In 2014, The American Life began running a podcasts called Serial. It was introduced by a 20 second ad for the series sponsor, MailChimp. The ad was nothing startling except for the little girl who has trouble pronouncing it and says kimp for chimp.
#mailkimp took on a life of its own.
Droga5 has made the most of the email marketing company’s offbeat fame trigger in MailChimp’s first major campaign produced by RiffRaff Films.
The thinking behind it is strikingly clever. There’s an inviolable natural law – we’re all attracted to what we can’t have. Like the party you can’t go to. So rather than create advertising that tells you to use MailChimp, Droga5 created all sorts of very cool content (9 pieces so far) that people want to know about – a band called VeilHymn, whose first song has gone Gold, the SnailPrimp facial (snails wander all over your face) and three weird films, MailShrimp, KaleLImp & JailBlimp.
When you Google search to find out more, Google answers, “Did you mean MailChimp?” Mission accomplished for the brand awareness campaign and the brand whose brief was, “We want to be cool.”
The films in the campaign, “Did You Mean…?”, have titles that are mispronunciations of MailChimp and whose stories are (cryptically) connected to the titles. The spots are designed to look like ads for very bizarre movies and they point to websites for the movies at the end. Posters for the fake movies are included in the campaign (see below)
This quote by directors, The Sacred Egg, explains the thinking behind the campaign – somewhat. “Starting with its name, MailChimp has been a beacon for not blending in. Although people have infamously mispronounced or mistaken their name, MailChimp is not so concerned with what people call them. They’d much rather show you who they are. Because they believe the best way to build relationships with customers, fans or anyone else is to be yourself. For them, that means having some fun with their name…MailChimp’s latest campaign, Did You Mean…? Is about creating extreme cases of individuality and showing what breaks through.” The aim is simply to introduce the service to a wider audience and establish its credentials as an ally of individual thinking.
The three cinematic spots, directed by English duo, The Sacred Egg, are tied to a larger campaign, which will be revealed over the next few weeks and is the agency’s first work for the brand since winning the account last year. The films are running in cinemas in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta as well as online. They will go to air on television in the US on February 20.
The tagline for the first film, MailShrimp, is One shrimp’s dream is another man’s sandwich, and while the musical theatre-style film looks at first like a story about a young man’s dream to become great, it becomes apparent that it’s not.
KaleLimp is an equally surreal story. According to its creators, while it seems to be a story about trying new things, “it is, at its heart, a love story”. You’d never guess.
The third film JailBlimp, begins as the story of a young girl’s birthday party, at which a blimp-shaped piñata stars. And the jail part? You’ll have to watch…
RiffRaff’s attention to detail, that accessories the stylised nature of the films perfectly and fleshes out the 1 minute stories, is awesome. The Sacred Egg described the process of creating the KaleLimp dogs, “We had to work out the best way to create a dog made of salad. Each dog in the spot has been made slightly differently. The hero dog was built from a mixture of practical kale (we spent some time doping the research in the extensive kale section of WholeFoods), three different kale suits for different types of shot (walking, swimming and close-ups) and then a 3D CGI dog head and paws. This was a very technical build that modeled a dog’s skeleton, how his skin moved over his skeleton and then used fractal patterns to mimic the shape and movement of kale on top of the skin. So every layer moves separately as the dog shakes.”
And JailBlimp “involved a number of technical shots to match camera moves that are on the scale of the children’s party with camera moves on the scale of the prisoners. It worked on a 1:18 ration in terms of the distance and speed at which the camera dollied. It also involved about eighteen kids under ten who, despite discovering they could take whatever they liked from the food and drink (and sweets) table, remained true pros until the end.”
Directors: The Sacred Egg
Production companies: Riff Raff Films & The Directors Bureau
Production design: Petr Kunc
Production service: Unit+Sofa
DoP: Ben Todd
1st assistant director: Eric Kaskens
Producer: Jane Tredget
Editor: Sam Bould @ Big Chop
Sound design: Factory
Post production: MPC
VFX Supervisor: Alex Lovejoy
Photography (movie posters) – JUCO