. This unique project – part of the launch of Woolworths’ exciting new contemporary fashion brand, Twist – evolved over six weeks leading up to the final 'twist in the tale' reveal, the official launch of the exclusive new brand in 26 Woolworths stores on 20 August 2008. “Our new Twist brand is targeted at a younger female market,” Woolworths Clothing Marketing Executive Shaheda Sayed explains. “We felt that the launch was a perfect opportunity to push the creative marketing envelope with new media and position the brand as fresh and different from the outset.” The pioneering cross-platform teaser campaign, devised by alternate media company Cherryflava Media, was a first in that it made use of virtual as well as actual 'stunts' which allowed readers to experience the various stories as though they were part of an alternate reality game. While the stories played out online, their conclusions were played out in real life through real-time activities which included handing out bouquets of flowers at vida e caffe stores, placing cryptic quarter-page ads in The Star and Cape Times newspapers, creating a guerrilla ‘garden’ on the side of Cape Town's M3 highway, drawing 3D pavement chalk art in Nelson Mandela Square, and flooding Cape Town’s Greenmarket Square with soap bubbles. The teaser campaign was completely unbranded, fuelling speculation as to who was behind it and adding to the overall ‘buzz’. “The teaser campaign was highly effective in that the tie-in of the Twist brand right at the end of the six weeks worked perfectly with the type of brand imagery Woolworths wanted to create,” says Jonathan Cherry of Cherryflava Media. He adds, “The use of a custom-build blogging platform with an RSS feed to showcase the daily story updates worked well to engage the audience over the full period of the campaign. We used simple social networking to communicate the location of the various ambient stunts to registered fans of ‘Can You Twist’ to set up each week's physical 'twist in the tale'.” The winner of the short story competition, determined by popular vote, was Ragel Nel’s wonderful short story 'Heavens Alive'. Nagel received R10 000 in prize money and the crown of the ‘Can You Twist Short Story Diva’. The other bloggers who took part in the campaign were Alice Vosloo, Jeanne Horak-Druiff, Bridget McNulty, Laurian Clemence and Nikki Friedman. See all the stories and pictures at: www.canyoutwist.com

What if a story you were following online ended with a radical twist that came to life on the streets of your city? That's exactly how South Africans were introduced to Twist, the new contemporary fashion brand from Woolworths.