Video Marketing Success Story: 3D Animation + Whiteboard Animation = SmartSource

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Wanna know what makes for a great video marketing project and effort?  Here are 3 ways to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. My visit to the Video Marketing Success Story podcast revealed some great tips as we discussed our work with SmartSource.  (For an in-depth dive into the project, take a read of the transcript at the bottom of the blog.)

  • Have a great client or customer willing to try anything or at least go along for the ride with you.  Sure, that’s easier said than done. You rarely get to pick and choose your clients or to determine how creative and open they are.  But when you get a sense that they’re along for the ride and they appreciate the creativity you bring to the table, feel free to stretch the limits.
  • Keep your storytelling creative and unique.  It’s easy to fall into a trap of listing a company’s value propositions in bullet-pointed lists.  But it’s always best to find a way to go beyond the mundane.
  • Creating a new world or new visual style is difficult but profoundly worth it.  Think your client will have trouble getting on board with the concept? Present it with clarity and passion and you’ll be amazed how often they jump on board.  After all, you’re displaying a passion for their product – and you practically just met!  

At Rip Media Group, we offer some great resources to help answer key video marketing questions and even help with your production, whether you hire us or not.  

If you want more information or to see samples, check out

Video Transcription for the Podcast:

ANDY: Welcome to Video Marketing Success Stories.  I’m Andy Glickman, your host. Each week we take a look at news from the video marketing world and talk with some key players in the industry to get their take on what makes things work and various pitfalls to avoid. 

We like to talk about some past projects, current projects and even some future projects with some video marketing folks. Today we have founder and CEO of Rip Media Group, one of the top video marketing production companies in the area, Mr. Mauy Rogow. Maury, thank you for joining us today.

MAURY: Happy to be here as always. Thanks for having me again.

ANDY: No problem. We’ve talked in recent weeks about a lot of interesting past clients and styles as well. It’s also something I like to focus on, not just the client necessarily but the styles that you guys bring to the table. And one client from the past that really stuck out to me that I thought was really interesting is the SmartSource video that you guys did a while back. It really created a dynamic visual world.

There was a little bit of hand-drawn animation with some 3D. It was this really interesting mix of styles, and I was wondering if you could not only talk about that but talk about how you got the client to say, “Yeah, that’s what we should do.”

MAURY: Yeah that’s not always an easy thing. Every client’s different. Some have a real precise way they want to do things. Others are very open, and some say, “I’ll let you know when I see it because I don’t know yet.”

So you come across different things. So the idea is, and I heard this thing a long time ago. Basically if you’re an actor, you act; if you’re a writer, you write; and if you’re a creator, you create. So what I just said has never been a problem because my team and I are pure creators. We’ll keep coming up with ideas. Don’t worry about that. We’ll come up with new ideas, new concepts, new pitches, new stories all the time.

Different ways to tell a great story to get an audience to do something, to take action. So that type of customer is a lot of fun to work with. But let me answer your question directly which is how did we get connected to these folks. Actually it was through the American Marketing Association. 

The AMA had a webinar and I was the guest host. It’s one of these things, you get about a half an hour and you walk through a presentation. It’s not supposed to be a sales pitch. You really have to put some value out there. So I talked a lot about the steps in a production cycle, the steps in finding a great partner and the great things that happen when you tell a great story: the results, the engagement that’s higher. 

You have to engage people in three different ways. There’s the auditory learners, there’s the visual learners and then there’s the kinetic or emotional learners. So any time that you go to a movie, we’re probably gonna remember if it’s a good movie and we like it we’re gonna remember more details about that then some bullet point lists.

So I gave examples of that during this webinar, and afterwards this company reached out and said, “We’d really like your help telling our brand story in a different way than we’ve done in the past.” I think, like a lot of companies, they went out and they over the past whatever 10 years went out and got the cameras and did little interviews and things like that on site, but they’re not that engaging to people. So they really wanted to do something that was very visually different but really tell a story.

So we got to chatting about how we would do that and how we go through our process and it really worked out. They really loved the way we do things. So we got engaged and to be married, meaning we put an agreement together to go and build a batch of assets and a bunch of stories and start executing on these stories and create them in the videos that they would be able to use to get more business. But not do it in a really obvious list format way, but to do it through telling a story.

ANDY: As it relates to the visuals, how would you define this? It’s such a melding of different worlds in terms of the art creation. It’s obviously some kind of drawn art. They’re not pictures of people, but the way they’re layered is also not your typical 2D animation.

MAURY: So I like to call this world a whiteboard animation 3D world. There’s not many of these out there. That works for you?

It’s very different. It’s hand-drawn. Hand-sculpted and crafted by our artists, but then instead of just being this 2D where you see the pencil drawing things on, what we did is we actually put it into layers so you’ll see some really cool camera movements.

So the way it works with 3D is you actually build the characters. You build them in 3D models, so front, quarter, side, back, etc. So a camera can move the whole way around a figure, a character, anything that’s in there, and you get the full 3D view rather than 2D, which is just flat. There’s only really one side.

So once you build the world you then have a virtual camera that moves through the world and can catch lots of different angles. So that’s what we decided to do with this. Create this whiteboard, muted out, not high color like motion graphics, muted color like it’s really on canvas. But then move through the world with the camera. 

And what they really wanted to do was show this whole list of services. So they have a lot of things that they do and as they said, they weren’t really able to tell a story that was engaging just having, “Did you know that we do this? And we do this at trade shows and we lay the cable and we put the LCD screens up and we help the speaker get miked up so he can speak to 10,000 people” or whatever.

So we thought with a few different pitches, why don’t we just follow one person – that speaker – that’s gonna go through an entire Convention Center, pass by everything that this company does. As he takes note of it, we’re doing an over-the-shoulder shot. 

So you see this in movies a lot, you don’t even get a character reveal like if you think back to the beginning of Back to the Future, you know Robert Zemeckis and Michael J. Fox, you saw him skateboarding for the first minute or two of the movie and had no idea who it was. And actually, sorry, total sidebar — it wasn’t Michael J. Fox’s feet, it was the other actor that they had hired, and after a few days, they said, “You know what? We gotta switch,” so they pulled him out and they put Michael J Fox in, so it wasn’t even his feet on the skateboard.

But anyway, in this case we had the camera go through and we had people at work, and as the people are working you see these 3D banners pop up and show what they’re doing as we’re telling this story. So he moves through an office, which moves through the trade show floor, then it moves to the backstage of this big stage set up. You see this really cool 3D turn, and then an even better 3D turn where we finally get the reveal of our main character. Now we find out he’s the main speaker on stage at this big conference.  And that all happens in this whiteboard world where we’re using 3D animation.

ANDY: And I would assume, as is always the case, a client has their input, their take on it as we’ve discussed many times.  Sometimes it’s a little counter to the way things are being done or the way you want to do things. Was there much resistance? I would just think that this is so creative and so interesting for what they do that you would think that they embraced it the whole way and that the road was paved with golden and beautiful daisies.

MAURY: Well when you’re creating something new, which this is because we had no real reference point — we didn’t say, “Hey we did a video just like this” or “Look over here, there’s a video just like this.” This is a whole new world that we created. It’s difficult for a customer that’s not working in the visual or creative arts to really understand how this is gonna look. So it wasn’t like there was resistance, it wasn’t like the path was paved with gold like you’re saying: “Yes please, go ahead. Just don’t even bother talking to us. Do what you want.” Or, on the other side where there was resistance at every spot.  It wasn’t either one of those.

It was really a customer that really wants to do the best for their brand and wants to make sure that it’s gonna look right, look like them, but a better version. I actually saw this quote the other day that I thought was so wonderful which is, thinking of their customers: “Customers don’t buy your product – they buy a better version of themselves.” So we wanted to have this customer SmartSource be the best version of themselves and show the best version of their customers that they could. That’s why we have everybody in here happy, happily working, going through this is non-stress because SmartSource removes all the stress out of these big, very stressful trade show setups and all this kind of thing.

So they just wanted to make sure that they were represented well and we wanted the exact same thing for them. I think we did that and we accomplished that with not just a few style frames, but we actually took the style frames and we did some animation tests and showed them what this new wall would look like. You know, five or ten seconds to make sure they gave us the thumbs-up. And when they saw it they really liked it a lot.

ANDY: That’s great.  Well it’s a wonderful lesson for how creativity can rule the day for any video marketing company and also for clients.  We all certainly hope that everybody who engages in video marketing can embrace creativity and embrace a side of themselves that they didn’t know they had, embrace capabilities that they didn’t know they had, and that our clients can say, “Wow, we never thought of it that way. We never thought it would look that way but we sure like that it does.” And I think for SmartSource, the team at Rip Media Group did a great job. So kudos to you and to your team.  Thank you very much for sharing. 

That is all the time we have for today’s episode of Video Marketing Success Stories. Once again I want to thank my guest, CEO and founder of Rip Media Group, Maury Rogow.  Thank you, Maury. And to all our listeners out there, you can take a look at the link for the SmartSource video and we’ll also provide some contact information if you want to reach out to Maury and his team at Rip Media Group with any questions or interesting thoughts that you have for your company.

So Maury, do you have any resources you could recommend to our listeners that they can check out, either through your website or some other way?

MAURY: Sure absolutely, there’s some great resources that we put together out there. So three that come to mind really quick. One is The Video Bot – bot like robots. The Video Bot helps people make their own videos in seconds, and it’s a resource that we’ve been using really successfully.

So if you want to get back in touch with that lead, the person that hasn’t gotten back in touch with you, or you just want to do some outreach or even wish somebody happy birthday, happy holidays, there are videos sitting in there waiting for you to personalize. You can literally do it in seconds and send it out and there.  It’s free for the first time. So that’s a great resource.   

Second, this creates the salesperson that never sleeps, and this was actually compiled from all the frequently asked questions we’ve had over the years from different customers of ours, so we put all those FAQ’s together and turned it into a scorecard and a way to create your own best video marketing message and just mark messages.

So it’s a free download. It’s a workbook, like six pages, nothing too laborious. It won’t take you a year to go through, maybe a few minutes or half an hour. You’ll have a great roadmap for what you should be setting up as far as your company’s best story. So that is creating the salesperson that never sleeps.

And then the last thing is ways to promote your video or your story. That infographic is the 11 best ways to promote your video and your story and I’ll give you a link.

So those are the three things I can think of quickly. Happy to share more if you hit us up on our website.

ANDY: Great thank you. Thank you for joining us on Video Marketing Success Stories. I’m Andy Glickman your host with Maury Rogow, CEO and founder of Rip Media Group. If you want more information on Rip Media Group check them out at Rip Media Group dot com. You can see samples of their work and check out their blogs for even more tips. Thank you and have a great day.