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Storytelling with data

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Telling stories using data – with Sir Ranulph Fiennes in the Sahara

Part of our mission is to look for new and interesting ways of telling stories, connecting with the audience and generating public engagement – for example, storytelling with data.

Fieldcraft Studios ‘Ventures’, are our research and design (R&D) projects.

Our R&D projects mean we can put our ideas into practice and then use the knowledge to benefit our clients.

Running a storytelling campaign in the Sahara desert

We have been commissioned to run the digital and media campaign for Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ Marathon des Sables challenge live from the Sahara Desert.

It is the perfect opportunity to test ways of telling stories with data generated by wearable technology.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes body tells the story

Described as, ‘the hardest footrace on earth,’ competitors taking part in the Marathon des Sables are exposed to 50°C, have limited food and water and have to run a total distance of 156 miles.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, described as the world’s greatest living explorer, is well known for pushing his body to extremes.

This makes the Sahara the perfect place to measure and capture how his body will respond to the environment. 

Gathering storytelling data in the desert

We fitted Ran with a Garmin watch and chest heart rate monitor.

We weighed him every morning and manually tracked his calorie intake and water intake.

Because our film and stills cameras track GPS coordinates we were able to log his route through the desert and then match our photographs and film to the data.

Creating an interactive story dashboard

We wanted to create an interactive dashboard that would tell the stories with the data and allow the audience to experience and explore the conditions in the Sahara as Sir Ranulph was.

Creative collaboration to tell stories with data

We partnered with the Media Innovation Studio at Lancaster University, who built the dashboard, and the sports science department at Kingston University,  where Ranulph Fiennes had trained in the heat chamber prior to flying to the Sahara.

Our dashboard showed Sir Ranulph’s vital statistics alongside a visual mapping tool enabling the audience to experience the Marathon des Sables.

We also included a daily diary entry written by Dr Hannah Moir and Chris Howe, from Kingston University. They gave their scientific perspective on how Ranulph Fiennes’ body was responding to the challenge.

Innovative storytelling drives more press coverage

By telling stories with data we were able to create an innovative piece of embeddable content.

This allowed Fieldcraft Studios to generate more press coverage as the Telegraph published the dashboard online.

Telling stories with data - Sir Ranulph Fiennes Fieldcraft Studios
Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ dashboard – this was featured in coverage by The Telegraph bringing a further audience to the project. A staggering 75% of all UK adults saw our coverage.

Read the full ‘Marathon des Sables with Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ case study.

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