Solo Funds - Damsel In Distress
If a business really values their audience, then shouldn't they be the hero of their marketing?
That was one of the big ideas going into this project that gave them a more 'human' feeling over their competitors. All decisions along the way including character design, hand drawn animation and the story were created to enforce the rare idea that financial companies often forget to talk about, the people that use their products.
As with all projects, we started with a in depth conversation. That conversation was with Travis, the Founder of Solo Funds. The goal for this initial conversation is about learning where they are in their business and where they want to be.
Since Solo hadn’t publicly launched their app yet, it quickly became evident that their first marketing challenge would be to gain public awareness as soon as the app was ready to debut.
At the time, Solo had a landing page where people could sign up to receive information or links to download the app and it was decided pretty early on that video would be a great tool for them to use on their landing page to drive more signups. At this early stage of the buyer’s journey, we knew that the video had to be quick. In this time, we knew we couldn't talk about the technical features, but focus only of the personal benefits that Solo provides.
And the most important part of every project, the goal. The goal for using this animation was to help in driving 300 active users to sign up for their platform.
In our initial conversation, Travis was describing the target audience for their platform. He mentioned that both the borrower and lender are two different people (A big marketing challenge for any brand). He also told a short story of how he imagines both of these people. “A fourth grade teacher with car problems and no extra money — and a young businessman/woman that has some extra money and is looking for ways to invest with some of it”.
We wanted to make the target audience the hero, but can there be 2 heroes in a story? Each of those people is dependent on the other for their app to work, so rather than focusing on just the borrower or lender, we decided that it was important that they both understood how each other win in the deal by going with a 2 hero story.
While we do pride ourselves on our storytelling, we know a good story when we hear it. The moment Travis mentioned the mechanic and car troubles, we knew it was perfect to not only give people an example of when they could use Solo, but how they can use it too.
One of the big words we came out of the strategy with was JOY. The Solo brand is pretty bright and different from their competition (A whole bunch of blues really), so we wanted to accentuate that and help create the mood that Solo has already started. Starting with their 4 main colors, we expanded to close to 20 colors to be able to use what was needed for each scene to connect with that emotion of joy.
The character designs ranged quite a bit in the early process and may have even been too heavily on the silly/funny side, but part of the art direction process isn’t making what you know is right, it’s trying things and asking it questions to see if it’s a fit. The prime example here was creating a character that was 5-6 heads tall as opposed to 3. This helped get the character designs to feel more adult like while still keeping with the emotion of joy.
Solo isn’t a financial company, it’s a social company. As I started to mention earlier, most financial brands are very conservative with design, often to the point where it feels very robotic in both their visuals and messages. Based on that one idea, we started wandering in areas that most financial companies wouldn’t dare. Something a bit more human like, something that didn’t have the straight lines and shiny surfaces we’re used to seeing — and something that isn’t perfect (just like all of us).
A difficult problem solved by hand drawn animation. All the characters were animated by hand in a traditional way, at 24 frames per second. For a total of somewhere around 500-1000 hand drawn frames. It can be painful, but man it feels good when it’s all done.
Unlike most videos we make with voice over, we weren’t looking for a narration, but a performance. More like finding the right actor for the part, we looked at our character designs and found 2 amazing voice over artists (Julie Shields and Kabir Singh) that did an amazing job understanding the personalities of their characters.
While this animation was created specifically for Solo Funds landing page, it is also used for their presentations and social media advertising.
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