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Distance Learnings


Much has happened in the last month. And much can be learned, as well. As commercials start to look the same, it’s important that companies avoid transmitting the same messages, and instead address people’s needs in a way that aligns with their brand.

In this new edition of Distance Learnings, you’ll find inspiration, trends, and expert analysis to help navigate an ever-changing landscape.


Shoots are still happening. Just through a lot of screens.

Since quarantine began, photographers, directors, and even ourselves have started shooting content through screens. From directing talent over Zoom to shooting with iPhones, we’ve changed our whole approach, and will reveal our learnings in a future edition.

Photographers Jackie Russo and Damien Frost shot portraits of people in isolation over FaceTime, and integrated devices in their final work. Even fashion brands like Vogue Italia photographed Bella Hadid over FaceTime, while Jacquemus shot their entire campaign long-distance.

While it’s uncertain when more standard shoots will resume, there’s a wide array of styles yet to be explored. And at this point in time, brands can let constraints guide them to shoot compelling, inspiring content.


Co-creation is making a comeback.

While holed up at home, consumers have engaged in creative activities like reproducing classical artwork and turning pillows into dresses. Brands aren’t just getting featured in these new user-generated trends; many, like The Met and Off White, are actively embracing them.

Others are exploring new ways of collaborating. Professional actors and fans are reciting Shakespeare over Zoom. 50 creatives who’ve never worked together just launched The Virtual Collaborators Project – a series of shorts that comment on the times. Grimes even created a green-screened music video that lets fans upload their own artwork through WeTransfer.

All of this gives brands an opportunity to build more meaningful connections with consumers, show how creative they are, and offer challenges to their followers. And some, like Alexander McQueen and Chinatown Market, are writing the master class on how to do so.


Games aren’t just for gamers.

These days, gaming platforms are hosting social events that reach far beyond the gaming community. Recently, Travis Scott hosted a Fortnite concert to over 12.3 million players. And after having to cancel their 10-day tour, the band Courier Club created Block by Blockwest - a Minecraft music festival with stages, tickets, and fans. It was so popular, the servers crashed. Even a Scottish arts festival was recreated in Minecraft as an alternative to its real-world counterpart.

Consumers are getting creative within games, too. In Animal Crossing, people have started to create clothing from Nike, Supreme, and other brands, one pixel at a time, for their characters to wear. Others have added art to their digital homes with help from Getty, and more are incorporating their own designs in the game.

This is all a natural progression, of course, building on efforts from Wendy’s and Fortnite just last year. As gaming platforms accommodate new audiences, it’s likely that brands will come to play, too.


Cooler flyer, bigger crowd.

Online events are nothing new. But the amount of effort that creators and brands are putting into promoting them is certainly on the rise. Whether it’s Massive Attack designing posters for a digital music festival, Fenty hyping their social club with digital flyers, or Outdoor Voices incorporating playful illustrations into their event calendar, brands are working harder than ever to draw attention to their online events. And when possible, posting creative recap clips, too. Remember the Travis Scott concert in Fortnite? He even released merch from it.

So what does this all mean? Simple. While marketers have traditionally viewed conventional channels as the holy grail of how to reach consumers, COVID-19 has forced them to treat digital media with the same amount of care and consideration.

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