Video Marketing Success Stories QnA: Ben and Jerry’s Textured Whiteboard Animation

Ben&Jerry's_Blog_Maury_Podcast_Whiteboard Animation

I have the pleasure of periodically appearing on a video marketing-focused podcast.  The interviewer asked several questions regarding one of our more popular videos. Below is an excerpt from that interview with pertinent links.  Let me know what you think!

HOST:  Welcome to Video Marketing Success Stories. My name is Andy Glickman. I’m your host. Each week we take a look at news from the video marketing world, talk with some key players in the industry to get their take on how to make things work and various pitfalls to avoid. Today we have with us Maury Rogow, founder and CEO of Rip Media Group, one of our frequent visitors and friends of the show. Marty, thank you. Welcome to the show.

MAURY: Thanks. Great to be here. I love talking to you about these projects that we’ve done and new ones that we’re gonna be working on. I always brings up new ideas and I appreciate you having me.

HOST: Last week we branched into an area of Rip Media Group where you guys had some higher end clients. We certainly like to embrace all clients that you have, and the other video marketing companies enjoy, but sometimes you land a big fish. And we’re always excited to hear about that. Last week we talked a little bit about LexisNexis, and I wanted to talk about a client that you had a few years ago that everybody knows, everybody recognizes, and I’m sure you guys were excited about landing: Ben and Jerry’s.  It was a very exciting video that you guys did for them, practically a history of Ben and Jerry’s. It was really interesting to watch. So I wanted to talk to you today about how you land a client like Ben and Jerry’s and then how you dive into the process of coming up with something that tells their story and obviously something that they liked.

MAURY:  Thank you for asking. So, like you, I respect every single one of our clients out there.  Without them, we don’t survive. We love helping companies clarify their value, what they deliver, and we flat our love our clients.

Yes, there are the enterprises or the regional customers that maybe the world hasn’t heard of, like Ben and Jerry’s or Comcast or Cisco who are our large customers. But if it wasn’t for all of those mid sized company marketers that are fighting and struggling to grow, we wouldn’t be here, so we love those folks. But those mid sized customers do take a look at those big marquee names on our website  and say, “You know what, we saw your work with Ben and Jerry’s…we see that you work with Comcast… and we know how difficult it can be to work with some of those huge customers that have these decision chains that are 15 people along…you know how precise you have to be with the branding,” so you can definitely work with us.

I feel like putting those big names out there and talking about them lets people know that aren’t Ben and Jerry’s.  It might be Bob and Joe’s ice cream shop. But they know, “Well, Rip Media Group, Maury Rogow, the gang there, they really do a good job with the big customers, so they’ll knock it out of the park with us.” And so that’s one of the reasons we like to talk about these guys, and I’m happy to talk about them and show their work as well as everybody’s work on our website.

HOST:  So take us back to when this came about that you even landed on their radar? 

MAURY:  It’s one of these amazing stories. So I was in San Francisco on a trip to visit family and we were going to a baseball game. I parked on the street and I look up and there’s an advertising agency logo right there. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve heard of those guys.” They’re well known for really edgy campaigns, really beautiful visuals, working with some really great clients, that kind of thing. 

It was in the back of my head, “Wow, that was neat. I’ve got to reach out and talk to those folks.” And this is one of those karma things. You know, we go to the game, have a good weekend. On Monday I get a phone call from somebody at that agency that said they had seen our work. Not me, not my car parked out there…they’d seen our work and they think that we would be a good fit for this project that they have because they get very, very busy. 

Even agencies that do beautiful work but they get overloaded sometimes or they hit points where there’s a style or a look that isn’t exactly right up their alley. So they asked if we could work with them and of course the answer was yes. Didn’t even know who the customer was at that point. But I said, “Yeah, we’d love to be able to work out a partnership with you.” ‘Cause we do a lot of work hand in hand with agencies and white label work with agencies depending on the relationship that they have with their customer. In this case, it turned out that they liked our work. We spoke back and forth. We talked about our vision for different projects and our steps in the production cycle and they thought it fit perfectly within how they operate. 

The next phone call was with their Creative Director and they finally told me the name of the account, and I almost jumped out of my socks. It was fantastic. We got to work with the company that focused on being good for the earth. These two guys that have done good things over their history. And then I find out this video is basically for their museum/manufacturing plant where they make all the ice cream, and they do tours and want to have a great experience and feel the history.

You’ll notice, as you walk into different museums, even the National Gallery in Washington DC, they have videos lining the walls that show you some history and tell you about who they are and how far they’ve come and why you’re standing in that spot.

So we went back and did some brainstorming with the really creative and smart people there. And we came up with this whole history of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream with a really unique look.  We got to work with Woody the Cow, their spokesperson. We actually put him into our pitch to them, with some graphics and we did a treatment deck. There was one of the lines we had where we said we were going to avoid using puns because that sort of humor is “udderly” ridiculous.” I just thought that was adorable. So we put that out there to them. They chose us and we started working on the project and it was really a great piece of work that’s worked for them nonstop for years with a few touch-ups and updates and things like that.

Treatments for Ben & Jerry’s

Treatments for Ben & Jerry’s_whiteboard animation

HOST: A lot of it I notice is very much in line with their brand style. Did they provide a lot of that look and feel in terms of assets or was that just something that you replicated in the design? 

MAURY: With Ben and Jerry’s and a lot of the bigger brands, they’re guidelines are very strict. So there are certain things, even with this particular cow, with the “Back to the Moo-ture” instead of “Back to the Future,” that cow can be in certain position, certain poses, it can wear certain types of clothing, cannot wear certain types of clothing, can wear a hat, can’t wear a hat, that kind of thing. 

They have really strict guidelines on their particular brand assets, but then the world around it, the world that exists was really up to us to create, to match their style, to make it look like their world.  If you take for example, Homer Simpson and you put him in a world of a Pixar movie, it’s going to look really odd. It’s not going to look like he belongs there at all. So they gave us the world around him. There are a lot of assets that they gave us. Some pictures and photos of their founders, of the manufacturing plant. But how to texturize them, how to light them, how to use the color, to make sure that their cow, their people, their look and feel fit into this world that we wanted to create was very much a happy challenge. So they gave us certain assets and we created the rest to really match and create this world for them.

Ben & Jerry’s Social Tone of Voice

Ben & Jerry’s Tone of Voice_whiteboard animation

HOST:  And you created this really fascinating, almost paper-like overlay. Talk a little bit about the way  the imagery rolls onto the screen as if it looks like a piece of paper. I mean, I’ve seen a Ben and Jerry’s broadcast commercial. But I don’t remember seeing that type of visual. So I don’t know if that it’s specific to their brand. Was that something that you came up with or that they dictated to you?

MAURY:  Yeah, that was something they were looking for, but they hadn’t seen anywhere before. So in the discovery process it came out that there’s different ways we could put this together. We were really known at that point for really advanced whiteboard animation. Not just pencil on paper stuff, but really high end art, movement and doing different things. 

Ben & Jerry’s Storyboard

Ben & Jerry’s Storyboard_whiteboard animation

If there was something that’s very high end and comes to life or moves around on the screen, we were doing a lot of that work and really getting well known for it. So they loved that look. But it was more of a question or a challenge that we worked out together with their creatives and in ourselves on how we can make this move. So we have a very texturized, whiteboard world, it’s basically a paper cutout world with this really advanced elements.  Some of them are pulled from life, from photographs and we make everything match it and then we made it look like they’re being laid on to the canvas to tell this story. You can see it all come to life. It was truly a collaboration. How can we make this happen? How can we make it different in each scene so it doesn’t look like it’s the same entrance and exit and really get that texture right? So it looks painted on in this world we’re going for. I think we pulled it off beautifully.

HOST:  It’s a long story too. It’s not one of your short, quick videos. It’s the story of Ben and Jerry’s, which obviously lends itself to several minutes of a lot of talking. 

Ben & Jerry’s Script_whiteboard animation

Yet another great project for the Rip Media Group library, and we thank you for sharing the story about it. And for our listeners who are interested in more stories like Ben and Jerry’s or the specific Ben and Jerry’s story, as Marty said, we’ll include a link in our blog recap of this show, and you can take a look at the video there.  Feel free to reach out to Rip Media Group if you have any questions or interests in other videos just like that. Uh, wouldn’t you agree, Marie?

MAURY:  Absolutely. Yeah. I’ll provide some links of the treatment that we talked about, our pitch, maybe even the script, and then of course the final video so we can integrate that into your blog.

Ben & Jerry’s Project

HOST:  Thank you very much. And thank you all for listening. This has been another episode of Video Marketing Success Stories. I’m Andy Glickman, your host.  Maury Rogow from Rip Media Group, CEO and Founder, has been our guest. Take care.