The Drum and Ogilvy PR Creative Tech Breakfast #botumentary

Earlier this week, the Distillery London team headed to @TheDrum and @OgilvyUK to learn more about the launch of The Drum’s very own Facebook Messenger Bot and subsequent film #botumentary, which will allow the popular creative industry news source to deliver content to its readers on a much more personal, relevant and effective level.

Photo Credit: Sav Evangelou (@savlondon)

Photo Credit: Sav Evangelou (@savlondon)

Heading up the panel was The Drum’s very own editor Stephen Lepitak (@StephenLepitak) with guest speakers Elizabeth Valleau (@valleau), Creative Strategist for Facebook; Chris Brown, Head of Brand and Marketing for LEVEL Airlines; Jo Coombs (@joc00mbs), CEO of OgilvyOne UK and James Whatley (@Whatleydude), Experience Planning Partner for OgilvyOne UK joining the debate.

 

The brand new #botumentary film we got to preview, explored how brands can use bots to deliver their content effectively, as well as expand their audience whilst creating a trusted and branded experience for the user. So what does this mean for you and your brand, and what are the benefits? 

Following the screening, Chris Brown, Head of Brand and Marketing for LEVEL Airlines kicked off the debate by succinctly explaining that in order for bots to be really useful for your brand, they must solve a problem and greatly enhance customer experience.  If they don’t do this, then they are pointless. An example of a ‘bad bot’ he provided was the use of bot concierge by Hilton which saw the birth of the ‘Connie’ bot who can navigate guests around the hotel and provide local tourist recommendations. For Chris this was simply a bot built for bots sake - where is the intimate relationship so important to the travel industry and how does this bot add value to a human concierge desk? A quick poll around the Distillery office led to the answer, that in this instance, whilst exciting, the ‘Connie’ bot simply does not improve upon the intimate and trusted relationship which face-to-face human concierge offers.

Key benefits of bots drawn out from the panel, include how they improve customer experience, minimise the mundane and provide customers with a greater sense of inspiration. It is certainly an exciting development amongst brands that the information and content personal to each individual customer, is available at even less than a touch of a button. The future possibility of a ‘superbot’ which amalgamates all your personal information, searches, likes / dislikes, desires and interests to greatly enhance your quality of life is certainly something to look forward to.

But what about privacy? This is something that is a hotly debated topic within the world of bots as well as social media in general. Elizabeth from Facebook assured us that the technology behind their messenger bots is extremely secure and that privacy is at the forefront of Facebook’s continued expansion. Yet Jo raised an interesting point: could bots such as the infamous ‘Alexa’ be called upon in a court law in the future?  

Elizabeth summarised the future of bots neatly: “the desire for personalisation is the future of bots, they are a knowledgeable entity that can provide the user with recommendations more intimately”. She advised to brands that “nuance and voice is key” and most importantly “try to build bots that you won’t be embarrassed by in 5 years time”.

You can check out the Botumentary film here:

We at The Distillery are excited to see bots expand across our favourite brands and will certainly be checking out The Drum's Facebook Messenger bot - watch this space for the future of bots! 

3 Lovie winners that we ‘lovie’

We recently received the news that our 360 VR film with VSO won Gold and the People’s vote at this years Lovie awards, and as you can imagine, we’re thrilled! You can read more about the film here.

However, we couldn’t resist taking a peek at some of the other winners, and believe us, there’s some crackers.

So, here are three Lovie winners that we absolutely ‘Lovie’.

1. Cheap Flights - Gold Winner for ‘Banner ads & Rich media’

We love the clever and creative use of an ad space that is quite often neglected and used in a far less interesting way. A banner ad you actually want to engage with. You don’t see that everyday!

2. BBC - Planet Earth 2 - Gold Winner for ‘Best overall social presence’

The BBC/Planet Earth really made the most out of their astonishing footage when it came optimising it for their social channels. By picking key moments from the show they managed to create viral phenomenons, such as the ‘Iguana vs Snakes’ sequence. It’s a great sequence in itself, but after encouraging parodies and homages it managed to gain over 400 millions views and has become one of the most viewed natural history pieces ever. We just love the way they maximised the content they had, using cutdowns so effectively.

3. TV2 - All that we share - Gold Winner for ‘Best use of Video’

Emotional, timely, unifying, impactful and well executed, not much more we can say here but it’s definitely a piece of work we wish we’d made.

Congratulations to all the winners and we hope to meet you at the awards ceremony in November!

New Work: Pernod Ricard

We're excited to share some new work we've been working on over summer for Pernod Ricard. 

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We've created a series of social assets and helped develop a content strategy to hero a series of social entrepreneurs in collaboration with UNLTD.

It all begins with our creative for "a day in the life" style film with Oliver, founder of The Gold Finger Factory.

Our content extends across social platforms, with optimised assets including stills, GIF's, cinemagraphs and videos that will be drip fed out over the next year.  Keep an eye out on our socials to see more.

Creativity + New Reality one day symposium - H+K London

“If you want to see where the future is heading, look to where people are having the most fun” - wise words from self proclaimed IBM Evangelist Jeremy Waites, and words that sum up our takeaway from H+Ks Creativity + New reality symposium brilliantly.

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The symposium's main focus was how we, as creators, can harness the power of creativity within the new realities of the world around us.

One of those new realities being the abundance of messaging we are subjected to on a daily basis. Communication is everywhere. It’s inescapable.

As MD of H+K Matt Battersby points out:

“The human body sends 11million ‘bits’ to the brain every second.

But the human brain can only process 40 of those ‘bits.”

Therefore 10,999,960 ‘bits’ are getting lost...That’s a lot of lost ‘bits’.

One of the main concerns for advertisers or brands within this new reality is how can we avoid our messaging being one of those lost ‘bits’.

There’s no sure fire answer to this question, but I do believe that a key place to start lies within the opening quote of this blog post: “Look to where people are having the most fun”. Where are people choosing to spend their time? Where do they enjoy spending their time? Where do they want to spend their time?

This is where working with influencers comes in. And I don’t mean sticking something on an Instagram or social feed with millions of followers and hoping everyone sees your message. I mean working with influencers to create something that really connects with their audience.

Vikki Chowney, chief content strategist from H+K summed it up nicely, "It's moved from ‘can you write a post on this product’ to ‘what can we build together?’"

It is all about the quality and relationship the influencer has with their audience, and what you, as a brand, can add to that. In a very cohesive way. It’s about trust: The influencer knows their audience better than anyone, so what can you create together to connect best with them? And finally, it’s about creating/building something that the user wants to see, something that they can process and something they want to be a part of.

In a reality crammed full of messaging if you look to where people are having fun, you’re less likely to become one of 10,999,960 lost ‘bits’.

That’s exactly what we try to do here at The Distillery.

Many thanks to everyone at H+K for putting on a super informative day.
And special thanks to @jeremywaite, @mbattersby, @vikkichowney, @mskatebones , @meandorla and @social_pictures ‏ for inspiring this blog post.

We've been shortlisted!!!

From nearly 1,500 entries from 33 countries we're delighted to announce we're finalists for the Lovie Awards 2017! And we're excited!

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We'd massively appreciate it if you could show your support for our VR film "What Will Your Day Bring" for VSO by clicking on this image below and voting!

What are the Lovie Awards? They are kinda like the Oscars, for the web and web video. They're the European sister to the international Webby Awards.

Our film that has made it to the finals is for VSO and is an immersive VR experience. It's best viewed on a headset (here's the YouTube link) or you can take a look at it on Facebook here:

So please show your support and vote for us buy clicking this link

Building juicy little world's for The Coca-Cola Company

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Little gardens in the streets around Sydney and Melbourne? We've been creating social content with our in-house project, The Pothole Gardener, to help The Coca-Cola Company launch their new product, Keri Juice.

The Distillery London's content, from cinemagraphs to videos, has supported the launch of Coca-Cola's new product and has been featured widely in the press and we've enjoyed watching it being shared far and wide across social. 

 
 

 

You can learn more about Keri Juice Blenders, and see more of our work on the micro-site here

The Distillery London's Content-inental Breakfast

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Earlier this week we gathered a panel of three brilliant minds for a breakfast discussion to talk through all things content and storytelling. Fuelled and caffeinated by the great team at the Riding House Cafe in our private room, it was a great session where we brought together a diverse range of brands across a range of sectors to talk through approaches to content and working with influencers. We find that challenges with content are consistent across sectors.

We thought we’d share three key quotes from each of our panelists.

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Award-winning interactive media, online video and TV producer/commissioner Adam Gee reflected on his extensive experience at Channel 4, including his latest short form commission which amassed over 120 million views in just 10 days.

“Content must work and be satisfying for passive, semi-active and active audiences - not only for the most engaged.” 

“Online is no longer the tail and broadcast the dog - the time is very close where they flip and Video On Demand becomes the core of the broadcaster.” 

“The beginning of any online film is critical, particularly short form - your audience needs to be hooked in seconds” 

YouTuber and Influencer Coleen Mensa discussed her experience working with The Distillery London on past influencer campaigns, as well as her work vlogging for the Law Careers society.

“Influencers are the megaphones of social media and their audiences trust the message.” 

“Hire by fit, not by numbers; don’t underestimate the power of micro-influencers” 

“If you’re looking to work with an influencer, be ready to develop creative that fits their audience” 

Digital Strategist and travel and lifestyle influencer Laurie Wang shared ideas around the fragmentation of content, the challenges of making content more intimate as it competes for eyeballs and the demand for customer services.

“Your content needs to feel intimate to compete with content from family and friends” 

“2nd screen is now your primary screen.” 

“Content is king no more. Trust is king.” 

We didn’t livestream or record the event (*gasp*). If you'd like to hear more about the session, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Would you or a colleague like to know about future content-inental breakfasts? Please fill out this form.

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New Work: What Will Your Day Bring?

The vso and International Citizen Service (ICS) wanted a film to ignite interest and inspire 18-25 year olds to get involved in their volunteer placements. 

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The whole premise of the VSO's work is all about changing lives, so we proposed an idea that gave their young viewers the chance to really experience that change themselves. We made a full 360 experience that followed the experience of one volunteer and took the audience to the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and right into the heart of the tiny village Loitokitok  in Kenya. 

However, to really show the contrast between the homelife of our volunteer and his Kenyan adventure we utilised the 360 format to create a 180x180 experience. Literally splitting the world in two we showed a direct opposite of visuals. Looking one way you were on a dusty street in an African village with the villagers whilst and if you turned around you were with your friends on a park bench in Newcastle.  

360 is still a relatively new format, but 180x180 is a bold new approach. Editing took time to get the rhythm right so the viewer had time to look around both worlds whereas the spatial audio dub enhanced the whole experience.

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We hope the first 180x180 360 film will inspire the audience to volunteer for their life changing experience. 

Hero moments in your content calendar

Over the past few weeks we’ve been sharing thoughts and examples on the Hero, Hub Hygiene content model. Before you read this post, make sure you check out our previous posts here and here to give you some background.

Hero content are based around the hero moments in your content calender. These are the big moments that typically happy around key events or milestones.

Typically your hero content will have some paid behind it, or you’ll collaborate with an influencer. 

Generally we create more super-search friendly hygiene content that answers your audiences searches, we create episodic hub content that brings a face and regularity to your content, and then we create a few pieces of hero content through the year around key moments..

Here are a few examples of hero content to think about.

1. Livestreams make for great hero moments - and livestreaming from Space, well it kind of writes itself, doesn't it!

2. So this Van Damme Split was epic for so many reasons...

3. This collaboration between Eric Lanlard and Cadbury that we helped bring to life, engaging a super passionate baking community around Easter. Part of a much wider content ecosystem, the activity had millions of views, and helped build love for Creme Eggs at Easter utilising influencer talent.

Want to talk more about hero content over some Creme Eggs? Get in touch...

Let's talk YouTube analytics

As a YouTube certified agency, we're all about the analytics. We want your content to work as hard as it can for you, and of course learn as much about your audience at the same time.

We thought we'd share this great clip with Yolanda Gampp, Sara Lynn Cauchon and Whitney White sharing which analytics they use to set their channel's goals.

As we built 35k subs in just 18 months (from scratch) on Eric Lanlard's YouTube channel, it reinforced to us the importance of watch time, and indeed how you can gain an incredibly deep understand of your audiences online viewing habits.

If you want some advice on your YouTube channel, or just want to geek out of over some analytics, get in touch and let's grab a coffee!

Get regular with your hub content

Following our recent blog on Hygiene (or help) content, we thought we'd talk about the role of hub content in your content strategy, and share 3 great examples.

Hub content is your regular content. It's the episodic style content that is as regular as clockwork, that is often based around specific topics your audience is interested in. We often find that it's your hub content that helps build subscribers on YouTube. It's the regular face or format on your channel that people get used to seeing over and over again.

Your audience often finds your hygiene content through search, or through a big hero moment (more on that in our next post), getting drawn into your ecosystem of content to look at your hub content and to see what you're all about.

Here are three great examples of brands using hub content.

1. KFC using influencer talent with their 99Gigs series

2. Google using Googlers to give regular G-Suite updates and tips 

3. The Disasters Emergency Committee giving regular appeal updates with Nicola Peckett, Director of Communications.

Want to talk more about your hub content? Let's grab a coffee (and maybe a camera).

The Distillery London Giving Back

Every quarter, The Distillery London donates some of their time to causes / charities / events that we care about. It's not the sort of thing we shout about because it's kind of in our DNA. We love sharing our knowledge of content strategy / creative development and film making with organisations and charities that we care about.

In the first quarter of this year, we helped The Back-Up Trust with their annual fundraising event, by bringing to life an extremely moving and heartfelt story. 

Last quarter, our MD Steve Wheen headed to Rwanda to give film making workshops to disadvantaged kids in Kigali to help them bring their stories to life.

We have somewhat an association with Rwanda's first hip-hip dance school and we made this film a little while back to help with their crowdfunding campaign, in which they raised over £5,000.

This quarter, we're raising funds for ReThink Mental Illness through our JustGiving campaign. Using our in-house project The Pothole Gardener, we're spreading the love, one little garden at a time. You can learn more about the project on JustGiving here.

We're on the hunt for a project for the last quarter of this year, so please do get in touch if you've some ideas!

Get Your Hygiene Right

Hygiene we hear you say? We talk about Hygiene content (or help content) at length during our content strategy sessions with our clients as it's so important you get it right in your content strategy. We thought we’d share some examples of great Hygiene content on the blog today.

Hygiene content is great for pulling potential viewers into your content ecosystem. It’s that search-friendly content that answers the questions your audience is searching for. It’s the basic stuff that’s easy to make and therefore easy to keep producing. Think of it like a gently dripping tap that’s always on.

To make the most of your hygiene content, consider what your audience is looking for - what are they searching for when they come to YouTube and what’s going to make them come to your channel? How can your content help them with a problem or questions they've got? 

You can use search insights to find the most frequent searches (aka “queries”). Which queries can your brand credibly answer? Google Trends is a great first port of call.

The good news is that there are loads of examples of great hygiene content out there! Here are 3 examples:

British Red Cross - British Red Cross has some great playlists full of basic first aid videos. Each one answers a single question.

Howcast - Simple tutorials uploaded on a regular basis. Want to learn how to order a beer in Mandarin, remember the order of the planets, or make twisty nutella bread? Then Howcast has you covered!

Sci Show - Daily, short videos that answer a single question. Often videos are very timely - for example a number of their recent videos have been summer-related (Why Do Your Eyes Get Red In The Pool? / What Does SPF Mean?)

Hygiene content is a great way of getting eyes to your channel, but how to you then keep them there? 

If you're interested in learning more about our approaches to content strategy, don't hesitate to get in touch.

YouTube certified

The Distillery London has been YouTube certified for a number of years now.  As an agency that specialises in online video, all of the team is given the opportunity to become YouTube certified from day one.

From building YouTube channels from scratch, to optimising content to understanding audiences, YouTube certification helps us to make sure the whole team is on top of their YouTube game.

From our producers to our editors to our creatives, we all understand the power of combining data with creativity to create and optimise awesome social video campaigns.

VIDEO FIRST: Making An Impact

Recently, IBT launched their report VIDEO FIRST: Making An Impact with a panel discussion which covered a range of topics about online video: how it’s viewed; what works and what doesn’t; and some key tips for NGOs in particular on how to produce content that’s going to break through online.

Team Distillery headed to Channel 4 for the report launch, with notepads at the ready, to find out more and cheer on MD Steve Wheen, who contributed to the report and was also on the panel.

 
 

Here are each of the Distillers top 3 takeaways from the discussion.

Deborah Charles - Executive Producer

  • Be clear what the content is.
  • It's important to know your brand and stick to it.
  • Why? Understanding the psychology of why we share. Sharing is a reflection of who we are or want to be.
 
 

Rebecca Groves - Production Manager

  • The opening frame is important, so you need to think carefully about how to start your video. A human face is more engaging than a landscape shot.
  • Don't be afraid to take a video down, re-edit it and keep trying until you get it right.
  • Think before you post. More posts does not necessarily mean better engagement.
 
 

Nina Weiss - Production Assistant

  • Should Facebook and similar platforms be considered publishers? They’re becoming more like publishers but aren’t currently regulated in the same way, but maybe they should be?
  • Social video is just that - social. It means interaction, conversation and sharing, and in that way has more reach than traditional broadcast media. The challenge is getting people to view content outside of their niche.
  • On social platforms there are no editors anymore, only algorithms, so understanding how these work is crucial.
 
 

Matt Richards + Liam Aldridge - Creatives

  • You have to understand why your audience would share a piece of content and what it says about them if they do.
  • You have about 5 seconds to keep your audience, so grab their attention quickly.
  • Everything starts with a great idea!
 
 

It was an extremely fruitful discussion, with Steve talking through some of The Distillery London's work around video content strategy and sharing some of the learnings from the many content strategy workshops they have run with a number of NGO's.

 
 

You can download the full report here.

5 Shortlisted Cannes Lions films we love...

It’s Friday and Cannes Lions is nearly over for another year. The shortlist for the film category is out so we thought, what better way to spend the day than sifting through the shortlist (well most of them) and sharing the 5 films that really stood out for us. So, out of the 271 nominated films that made our Friday, here's what we thought.

GAY SPORTS SWIMMING | THE CANADIAN CENTRE FOR GENDER AND SEXUAL DIVERSITY | SAATCHI & SAATCHI CANADA

ALL THAT WE SHARE | TV2 | &Co. / NoA

CADBURY PRE-JOY | OGILVY & MATHER JOHANNESBURG

UNLIMITED YOU | NIKE | W+K

THE ONE MOMENT | MORTON SALT | OGILVY & MATHER

Congratulations to all - we hope to see you on the beach in Cannes next year!

APA Masterclass

This week, Rebecca Groves The Distillery's Production Manager writes about her recent experience at the APA masterclass.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the APA’s Masterclass, a week-long intensive training course that covers all aspects of production. It was a fantastic chance to learn from top producers and industry leaders, as well as meet peers, make new friends and play around with big, expensive equipment.

We learnt a lot about how different areas of production work together, how to plan a schedule, and how to set up and run a budget. New skills which were soon put to the test as I production managed the Disasters Emergency Committee’s appeal for famine in East Africa, just a month later.

During the two week appeal, part of Team Distillery moved into the DEC’s office at King’s Cross, where we created over 200 pieces of online content. These ranged from videos, to gifs, to live streams, all of which were made to spread awareness and ultimately help raise money. My role as production manager was to keep the post-production team happy, assist with running the in-house studio schedule, and liaise with our creatives and shooting team. I also helped manage content from the DEC’s member agency charities, while our producers managed teams in Somalia and South Sudan, and an extensive creator outreach programme.

With so much going on in such a short space of time, our shooting and post-production schedules had to be meticulously managed and kept up to date. At The Distillery we make platform-specific content, a practice which we continued throughout the appeal, so we had to build time into our schedules for creating many versions of each piece of content. In our in-house studio we went live on Facebook every day; on one particularly busy day we actually produced 8 live streams (much caffeine was consumed.) 


We made so many films during the appeal, but this is one of my favourites!

It was amazing to be part of a team that helped to raise over £50 million for such a great cause, and the skills I learned from the APA Masterclass really helped us get there.

GANT, Google NEXT 2017 & The Distillery London...

Google Next is Google’s biggest event ever; bringing together over 4,000 people to the ExCel centre to learn about the future of Google’s latest platforms. The event is held across 3 days and consists of keynote speeches, interactive exhibits and immersive experiences for everyone from executives, customers, partners, developers, IT decision makers, and Google Engineers.

Our latest collaboration with the Google team was being launched here too – on Google Cardboards!     

At the end of last year, we were invited by Google to tell the story of how Google G-Suite transformed the workflow of the iconic brand of Gant during the launch of their new concept store. For us, the perfect medium for a behind-the-scenes, access-all-areas insight into the heritage brand was 360 video. The audience would be immersed in the whole story from start to finish, from the design office witnessing the creative process unfold, to the factory seeing the shirt being manufactured and finally at new store opening for the first time.

GANT loved the idea of being under the many lensed spotlight of 360 camera rigs, so we worked closely with their shirt team to co-ordinate the story, filming and access. Opening a flagship store can take a year. GANT were doing it in three months with one team working seamlessly (forgive the pun!) across three countries to meet incredibly ambitious deadlines. Using a small team we shot in all three locations; Gant HQ in Stockholm, their manufacturing factory in Porto and their flagship store in London. Mathew Wood, at the time then Gant’s newly appointed Creative Director provided a voice-over with the right balance of intimate insight in to the company vision. We interviewed him in Stockholm HQ just after he returned from a hectic 24 hours of back-to-back meetings in New York about the next season’s fabrics. The fashion world is always a season or two ahead.

360 shooting is unusual because you choreograph the action, but then during the actual filming have to go and hide out of shot. We must have looked to be the wierdest film crew the GANT team had ever seen. Experiential viewing is also a lot slower than normal 2D film; so the experience of a 360 director is vital to not only select most engaging placement for the camera, but to create the right pace for viewing.

The final film’s YouTube release coincided with the NEXT event whilst a shorter cut down teaser ran in a Facebook campaign and a panoramic still was used to generate excitement on twitter. And NEXT for us – we’ve just returned from our latest 360 VR piece that combines the two worlds of Kenya and Newcastle in a very innovative way. (And it didn’t involve any hiding!)