Everyone plays The Sims a little differently.
The Sims, if you’re not familiar, is one of the most popular video game series of all time. It’s a life simulator that lets you create your own people and live vicariously through them as they master skills, start families, become neurosurgeons in a few short minutes, flirt with the Grim Reaper (literally), and do lots of other totally normal human things.
For some people, The Sims is an opportunity to build a sprawling family tree. For others, it’s about finding creative ways to kill your digital darlings – perennial favourites include removing the swimming pool ladder or leaving ‘em in a windowless room.
For people like me, though, the real joy of The Sims is in the gently jazz-soundtracked build/buy mode, where you can pretend you’re on Grand Designs and create an obnoxiously high-spec home for your Sims.
The thing that’s always fascinated me about building in The Sims is the level of detail you can achieve. And so, by way of long, tangential introduction, we come to my nominee for the Radix B2B Content Hall of Fame: real estate marketers Drawbotics’ 2017 blog post, “Your Favorite TV Shows Brought to Life with Amazing 3D Floor Plans”.
The Drawbotics 3D floor plans bring together two of my greatest loves: procrastinating by creating opulent yet impractical buildings in The Sims, and procrastinating by ploughing through an entire season of a TV show in a weekend.
And from a marketing perspective, it does something many brands try – and fail – to do: sell you a product without you even thinking about it.
Drawbotics’ 3D floor plans of seven of TV’s most famous offices are what you get when you combine countless hours of marathon TV-viewing with over 200 hours of modelling work. They include advertising agency Sterling Cooper of Mad Men fame, and everyone’s favourite NYPD precinct from Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
So, what makes this great B2B content?
Firstly, this isn’t out-and-out marketing – which is refreshing – but it does function as a truly excellent showcase of one of the company’s premium services. Each floor plan is an example of the “Shoebox”: a 3D model of an office, shop or home, which companies can commission to show off their new developments before they’re committed to concrete. As you scroll through the blog, you’re learning about the product without even having to think about it.
It’s all in the detail
Let’s not forget, the good folks of Drawbotics not only dedicated over 200 hours of extracurricular 3D work to this project – they also had to sit through some telly of… shall we say… variable quality. (That first season of Parks and Rec was a little rough around the edges.)
And that commitment is entirely the point.
When I was building my houses in The Sims, the most important thing was the detail inside. The wallpaper, the soft furnishings, even the light fixtures had to be perfect. I used to have so much custom content installed that it took ten minutes for my game to boot. I even had a dedicated folder of carefully curated clutter. Clutter.
The Drawbotics floorplans aren’t just accurate and hyper-detailed; they have loads of easter eggs scattered around the offices for eagle-eyed fans to find, with a couple signposted in the description for the less observant. Notice little details such as Captain Holt’s pride flag from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Leslie Knope’s framed photo of Hillary Clinton from Parks and Recreation, and Harvey Specter’s array of signed basketballs from Suits – and that’s just at a glance. It’s encouraging – and rewarding – engagement on a deeper level than simply scanning the blog, muttering “Huh. Neat.” and going about your day.
Plus, if they’re putting this much work into a side project, it’s probably a fair bet they’ll make the effort for their everyday work, too. And really, what’s a better advertisement for your work ethic than that?
Sharing is caring
These floor plans are something that B2B content sometimes attempts (but usually fails) to be: a bit of fun. And, it’s topical. The past few years have been absolutely dominated by streaming television and the normalisation of sitting on your couch for days at a time, letting autoplay plan your weekend for you.
Water cooler conversations are now less “did you see last night’s episode?” and more “did you watch the entirety of this 22-episode season that dropped less than a week ago?”
Drawbotics’ blog is excellent sharing fodder – it’s fun, easy to digest and tastefully zeitgeist-y. It’s tapping into a corner of cultural phenomenon-based marketing that, for once, isn’t Game of Thrones or Stranger Things.
It’s a subtler, less tenuous way of using pop culture to sell a product. It’s proof that, as marketers, we don’t need to beat the listicle format further into submission with yet another “Five things the battle for the Iron Throne can teach you about competitive takeout campaigns”. (It’s just a chair made of swords, anyway. It can’t be comfortable.)
Welcome to the Hall of Fame
As Drawbotics joins the hallowed digital halls of excellent B2B content, you can meet our other inductees here.