So, we’re f’ing GOING FOR IT this year. Just an insane amount of amazing work flowing through these doors, across all 4 aspects of the company (for those of you who are counting, 1) design/branding, 2) web/interactive, 3) film/video, and 4) strategy tying it all together). And an absolutely amazing, talented, passionate team that’s formed over the past couple of years. I mean, we’re all losers according to the cool kids in high school. Let’s not forget that, we suck. But it’s like a gang or something. Motley and unruly, pushing forward like a bat out of hell, constantly trying to one up each other and the work we did last year, last month, and last week.
All we’ve really had time to do is periodically add new work to the Work section of the site (so go there to see some new stuff from time to time) and post on the socials. Anything else, like blog entries, email blasts, press releases, etc just seem to get in the way at this point.
Or don’t. We get it, you’re busy and it’s too much to ask. But we’d prefer if you did, because, as mentioned above, we’re losers and crave your validation.
We’d been hearing rumblings of the Bones Brigade film from a few different sources. It was the type of project that only comes your way if it’s meant to – something so special that it picks you, not the other way around. So last year our good friends at Topspin Media informed us that they were going to be helping Stacy release and market the film, and they wanted us to come on board to help develop all of the creative and interactive assets around the film, as well as help come up with the marketing plan, there was only one answer.
To us, this film wasn’t just another documentary. Just another project. Everything that came out of the Bones Brigade – the skating, the fierce competitiveness, the mindset, the artwork, the fresh approach, and the disruptive nature of everything they put out – was fused so deeply into our blood it’s undeniable. This was essentially where it all started for us. Both directly through our fascination with Powell-Peralta, the Bones Brigade, and the artwork and ads they put out, but also indirectly through all of the other skate company artwork, branding and ads that were born out of them.
So, not only were we dying to work on this project, but we were also deathly afraid of getting it. The expectations were high. Not everyone can just take this type of project – one with such a rich history of groundbreaking and trendsetting design and branding elements – and get it right. You have to have lived and breathed it – you have to not only know where it came from, but also the why and how. It’s that unspoken fact of skate culture as a whole – you either get it, or you don’t.
So, when we found ourselves sitting across from Stacy Peralta for the first time as he interviewed us to really see if we did “get it” and were the right creative agency to take on such a special project for him, we were filled with equal parts excitement and fear.
We focused on taking the original assets and both turning them into something entirely new, but that at the same time felt entirely part of the legacy. This involved using original assets in a new way in the logo, packaging, and promotional materials we designed, as well as creating authentic online experiences like the initial Animal Chin “Have You Seen Him?” awareness campaign and the Instagram-based (because skate, and the Bones Brigade themselves, live on Instagram) engagement campaign. This involved understanding the messaging and knowing it couldn’t be a sales pitch. It had to be authentic through and through.
See, this project epitomizes the absolute need to get it right from a branding and design perspective, and the need to integrate all of the elements so it feels completely cohesive. If we didn’t get it right – if it didn’t feel authentic to the core, it would be discarded by the culture as a fake immediately. The stakes were high when we found ourselves digging through the archives with Stacy, George Powell, and the rest of the SkateOne team. It had to be right.
And this isn’t true just for the Bones Brigade. It’s the approach we take with every project, but unfortunately not the approach everyone takes. It’s amazing how many great films, albums, and brands fail because they don’t get this right. If it’s not authentic – if the proper attention isn’t paid to the details and the culture that surrounds the project or entity – it’s just going to smell. Some people will see it and instantly know why, others won’t really understand why, but subconsciously it just won’t feel right and they’ll reject it.
I think this is what most people who don’t do what agencies like ours do for a living truly don’t understand. Branding, design, marketing – if it’s not authentic – if it doesn’t speak to the audience from a core place – it’s dead in the water. If we had tried to take this film and develop a new “current” look, glossed it up, or had we just scratched the surface of the Powell-Peralta and Bones Brigade artwork legacy without immersing ourselves in it completely, it would have been rejected by the masses immediately. Same as if we had developed some cookie cutter interactive campaigns because it’s what’s trendy or what the “social media marketing pros” tell you to do. And not just by the core skate culture that is it’s base, but also by the collective society as a whole because it just wouldn’t have been “right”.
This was an amazing project. Both a success from artistic and culture perspectives, as well as financial and independent ownership ones. If you haven’t seen the film, do yourself a favor. And if you want to take a deep dive beyond the artwork and branding, into the full breakdown of the interactive and direct-to-fan campaigns – complete with dollar amounts and nerdy analytics – go check out Bob’s blog post on the Topspin Media blog. It’s pretty insane.
Thanks again to Topspin Media, Stacy Peralta, George Powell, and the entire SkateOne team for trusting us with such an amazing piece of skate history. We’re forever indebted to you for the opportunity.
To say our first full week of 2013 back in the studio has been busy is an understatement. If this is how the rest of 2013 goes, we’re in for some serious fun.
Today we launched an amazing project we’ve been working on through the holidays for Ke$ha – the official video for C’Mon, her 2nd single off of Warrior (which we’ve done all of the design, video and interactive work around, for those keeping score). This thing is so much fun, directed by co-founder Darren Craig and produced by Jonathan Craven, and we’re so proud of how this turned out. If you couldn’t tell. And Ke$ha looks amazing.
Then yesterday, we launched a countdown to new music from Justin Timberlake. You may have heard something about it – it was trending worldwide on Twitter for most of the morning yesterday and I think every press outlet known to man picked up the story. This is something we’ve been quietly working behind the scenes on for over a year now and to finally see all of the pieces come together is incredible. Amazing team, and so much greatness coming once that countdown hits zero.. Yesterday’s launch drove over 1M pageviews in 15 hours – it was huge.. and once that countdown hits zero… oh man.
Some great press on Forbes that mentions “..the slickness of his new site” can be found here. Oh, and you can basically check out other press on the countdown and Justin’s return to music.. well.. everywhere.
So, if that wasn’t enough in the last 48hr, we’ve also had our hands full with finishing the new Blake Shelton lyric video for “Sure Be Great If You Did”. Another great collaboration with Laban Pheidias on this one and shot at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. We love pushing the limits on what can be done on these lyric video budgets.
Oh, and we also did this crazy lyric video in collaboration with Chad Goei from Glowgun for Itch‘s “London Is Burning” that was just launched today as well. As it says in the description, “This lyric video is an amalgamation of Itch’s “London” filtered through the lens of Darren Craig’s cough syrup induced hallucinations and Chad Goei’s psychotic graphic madness. In short, it’s like an aural and visual apocalypse in which a dude from the UK is force fed industrial strength bath salts and set on fire… with a backbeat.”
On top of all of that, we’ve also expanded. Our merchandise partners Firebrand Live are staying in our beloved Echo Park space, but with both of us in there, we totally outgrew it. So, we’ve moved a block down the road to the old Dangerbird Records building in Silver Lake. Dangerbird is still here and owns the complex, but we’ve taken over the big building on the corner and are in the process of moving in and setting up as we speak.
Check out these images from the architect’s (Barbara Bestor) site when the space was initially completed for Dangerbird (we’ll have our own shots with all of our changes up soon):
Then there’s everything else we’re working on in the coming weeks. Interactive stuff for Local Natives; a concert film, videos, design and interactive work for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club; interactive stuff for LL Cool J; more top secret stuff for Justin Timberlake; more videos for Itch; lots of Red Bull Records interactive; lots of RFPs; Greg Ipp is joining our dev team; Jeff will be at Sundance next week and we’re also putting something fun together for SXSW; atVenu, our touring merchandise inventory and SoundScan reporting app, is on fire; our partnership with Eyes & Ears Entertainment is going to new levels; we’re exploring StageBloc as a new preferred platform (in addition to WordPress and other Open Source Frameworks) for site builds; tour visuals for Alicia Keys and Ke$ha; much more in the film/video world; and it keeps going.. welcome to 2013!
Let’s do some cool shit together! Hit us up if you have a project. Let’s roll.
Finally, a secret we’ve been keeping for months.. BRMC’s new album is coming in March! Full details can be found on the BRMC Blog.
We’re stoked to once again be working with these guys on all things creative and digital. Some really great stuff coming, from the album package to merch designs, new site, interactive projects, videos, you name it. And let us be the first to tell you (well, you already know if you caught any of the 3 shows in CA at the end of 2012) – the new songs are AMAZING. Going to be a big year for these guys, we can feel it.
We’re so stoked for Stacy Peralta, Bones Brigade, SkateOne, Topspin, and the rest of the team working on the Bones Brigade Documentary! This is a great article on the front page of the LA Times Calendar section breaking down the marketing and sales of the film. Things are still going, and would couldn’t be happier for the success here.
We were trusted early on to go through the Powell-Peralta archives and develop the core branding for the film, as well as all of the packaging, promotional collateral, interactive campaigns, web builds, and technology integrations. It’s been a great partnership with Topspin and the entire Bones Brigade / SkateOne team.