NASDAQ Case Study

Some recent commercials I designed for the lovely and talented folks at Brand New School are now airing nationwide and posted online!


I was brought in to Brand New School a couple months ago to design a few pitch style frames for a NASDAQ campaign they were bidding on. What this means is that BNS basically throws up a variety of directions to the Ad Agency, hoping that one of the directions suits their fancy enough for BNS to then be the 'recommend' to the client, in this case, NASDAQ.

Kris Wong, a fantastic designer and art director at BNS, briefed me on what it was he wanted to see, what he thought the agency was looking for, and away I went. Sometimes these situations make me slightly anxious and nervous. A few days of work to impress BNS, and hopefully, the agency. There's no excuse for a down day. You've gotta be ong like Donkey Kong.

Initially my concepts were to be strictly illustrative. Kris likes to give his artists free reign early on, to let you get to what you're most excited about right off the bat. This time was no expception.

I spent a couple days coming up with graphic treatments, looks, and feels for the illustrative concept. Kris wanted to push the language for which we, as consumers/viewers, knew NASDAQ. I will be honest with you, and only you, regular reader, I don't check the NASDAQ. I don't own stocks. I don't own bonds. I am unparticipating in certain areas of life, and those areas are some of them. I will get better about this. Or not. My 'All or Nothing' Plan is still very much in full effect.

So, I did a little research, got to know something about what it was I was designing for. After a couple days of designing, here is the result.

Big. Bold. Graphic. Simple. Clean. Smart. I am attracted to all things eye-catching, and do believe you are, as well.

We needed to represent some large brands in these commercials, 'Zynga', 'Zipcar', and 'Tesla,' to name a few. NASDAQ wanted to tell the viewer that those brands were on their stock market. You can see hints of each of those brands throughout the boards above. And as far as colors are concerned, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I love their teal and black combo, and just added in some hints of gray and white and luckily it worked out to make a fun set of boards.

Kris showed these to the client and the client enjoyed them. So much so that BNS took the driver seat in the race for the job, I believe. But we still weren't the recommend yet. One more studio to beat. The agency wanted a bit more detail, more story, things weren't quite right yet. So I went back to the drawing board and knocked these out.

Drastic cutting shadows. Massive clouds. Graphic landscapes. This is my take on a 'Warner Brothers' background, basically. I used to work with a master of animation background art, Mark Whiting, and I tried to pick up as much as I could from him. He designed the Iron Giant in The Iron Giant and served as the production designer on too many cool projects to name. One time I choked him at a bar.

This was a frame to represent the 'Zynga' brand in the NASDAQ spot. 'Zynga' makes the game Farmville, and this is my interpretation of that.

The three stripes come from 'Zipcar's' logo and I wanted to use them as a guiding device throughout the spot so that we could travel from location to location to continue our story.

Zynga also makes the app game 'Words with Friends', so with this frame, we travel up and over the buildings from the previous frame to see that the buildings are only blocks in the world of 'Words with Friends.'

Did I mention that I love the work of Mary Blair? If you don't know her, please, go see some of her work. She was one of, if not, THE most influential artist at Disney in the 50's and 60's. Her work on 'It's a Small World,' and 'Alice in Wonderland' inspires me constantly.

Back to NASDAQ! Midway through me re-thinking my inks, Kris asked if I wouldn't mind switching gears and knocking out a live-action approach to the problem. I said surely. He's on the call with the clients and could tell they needed a little something extra.

I did these boards in the next couple days, and they ended up being the boards that won the job for BNS, and became the recommend to NASDAQ from the agency.

Being able to switch styles quickly is something I learned at my old job in Texas, where we all wore quite a few hats in the art department. The above styles, though compositionally have similar trademarks,(centrally focused, rule of thirds, big to small contrasts) hopefully, do not look as if the same person did them. One is texturey and illustrative, the other is type-laden and live-actioney.

But with the winning boards, I wanted to create a sense of high-tech frenzy. I love massive type, and any time I can get away with using it, I will. This was a perfect opportunity to use the type as transitional elements between lots of live-action footage, combined with smooth overlays and large silhouettes. The graphic elements supported the language of NASDAQ, as is seen from the little pluses and minuses, the large snappy animations that the fellas at BNS rocked throughout.

And NASDAQ could be made cool! Kudos to the agency for digging this style, for BNS for executing it so fantastically, and to NASDAQ for being open to something new, fresh, and hip.

I'm stoked to see these on TV, as it is my first pitch I've won out here in LALA land, and hoping to win many more.