Superhero Cheesecake Nominated for Awwwards "Site of the Year"

Superhero Cheesecake Nominated for Awwwards "Site of the Year"

The brilliant team at Superhero Cheesecake collaborated with JWT Amsterdam and their client, ING, as well as their partner, Microsoft, over 18 long months to craft a new portrait from the passed Dutch Master, Rembrandt, using deep learning algorithms, facial recognition techniques, and data pulled from 168,263 painting fragments sourced from the Master’s oeuvre to 3D paint a new work in oils. All documented beautifully in an accompanying site experience. Check out the project that took home 16 Cannes Lions (including 2 Grand Prix Lions) this year via the button below.

Nest's security camera mystery game lands Creativity Editor's Pick

Nest's security camera mystery game lands Creativity Editor's Pick

Client: Nest // Directed by: Norton // Production Company: Pet Gorilla

Nest is inviting people to find out how bizarre events unfolded in an integrated campaign for its security cameras, taglined "Mystery Solved."

The campaign, created in-house at Nest and directed by Norton of production company Pet Gorilla, includes print ads that depict strange situations -- such as a car sinking in a swimming pool or a runaway lawmower-- and invite the viewer to go online and check out the video footage of how it happened.

The gist of the message is that, with Nest Cam connected to your phone 24/7, no mystery will ever go unsolved. In addition to the Creativity Editor's Pick, the campaign picked up some ink in Fast Company and Mashable. Click below to read the other articles and make sure to peep the case film below. 

Crystal Moselle shoots "That One Day" for Miu Miu

Crystal Moselle shoots "That One Day" for Miu Miu

"That One Day" (12 min) directed by: Crystal Moselle

Director, Crystal Moselle is at it again; this time writing & directing a short-film for women's brand, Miu Miu. On the surface, the 12-minute film is fashion and skateboarding...two of our favorite things here at Obsidian, but not unlike "The Wolfpack" there is a story beneath the story. The New York Times picked it up and now you can read for yourself the story of "That One Day". Also, see below for a video interview with Crystal

When I met them, I think that I was really drawn to the idea that they are girls in a world that is mainly dominated by boys...
— Crystal Moselle, director
Uploaded by miumiu on 2016-09-02.

Brady Hurt talks the reality of "The Realities"

Brady Hurt talks the reality of "The Realities"

Virtual, Augmented, or just plain old fashioned Reality. The "R" [reality] sometimes takes a backseat to the letter preceding it. Our head of digital, Brady Hurt sat down with Legacy Marketing Partners to weigh in on the state of the current technologies and best practices for each. Click the button below to read more about Brady's thoughtful approach to and application of new technologies as well as first-mover agencies like Legacy Marketing Partners.

Your general public, for the most part, doesn’t know what AR is, but they’ve come in contact with it or have used it themselves without even knowing it,” said Brady Hurt, the Head of Digital at Obsidian. “Now with apps like Pokemon Go, AR user behavior is becoming ubiquitous and more people are aware of AR as a result.
— Brady Hurt, Head of Digital at Obsidian

Brady Hurt joins Obsidian as Partner, Head of Interactive

Brady Hurt joins Obsidian as Partner, Head of Interactive

Brady joins Obsidian as a Partner and Head of Interactive with the specific intent to develop and expand our business in the digital, experiential and VR verticals. He’s armed with (8) years of experience on the interactive production side of the representation game, driving new business and relationships for some of the top digital, experiential and VR shops in the industry. Employing a consultative, educational and creative problem-solving approach to evolve what a ‘rep’ should be, Brady has cemented himself as a resource and sage of digital design, technology and emerging innovation to many at agencies and brands alike. He’s also rather conspicuous with an epic beard and healthy collection of vintage embroidered western shirts which are often accessorized with a big smile and a flat cap.

Congratulations to our Cannes Winners & Nominees

Congratulations to our Cannes Winners & Nominees

Obsidian would like to take a minute to congratulate our clients on their success at Cannes Lions 2016!

STATION FILM

WORLD WAR SEVEN

Client: Snickers // Agency: BDO // Directed by: David Shafei // Production Company: World War Seven

2016 Cannes Lions; shortlist

Sibling Rivalry scores at Promax

Sibling Rivalry scores at Promax


Sibling Rivalry once again rocked Promax taking home two pieces of hardware, a Bronze for 'Total Package, Art Direction & Design' for SyFy Network's "Refresh" and a Gold in the 'Sports Program Spot, Art Direction & Design' category for Nickelodeon's "Nick Sports". Watch the work below.

Client: Nickelodeon // Design Studio: Sibling Rivalry

Awards:

Promax 2016; Gold 'Sports Program Spot, Art Direction & Design

Client: SyFy Network // Design Studio: Sibling Rivalry

Awards:

Promax 2016; Bronze 'Total Package, Art Direction & Design'


What the FAQ!? Pete & Jamie nab Creativity 'Editor's Pick'

What the FAQ!? Pete & Jamie nab Creativity 'Editor's Pick'


Directing duo Pete & Jamie of World War Seven nab today's bragging rights in both Creativity [Editor's Pick] and AdAge with a unique campaign for Dollar Shave Club featuring actual customer service reps answering actual FAQ's [Frequently Asked Questions for anyone born before 1980] from 'fictionalized' characters


Lena Beug Signed to Station Film

Lena Beug Signed to Station Film

It was announced today that Station Film has signed Irish director, Lena Beug. She began her career as an intern at MTV which gave way to an art director role and then director. Her most recent work for Manwich out of DDB West has received numerous accolades by those in the know while an earlier promo for MTV, "Merry XXXLmas" gained her noteriety by being voted funniest video of the year by Rolling Stone.

Smart and funny, with a strong sense of where she wants to be creatively. I gravitated to the simplicity of her approach to comedy and understated performances, always with wonderfully crafted compositions. We’re super excited to be working with her at Station.
— Stephen Orent, Managing Director @ Station Film

Peep her directing reel or read more about Lena below.



"Merry XXXLmas"

Directed by: Lena Beug

Pet Gorilla take Creativity 'Editor's Pick' for HBO Game

You think you're an HBO super-fan, don't you? Time to put your money er, finger where your mouth is...actually don't do any of that. Just check out HBO's Instagram feed for more info or just click the button below to begin the 'Silicon Valley' contest...winners get a replica of the Aviato-mobile!!


Click to read more about the campaign with Droga5 below. If you want to read the article where Pet Gorilla is *actually* credited then peep 'AdWeek'...

Luis Peña Helms Anthem Campaign for Groupon, US Creative of the Week

Luis Peña Helms Anthem Campaign for Groupon, US Creative of the Week


Having an experience is better than having 'things', right? Groupon is banking on it and it looks like their bet is paying off. Director Luis Peña shot the latest campaign for Groupon via agency, OKRP in Chicago. The campaign went over so well that The Drum named it "Ad of the Day". The spot was shared so much that a week later it was named "US Creative of the Week". Read more below.


Trevor Fife and W+K Like Oregon, You Might Too...

Trevor Fife and W+K Like Oregon, You Might Too...

Client: Oregon Tourism // Agency: Weiden + Kennedy // Directed by: Trevor Fife // Production Company: Hatch Content

"We like it here. You might too." Simple, and effective. That is the new slogan for the State of Oregon via Weiden + Kennedy's new campaign for their home state. Read more about the campaign or watch more of the spots below.

Matty Fisch bro's down for Malibu Rum, bro.

Matty Fisch bro's down for Malibu Rum, bro.

Client: Malibu Rum // Agency: 360i // Directed by: Matty Fisch // Production Company: Pet Gorilla

Can you be a "bro" AND order a summer cocktail? You can if you're a Malibro. If you don't want to take our word for it then take the internet's [and Creativity's Editors]. Click below to read the full story.

Sibling Rivalry keep SyFy Network [re]Fresh

Sibling Rivalry keep SyFy Network [re]Fresh

Sibling Rivalry Studio help SyFy Network "Imagine Greater" in these refreshed identities by letting the programming and content speak for itself. While Sibling Rivalry did not alter the SyFy logo, the clever use of size and scale retain the existing brand equity while placing SyFy's content front and center for the viewer.

We’re returning to high-end cinematics for good science fiction”
— Ben Cochran, VP Creative Director @ NBC Universal


Honor Society is Open for Business

Honor Society is Open for Business


Obsidian is pleased to announce the opening of a brand new production company in NY and LA, Honor Society. We are absolutely stoked to be representing the directors and creative visionaries that comprise Honor Society and we are confident that when the industry speaks of those on the front lines of the paradigm shift - blurring the lines between advertising and entertainment that Honor Society will not only be a part of the conversation, but will be the conversation.

We are looking forward to bringing a fresh perspective on commercial production that really embraces the entertainment aspect that the industry is moving towards...
— Megan Kelly, Executive Producer [via Source Creative]
Megan and I are excited to join forces again to form Honor Society with a roster of directors who share our vision for creating original, inspiring content across all media platforms
— Eli Rotholz, Executive Producer [via Source Creative]

2.0 Part 2: The Long Approach

2.0 Part 2: The Long Approach

One of my favorite questions that I often get is “why don’t I know about you?” I love it--a declaration of supremacy, ignorance, and guilt all at the same time. Re-phrased, complete with backhanded undertones it actually sounds more like, “How could I--a ‘high-powered tastemaker’ who has been in this business longer than you have been alive--have no clue that I’ve been competing with [and losing to] you this entire time!?” What I love even more about this question are not my quick, witty responses, but taking note of the people who ask. Can you guess who typically asks these questions? Yep you nailed it, The Old Rep[1].

I will hold off on divulging some of my more…“choice” responses, but suffice to say with the AICP event here in Chicago last week, opportunities to audition and perfect my response were far from lacking. Joking aside, what we have here is a real problem and the current solution is well, you know...

Let me explain where I came from; I came up under you. Not in the way that you’d like to think--where I, as a young, junior-rep watched longingly at the way you carried yourself, and spoke to clients waiting for the opportunity to emulate your behavior. No. What I mean is that I grew and solidified my roots underground [yes, like a weed]. Face it, cool shit happens underground - we don’t particularly care for rules, sustainability is secondary [for the moment], and arguably the only rule or perhaps as Captain Jack Sparrow would put it, guideline is; “best idea wins”. Sounds cool, right? It is; but, like the best punk bands, artists, and fight clubs eventually the underground moves above ground - those roots grow stronger and dig deeper; eventually breaking through to the surface. Interestingly it’s here at this moment when brands, agencies, clients, etc. want to latch on to “the underground” vibe…when it’s above ground [read: safe]. This isn’t an op/ed on the state of branding [though maybe that will be a future topic] so I will leave you with this point--when you talk about “knowing who I am” [or in this case not knowing] understand this: in the underground you learn to see in the dark. You couldn’t see me, but I’ve been watching you this entire time.

Oddly enough, this segues quite nicely to the second defining characteristic in our New Rep series; unlike our friend The Old Rep, The New Rep will take a decidedly different approach when it comes to attracting, signing, growing, and of course representing the next generation of talent - we’ll call it: “The Obsidian Guide to Getting Things Right the First Time”. On second thought how about, the “Long Approach” instead? In my last post I wrote primarily about identifying new talent - cutting through the ‘noise’ to locate the source or ‘signal’, but let’s say you’ve found [what you believe to be] the signal, what now?

The Dark Knight © 2008

Those in the biz love to tout the fact that it’s so “dynamic”;  waxing poetic about an environment that’s always-changing, typically followed up by some bullshit comment roughly equating to “adapt or die”, but have they really adapted? Think about the last major adaptation you made in your practice, e.g., the way in which you communicate with clients, a new media or distribution platform/channel, or perhaps [God forbid] another social media service. Hell, even a new Gmail layout. We think we make these giant advances when all that’s really being done is talk and quite literally anyone can do that, but advertising may do it the best. SXSW or AICP panels, PowerPoint presentations, press releases, podcasts, the avenues are seemingly endless for those that wish to talk, but answer me this: what good is one’s ability to talk about ‘in-house’ this, ‘streamlined’ that, resulting in increased these if one can’t put that talk into practice with [read: sell to] one’s client? We find ourselves in the midst of a capabilities arms race - media shops producing content, PR shops vying for advertising AOR, advertising agencies taking production & post in-house, advertisers attempting to take their digital departments in house, and the list goes on, but like a dog chasing a car - would they know what to do if they ever were to catch it [except talk about it some more]? Ladies and gentlemen I present to you a glimpse of The [unfortunate] New Normal: where ideas are chased and no longer created. That’s not dynamic that’s insanity.

Click for the full experience

Click for the full experience

“But Matt, it sounds like you’re the one who’s waxing poetic and talking just like everyone else”, some astute reader will inevitably fire back. Well, much like Adam Sandler’s wedding singer “I have a microphone and you don’t so you’re going to listen to every damn word I have to say” and [more importantly] like I mentioned earlier, we’ve been watching you. Not only did we see and recognize this New Normal as a system we are going to have to work with for a while[2], but we we’ve been counting on it. Now here’s some good news: all hope is not lost and for as much of the burden to change rests upon everyone in this business, we can’t forget the subject of this post; our X-Factor, The New Rep. The ones who spent their time underground identifying signal from noise, the fad from the legitimate, and filmmaker from film-taker. Can you feel it? That’s right, I’m bringing this bad boy full circle.

Being underground comes with it’s advantages and disadvantages, some of the advantages being: we were never caught up in the politics, gossip, approved vendor lists, and endless agency/client drama. We spent our time pinpointing where, based on what we knew and what we believed the business was headed and we’ve arrived; right on schedule. Before I go on, here’s a real-life example of pinpointing an industry, separating a signal from the noise: remember the MiniDisc?

It's like holding the future in your hand!

It's like holding the future in your hand!

In the timeline of personal audio devices the MiniDisc [and it’s corresponding player] fell somewhere between the portable CD player and the mp3 player. I can’t commit to consumer adoption metrics, but it wasn’t the most “adopted” piece of portable audio technology. While reasons for this vary from consumers not wanting to re-purchase their CD [or cassette] library as MiniDiscs to not understanding the point [carrying a separate piece of physical media to be played ala cassette tapes or CD...always seemed redundant], see where I’m headed? When looking at where this media & it’s corresponding device fell in the zeitgeist of portable audio equipment, it became abundantly clear that the underlying technology [digitized, file-based music] was far more interesting than the medium on which it came “packaged”. In other words, the .mp3 file format predated the physical MiniDisc so wouldn’t it stand to reason that a device - essentially a hard drive could hold these files without the need for individualized MiniDisc albums?[3] Yes, there still needed to be some developments made with operating system and file/folder management, but I think you’re getting the point. The application of existing technology - the digital audio format [.mp3] found its way onto, wait for it…the MP3 player all, but cementing the MiniDisc as the last new, physical audio format in the music industry[4].

'90's Sony Mini Disc Commercial / R.I.P. Circuit City

Awesomess Quotient [AQ] over Time [T]

*this is in no way a scientific representation of ANYTHING*

You see, our Long Approach isn’t a sales tool or a special intellectual property that is available to only a select few. It’s not a reinvention of the wheel either. It is an application of what we already know about the wheel compared and contrasted against what we believe the wheel could become[5]. We at Obsidian do not claim to be rocket scientists, quantum physicists, or anything else that requires more than 4 years of schooling, but there are some commonalities between us. Just like ‘real’ scientists, The New Rep looks at the current landscape, notices a new trend, technology, distribution channel, etc. and asks themselves a simple 2-part question: what do I know and what do I believe? The goal being to find an intersection between what you believe about [a] aforementioned trend and [b] consumer behavior/adoption [and by extension advertising & media adoption] while comparing and contrasting against what you know[6]. 

Truthfully this is a dynamic business, but by the time the pundits who pontificate about ‘dynamacy’ get around to pointing it out to the masses [or worse, their clients], the current strategy is often a case of too little too late. I know you’re thinking, “this doesn’t apply to our strategy” or “that’s not really what our client is looking for” so let me tell you right now: it does and they are. Show me a company actively trying not to be successful[7] or profitable[8]; ridiculous, right? Then why allow your clients, these companies or individuals trying desperately to stay above water in a media-ocean that they are literally drowning in to become another statistic of The New Normal just to show off offer some capability that you may or may not actually have let alone be able to execute at the level required?

Wrapping up, it is not too late to pull the e-brake and stop chasing. It is time for everyone, not just reps, not just advertising or PR agencies; all of us to stand up and be the experts in our respective fields once again. If you are reading this and don’t know where to start, call your rep. If they don’t know the answer then a good one will find the answer and deliver it along with contingency options. If that is not your experience then find a New Rep.

So why don’t you “know about me”? I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.


[1] Read Part 1 here.

[2] Regimes, Systems, Paradigms are all fluid and never built to last

[3] I had nothing to do with any aspect of the ideation or invention of the mp3 player

[4] Audiophiles will quickly point out that the HDCD came well after the Mini Disc and to them all I have to say is, “Really?!?”

[5] Given current market trends in the ‘wheel-business’...it’s a bumpy road ahead [#unsubscribe]

[6] We are assuming that knowledge is fluid and that what we knew may no longer be what we know

[7] Twitter doesn’t count, you just don’t get it.

[8] Registered 501c3 companies excluded.