Sometimes the simplest ideas can have the biggest impact. And while we at Corduroy Media certainly believe that’s true, we also know that in video production simplicity requires precision, planning, and a high level of creativity to really work. In other words, while the concept itself may be simple, the execution of original branded content is sometimes anything but that.
One example of the kind of impactful simplicity we’re talking about here is a project we did for Medallia, a big player in the customer experience (CX) management space. At Corduroy Media, we’ve been creating and producing videos for Medallia since 2013, and have so far partnered with them on countless video projects – from client testimonials to brand films. With the #GenCX video, they wanted us to give them something edgy that would have the power to quickly capture the attention of the thousands of people in attendance at their 2016 annual conference.
The creative concept
The seed idea that we pitched was this: a poet challenges the audience to join the winning team and make CX a priority. We then use a montage of images spliced in for texture, emphasis, and maximum impact.
Sounds basic enough, right?
Sure it does. But like we said above, the execution of such a simple idea has to be outrageously creative and precisely planned-out frame-by-frame.
And here’s the thing to remember:
When we say Medallia is a big player in the CX management space, we mean a really really big player. Their customer roster includes Mercedes-Benz USA, Shell Oil Company, PayPal, Hilton, American Express, Nordstrom, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and hundreds more brands you’ve most certainly heard of. In fact, at their Experience 2015 annual conference, one speaker noted that the value of the organizations represented in the room totaled over $4-trillion.
We’re talking major – Big League players. And these were the very same people whose attention we’d need to capture.
Before we get into the details of how the #GenCX video came together, if you haven’t seen the video, we recommend that you take a second (or rather 1 minute and 48 seconds) to check it out below. Then come back and we’ll tell you how we did it.
We talked about scriptwriting last week. This particular script, however, was done more collaboratively with the client than usual. Medallia’s in-house writer, Andrew Nunnelly and creative director Brynn Haynam had some great ideas, and as we bounced the script back and forth a couple of times, it just kept getting better and better.
We often use a variety of different casting agencies in and around the Bay Area for our video projects, but for our main character in this video, we decided we wanted to cast an actual poet. So we put our feelers out to some of our friends at the non-profit, Youth Speaks, who introduced us to Michael Wayne Turner III, a local poet who turned out to be the perfect fit.
Although we did find Lollie Ortiz, the woman who played grandmother character, through a casting agency, she was the only one. Both the runner and “the guy in the corner office” (as we like to call him) are Medallia employees who were happy to come along for the ride. Talk about client commitment! Even the kids in the video were borrowed from a Medallia employee.
Not only did we capture all the shots of the poet (both with and without his props) in our video production studio in Oakland, but we shot many of the other images in the video there as well. These images included: the dry ice on the scales (a one-take-only opportunity, and a messy one at that), the snipping of the coupons, and the cutting of the cord (another shot that we were lucky to get because the knife broke on the first take). The studio is also where we shot footage of the images projected on the poet’s body.
Our Oakland studio is where some of the magic happens, but not all of it. For the Medallia #GenCX video, in addition to the studio footage we captured, we also spent a day shooting on-location around the Bay Area, including inside the home of Lollie Ortiz, inside the Medallia office building in Palo Alto, on a street in the Sunset District in San Francisco, and in a park in Berkeley. What a day that was!
Most of the stock footage we used here (cityscape, time-lapse, train) was our own. As a San Francisco video production company, we consider ourselves lucky to have such a range of diverse images available in the Bay Area, and we make it a point to capture footage everywhere we go. But sometimes, we require footage that we don’t have in our own collection. In that case, we purchase stock footage from elsewhere, which we did with the airplane and data footage in this video. The car-crushing shot is stock, too, but because we used it to emphasize the part in the script where the poet says, “We brought down the taxi industry,” our editor changed one of the cars to taxi-yellow in order to drive home the point.
If you go back and take a look at the video again, you may notice that there’s no music. This made the sound design even more important than it might have otherwise been. In order for our images to have maximum impact, we had to add in the sound with precision. This includes traffic noises in the city shots, the crunching of metal in the car-crush scene, footsteps in the grass while the runner runs, and crowd cheers when the lights come up on the trophy.
It sounds like a lot, right? It was, and we loved every second. Plus, it did the job of capturing the attention of Medallia’s conference attendees—just like we knew it would – you could hear a pin drop when the video was over. Capture the audience’s attention? Check!
Because awesome is what we do.
At Corduroy Media, we’re serious about outrageous creativity and precise execution. Whether edgy or conservative, simple or complex, we go for maximum impact with every project. It’s part of what keeps our clients coming back to partner with us year after year after year.