Here’s what happens when data-driven strategy, targeted social media, a great client, and unhinged creativity have a big ol’ weird party.
First we thought about the perfect audience for a mattress brand: people who aren’t sleeping well. How could we tell? Data usage reveals people up late on their mobile phones. What night are they up the latest? Sunday nights. Why? Well, according to our idea, people aren’t sleeping on Sunday nights because of the Sunday Scaries, that feeling of dread you get when your weekend is over and the next day is Monday.
So we partnered with comedians Tim & Eric to make a 6 episode mini-series and guided meditation podcast to help people get better sleep, and then made 72 (re)targeted social media assets to help Purple sell mattresses. Over the course of the 12 week campaign, we sold multiple millions of dollars of Purple product. I know, we could hardly believe it ourselves. I guess Branded Content and eComm can co-exist after all. See our process in the case study.
How to activate a youth audience disenchanted with TV award shows? Relinquish control and give them the keys to our campaign. First, we turned our entire media buy into green screens. Then we let people download all our VMA assets for free and make whatever they wanted. "Share it on your feed and we might use it," we said. Two weeks later, fans' social media had effectively become VMA media, and we swapped out every single green screen for a piece of fan-made art as thanks. Case study is the first video.
Cannes Lions x4 (1 Gold Cyber, 3 Silver). One Show Pencil x3. Clios x3. Webby x2. ANDY x1. etc.
At their best, the VMAs are a platform for creative self-expression and true artistic freedom. So it only made sense the campaign should give VMA artists the freedom to make it their own too.
We launched with an ode to a blank canvas --directed by Anthony Mandler and voiced by Swizz Beatz-- and sent personalized handbooks to the VMA artists asking for a Pantone color and some words. Then, MTV curated and commissioned visual artists to bring their words and color to life with the VMA artists serving as auteurs the whole way through.
Lo and behold, the VMA artists took interest, ownership and authorship that had the pieces traveling as far as their millions upon millions of followers shared them. The VMAs began to be associated with authentic artistic content before the artists ever took the stage.
Was also strangely instrumental in helping Ariana Grande win a Guinness World Record.
Samsung asked us to launch AllShare, their answer to Apple Airplay, at CES in Las Vegas. They wanted the usual keynote presentation video. We gave them a short film about human connection screened on a custom stage controlled by the connection of Samsung devices. With best-in-class partners in B-Reel and Rock Paper Scissors, we built an interactive touch-enabled stage and edited a 3 minute piece for 26 individual screens. We didn't see a lot of daylight.
Oh. Also. Remind me to tell you the story about Frank Ocean.
Once upon an Altoids Q4 we found ourselves with no media buy and next to no production budget. But we did have carte blanche. So we used what we had and built what we didn't.
We wrote and designed paper tin liners that got free love on twitter and instagram, and then continued the story with animations that brought some liners to life. And we erected a virtual auction house on Tumblr full of DIY curiosities we constructed ourselves using antiques, oddities, and Altoids tins. All proceeds from the auction went to arts charities.
Three months later, Altoids online mentions were up 91% and an under-funded brand won more press, shares, and millions more earned impressions in one Q4 than the previous 3 years cooommmmbiiiiiiiiined!
Last vid is the case study.
How to demonstrate Carhartt Rain Defender works through any weather? With real people that do the same. Meet Enumclaw, Washington -the rainiest town in America- where we discovered an incredibly resilient and endearing community that's embraced rain as a way of life. Turns out Carhartt is a way of life up there too.
We created a connection strategy that existed entirely on social media with content driving rain-affected blue collar types to the Carhartt site. And where, instead of typical eCommerce product descriptions, we made the product stories into human stories as told by some of the more interesting people we met.
For National Equal Pay Day, we created a physical clock that posed the question, "If women only get paid 79% of what men make, what if they worked only 79% of the day?" We made hundreds of the clocks and sent them to influential women all over the country including the US Women's Soccer team and the First Lady herself. And, based on the math, we created a site with a calculator where women could determine the exact time they should stop working based on their work hours and race and share it to their social feeds.
MTV x Party
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart's schedules only allowed for a 2 hour TV and still photo shoot. But we still needed a press-worthy idea that could announce they were hosting the Movie Awards and give us a ton of content to play with for the weeks leading up to the show. Enter: The MTV Real-Time Teleprompter Livestream Event. A social-media powered teleprompter gave Dwayne & Kevin movie-inspired prompts to riff on in front of 10 livestreaming phones streaming to 10 different livestream platforms. And then a momma-cam captured the whole thing so we could chop it up into TV spots and social content. The 40-minute livestream got an audience of over 4 million people from which we were able to make over 30 shorter pieces of content. First video is the case study.
Watch the full 40 minute livestream here.
Crocs had big global plans. Which was weird because they made the world's worst-looking shoe. This idea turned a super polarizing negative into a symbol of unconditional love. It won the business and then won over the hearts of foot owners and foot fetishists alike. In the 3+ years this has been the brand's global platform, Crocs stock tripled. I swear, there's a graph that proves it.
MTV logo idents have been a creative rite of passage for the art & design community for almost 4 decades. But how to evolve a 2D tradition into the 3rd Dimension for a new breed of 21st century mixed media artist? We partnered with toy studio Mighty Jaxx in Singapore to make a blank DIY vinyl toy and created a short documentary franchise of brand stories as told by artist stories.
Artists in order of appearance:
DirecTV needed a short-run campaign for Q2 partnerships with the Kentucky Derby and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. It wasn't rocket science. We put supermodel Hannah Davis and a horse on a beach, put Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement in a recording booth, and voila! 6 spots, a Behind the Scenes short for the Swimsuit Issue, and a few famous cameos online and on-air during the Kentucky Derby featuring our buddy Horse.
Google wanted something made in the holiday spirit. We gave them a film about a man in need of a little help and a new Google product that was up to the task. 5 million views in the 5 days leading up to Christmas, we like to think we helped set the mood.
Conceived, scripted, creative directed, and oversaw production of the 2016 MTV Upfront. The idea was to create a post-modern pop-art trade show on MTV drugs, a not-so-subtle satire of the whole concept of media networks selling selling media to media buyers. But instead of the traditional sit-down upfront presentation, we created an experience that got the audience reaching for their phones. Car show turntables, booths representing different properties and shows, an MTV mall that invited drunk people to shoplift, and a performance by Kendrick Lamar, it was self-aware salesmanship with a big ol' MTV smile.
MTV x Julio Himede Productions
The idea was to have this spot run at the end of a commercial break during the Super Bowl. Then the live broadcast would finish the spot by cutting to the horses running out onto the actual field. Deemed "too macho" at the 11th hour, client went with the puppy and the homecoming soldier instead. It eventually went on to pump up soccer fans for the US team's run during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
It's the most popular game in America but kids aren't playing it as much. We used the NFL's first big moment of 2015 --the Draft-- to remind the country that football's lessons teach more than football. And for many of the million+ kids that do play, football is a force of good. After the TV spot ran during the draft, a social media plan told deeper singular stories.
As part of Look Different's campaign around gender bias issues, these animated shorts set out to bust some common gender norms that have permeated culture. Voiced by Kal Penn, Ana Marie Cox, and Hot 97's own Nessaaaaaaa!
MTV Look Different x And - Or Studios
We built three twitter 'n arduino-powered torture machines inspired by the Samsung Series 9. Each of which allowed nerds to #rethink their allegiances and destroy other laptops in the spirit of a different S9 spec: #rethinkpower, #rethinkspeed, and #rethinksize. Made specifically to generate earned media, the site blew up so fast that it was pulled after one day for fear of another Apple suit. True story.
Confronted with the usual challenges of a TV network in the 21st century and typical Viacom volatility, a lot of people thought it was time to run a big reaffirming and reassuring MTV brand anthem that proclaimed our relevance. So we didn't. Instead, we got self-aware, surreal, and silly. And unlike most other brand "anthems", we only spoke the truth, even at our own expense.
MTV x Ghostrobot
While most all 2016 election coverage opted for sensationalism and big names, we decided to talk about the issues instead of the politicians. For the 6 months leading up to the election, we launched a daily dialogue on-air and online with content meant to inform, promote discussion, and incite passion around the stuff that really matters.
AirTran wanted to launch a new amenity in big fashion. So we asked people what they'd want on every flight and chronicled the whole thing on everyflight.com.
Everyflight.com grabbed text message and in-site suggestions in real-time, let people vote for each other, and made the results fun to look at. Around 300,000 people made suggestions in a month's time. Some even took it seriously, like Stephen Colbert and the Ashley Tisdale Fan Club.
A month later, one suggestion rose to the top of the heap and we got to work showing how it might play out at 30,000 feet.
This is what it looks like when a high-performance laptop brings your ideas to life. Had the pleasure of shooting with two dudes I'm a fan of: Film editor Angus Wall and music production wiz Amon Tobin.
MTV's Snapchat Discover channel is a phenomenal mobile content experience with a crazy big youth audience. We wanted a crazier bigger youth audience, so we let a credible source do all the talking.
Inspire NFL.com signups with fantasy's built-in social skills: If you can't talk fantasy with friends during football season, then what are you talking about?
Had the privilege of working on the iconic Corona Beach campaign before it "evolved". Shot some TV with Oscar-winning director Bennett Miller and created an immersive online beach experience with Big Spaceship honored by SXSW, Communication Arts, the FWA, Webby, NY Festivals, Taschen Books, and Pixel awards.
Starting 6 months before the 2016 Election, MTV Infographica informed and educated our audience almost daily on-air and online.
Llke motor oil and antifreeze, motor oil and antifreeze ads are all the same. We helped this small Chicagoland brand be different in tone and message even after they spent most of their budget on sponsoring Danica Patrick. Turns out she doesn't like bras or production assistants.
Here's a cool radio spot too.
Sometimes Key & Peele have some new characters they want to try out. Sometimes you come up with an idea they like. Sometimes you shoot, edit, and finish 8 spots in 24 hours. Sometimes Key&Peele are so funny they make your job easy.
Here's an idea, get the world's greatest and most lovable hypeman to hype up the VMAs a week out from the show. Existing solely on Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter either posted organically from the man himself or via social buys hyper-targeting the hip-hop community, these spots leveraged DJ Khaled's huge social footprint to travel farther and work harder/smarter than a TV campaign ever could.
How does a rum brand claim ownership of a generic cocktail? By declaring itself one half of a global phenomenon.
The feds in charge of emergency preparedness needed an idea that didn't isolate one region or type of disaster. So we found something everyone has in common when shit hits the fan. The feeling.
Little side project tracks what "God" is doing in real-time by scraping social media for people thanking him. Or Him. Whatever. Turns out this God guy is everywhere, making coffee extra delicious, helping people catch cabs, appearing as pretty clouds, etc. The site was written up in places like mashable and adweek.
Click here to go.
Young people aren't watching TV on TV as much anymore. But instead of fighting that fact, we encouraged it. The MTV App lets you get your MTV wherever and whenever you want. As long as you're watching, what do we care?
The goat's name was Crumbles. Crumbles. She was a good goat.
Other things I've made.
Before I typed keys for a living I played keys for a living as a freelance jazz pianist of sorts. Played with a lot people in a lot of places. Like two R.Kelly videos and the Jimmy Kimmel Show, for example. As for the white linen outfit and wearing sunglasses indoors, let's just say I was at the mercy of backstage stylists during the early Kanye years. It's cool to laugh.
"Inspired by high design, mass manufacturing, and a cultural obsession with online retail, ravioli has been a trusted purveyor of commodity fetishism since 2014."
--ravioli & co.