IBM Automation - Glow
Bringing warmth to automation with cel animation.
It’s time to talk about automation in a new way. While some see it as a disruption to their current process, IBM wanted to reframe the conversation. They wanted to show how their automation tools can set people free from the mundane tasks keeping them from innovating. And they needed a video to help people see these unique benefits.
The project kicked off with an in-depth strategy workshop with marketing professionals and subject matter experts who helped us understand the perspective of our target audience – chief operating officers.
Using employees for the low-value, everyday tasks wastes their talents. It’s like you bought a Ferrari, but you’re only driving it at 20 mph. – Drew Grimes, Producer
After we developed and tested several concepts in a focus group, the strongest concept emerged as “Glow.”
The story focused on Jane, a woman losing her innovative spirit under the weight of mundane tasks at her office job. She’s experiencing the universal feeling of disappointment when you’re stuck performing low-value work at the expense of doing what you love.
We envisioned a visually evocative story with no narrative voiceover – a rather risky departure from traditional IBM videos.
Everyone agreed it was the most interesting and unexpected way to deliver this message. – Max Zampieri, Director
The collaboration between Myriad, IBM, and Bien, our animation partner, was extreme. We followed a schedule of touchpoints and milestones, allowing for creative discussion, iteration, and constant communication.
Check-in meetings ensured our client understood of every step of the production process. And greenlight meetings were held to get consensus from key stakeholders.
We had a really good collaborative partnership at each decision checkpoint. We came out of those sessions with better ideas than we went in with. – Tuck Satterfield, Content Marketing Manager, IBM
This agile process proved very necessary when we decided to use cel animation to bring Jane and her office to life.
You’ve seen cel animation – some of your favorite childhood cartoons were probably in the style. The technique was invented in 1915, but made popular by Walt Disney the iconic Steamboat Willie.
Cel animation uses hand-drawn illustrations on transparent plastic called “cels” to create every frame of the story. They’re photographed in sequence and played back at 24 frames per second, and the final result is moving pictures.
It takes an enormous amount of time, and it’s a dying art in this digital world. But a true appreciation for hand-drawn animation makes it easy to see the beauty of this technique. It creates a warm and unique look that surprises viewers, makes them nostalgic, and instantly connects to their hearts. It’s hand-crafted art.
Because this animation style is so time consuming, we had to ensure we didn’t waste a moment of the production process with Bien. The touchpoint meetings were critical to allow everyone to offer their feedback before final changes.
There was an understanding from all members of the Glow team that everyone had to be heard. By maintaining strong communication through the entire process, we were able to listen to all the expertise at the table and make necessary changes as we went.
What we ended up with was emotional, evocative, highly risky, and unlike anything I’ve seen at IBM. – Tuck Satterfield, Content Marketing Manager, IBM
We are so proud of this piece. It brought value to our clients, achieved their attention-grabbing goal, and earned us a shout out from School of Motion. They named Glow as one of their favorite motion design projects of October.