2020 has been rough on all of us. It’s hard to focus on tasks. It’s hard to focus, period. And if you’re a small business owner struggling to survive in the era of Covid, it can feel like quicksand. We partnered with R/GA to create an anthem film for Mailchimp that pays respect to the resilient small business owners who are out there fighting through this madness and trying to keep their heads above water.
The anthem film, titled “Momentum”, is Mailchimp’s shout out to the small business community. It celebrates their stick - to - itiveness and their craftiness. It says, “We see you. We respect you.” It tries to inspire them to fight gravity and get back into the creative flow.
The story follows an eclectic cast of small business entrepreneurs who are faced with the daily blessing and curse of our contemporary hellscape: the dreaded ZOOM call. The enemy of momentum. The killer of creative flows. Da da duh.
But Mailchimp is here to tell them there’s hope. It’s going to work out. We’ll get to the other side of this and get back on our creative horse. The ideas will flow again.
The stills campaign was governed by a surrealist quality that the Mailchimpers dubbed “Expert Absurdist.” This visual landscape gave us free reign to run wild and let our own creative flow...well, flow into these fun, engaging illustrations. We hit a slew of small business concepts in these including: Audience, Business Growth, Insight, Momentum, and Email. And we tried to bring a whimsy and sense of humor to the whole enterprise.
The bedrock of this anthem film is portraiture. We wanted small business owners to feel ‘seen’ so we went with straightforward compositions — we are looking them square in the eye and they’re looking back at us. We also wanted these to have an immediacy and a non-precious quality to them so we used a loose style that felt like the doodles we do at the margins when we’re locked into an endless Zoom call.
And.... the dreaded zoom. The true enemy of serene concentration and creative flow. A lot of us have been here, where one’s train of thought is constantly re-routed, interrupted, and derailed.
Process & Exploratory
We didn’t arrive at this drawing style on day one. We took a long, winding, backwater road cluttered with chickens and stray dogs to get to where we ended up in the film. This exploratory process of unprecious, scratchy illustrations led us to some really bold and unexpected places. We just couldn’t help sharing it.
Same dog, different cat face. The exploratory for the stills campaign had its own special flavor to it. Instead of exploring different visual styles and languages, we turned on the “thumbnailing machine 2000”. This strange beast pumped out an array of quirky strange ideas up into the air, each one hoping to stick the landing.