Year in Review
Or: I went to Disneyland this Summer and now everything seems somehow related to Big Mouse.
by Bobby Hougham & Sevrin Daniels | January 11, 2017
Last year was a rollercoaster! A rollercoaster in the dark that keeps you guessing which way you’re going to zip to next. Space Mountain gives you a bit of a heads up with its semi-illuminated rails, but 2017 never provided that most gentle kindness, and it certainly never gave us that James Bond inspired sci-fi soundtrack.
There were some incredible projects this year mostly focused on the entertainment side of things ranging from rebranding the Academy Awards (Oscars) for their 90th year to massive multi-screen, multi-location out of home and retail experiences in support of a blockbuster superhero movie (here’s a fans video showing some of the fun) to explainers for medical equipment and a slew of crazy large format animations featured in synchronized massive screens supporting the Unite 2017 presentations for Shopify. We helped redefine and launch the brand for American Idol at their new home on ABC and we had some fun with character animation for Amazon Prime as well as some incredible top-secret stuff I can’t wait to tell you about (check back in about 2 years).
Our year started out with an onslaught of pitches and bids which had us feeling not dissimilar from the prisoners in the familiar scene in Pirates of the Caribbean, trying to entice the dog sitting just out of reach with keys in mouth, (I’m sticking with my Disneyland theme; deal with it). Eventually that dog went for the steak and we got our keys to the project, and they just kept hitting. When we got busy, it was insanely busy, and busy requires headcount. We have increased our directors roster to include some fantastic new names you will absolutely want to work with and we added butts in seats to bolster our animation and design team.
Unfortunately, a favorite local lunch spot here, in the Pike Place Market closed down this year, but they had a bunch of custom built desks (not sure why) needing new homes, so… FACELIFT! Everyone gets a new desk at TNB!
We rebranded ourselves and developed a whole new website. It’s always tough considering your own work is the last thing you have time to do without mentioning that the hardest client is often yourself. It was an interesting process beginning with divorcing ourselves from the old brand which allowed us to look at the problem as objectively as possible.
Building a brand in a modern marketplace nowadays is more than a design challenge. A fresh perspective led by our partnership with CRRNT helped a ton and brought focus to the project. (Put three creative directors in a room and no guidance other than a design challenge and watch as nothing happens at light speed.)
We are firm believers in the Bad Idea. Growing up most of us were told there were no stupid questions, and while I understand the sentiment, I struggle with the acceptance of that in light of some of the questions I hear day to day. That sentiment however, informed a creative strategy that we employ to this day, we celebrate the Bad Idea.
There are loads of them, they happen all the time, and it’s easy to get caught laughing and dismissing them, however to dismiss them outright is to miss out on a ton of potential. A bad idea ricochets around a collaborative creative team causing different neurons to fire, it makes people think differently about the problem. Maybe something formerly serious when hit with the right Bad Idea becomes funny which makes something truly unique happen. We believe that Bad Ideas spawn brilliance.
That’s not to say that we take all ideas and run with them as they are, or that we even sit and refine them. We laugh at them, we ponder them, we explore them and allow them to roll around in our brains before coming back to the problem. Sometimes the brilliance is directly related to the Bad Idea, sometimes it was just an inspirational glancing blow that begets the winning idea.
Last year, we had a chance to work with some fantastic clients that have been fun and really contributed in the collaborative thing we’ve got going here. We love digging in on creative problems especially when our client is having just as much fun entertaining bad ideas as we do.
2018 is already running at full steam, we can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us and eager to see what client stories we can help tell. We hope you come along for the ride.
Pirates of the Caribbean has been my all-time favorite ride since early childhood. It has inspired my approach to life and helped form our creative philosophy here at The New Blank. The attraction to the ride isn’t due to the exciting drops and surprising turns, though that’s part of it, but mostly because it’s reliant on the collaboration formed with your personal imagination. It’s a ride or experience that gets better the more you bring to the table.
Bobby Hougham is the Executive Creative Director and Directs for The New Blank. Sevrin Daniels, Executive Creative Director, Producer, and Founding Partner, The New Blank co-authored the post. Views are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The New Blank though may be explained by a trip to Disneyland last summer.