Project Management — Burrell Communications
After years of project management as an unofficial title, working on my own projects, videos and photo shoots, I secured a spot at Burrell Communications as Project Manager of Digital Content.
It was a hybrid role for the company. They had me working as a member of the accounts team while I worked side-by-side with the Media, Social Media, Engagement and Creative teams. In addition to managing digital projects for our client, I also pitched ideas to our creatives, worked with the Studio on producing content, and filled in as a master of multiple trades as needed. Here are the three best examples of the work I accomplished in my short time with the agency.
Eephus Tour - Wondaland Activation
We secured a partnership with Janelle Monae's new record label, Wondaland. They were going on an eight-city tour and our client was looking for an activation that could connect the Camry with this new musical powerhouse.
Our client wanted to showcase the Toyota Camry in a compelling way to concertgoers, aligning Janelle Monae's tour with Camry's existing ad campaign.
A few ideas were pitched by the team during a meeting but nothing seemed to stick. I reached out to my colleague Lauren and we came up with a concept while still sitting in the meeting: An Alice-In-Wonderland-themed drive-in theater filled with Toyota Camrys, playing exclusive video of Janelle Monae laddering up to the ads we already started running.
Using Photoshop on my iPhone, I came up with this crude sketch.
At the end of the meeting, we pitched the idea to the group. The response was a resounding yes and we began working on the particulars immediately.
The Final Product
The drive-in theater activations were placed in every city the Eephus Tour played in. The Wondaland team made sure to have their label members at the activations, which helped draw massive crowds. We gave fans the opportunity to meet & greet as well as watch exclusive videos. They also got to get into the cars and listen to new songs from the Wondaland label. We learned from previous activations that giveaways are key, so we gave away branded selfie sticks, and to complete the drive-in experience, our brand ambassadors gave out cotton candy & popcorn. The tour generated massive buzz and fans got the opportunity to get hands-on with the new Toyota Camry. Some of our ideas were toned down due to budget and requirements by Janelle Monae's people, but all in all, our activation was a success.
AWAY GAME VIDEO SERIES
Our client requested a video series to complement their latest 30-second TV spot for Toyota Corolla to generate interest from African Americans aged 20-34.
Our creative team pitched multiple ideas that tied in to their 30-second spot, but nothing seemed to work. They needed some fresh eyes on the project.
Several team members got together to discuss ideas for videos that would work across Toyota's social media feeds and ladder up to the initial advertisement.
My idea was simple enough—hire a TV personality to host and surprise some young people with a test drive. The host could tout the Corolla in a natural way and take the young people to cool spots around town that they hadn't been to before. The idea was a hit and it ended up becoming a six-part video series.
The Final Product
I pitched the idea to our creative team, who then molded the idea into this series with ESPN2's Michael Smith and young Chicagoans traveling around the city, stepping out of their comfort zones and upping their Away Games. Here's one example:
#MAKEYOURMARK - SXSW ACTIVATION
Our team worked with a tech partner to create an interactive activation showcasing the Toyota Corolla at SXSW in Austin, TX. The activation had a Corolla in a glass box, and every time a user sent a tweet with the hashtag #MakeYourMark, paintball guns shot multicolored balls at a canvas. This was the second activation using this technology.
We had pressure to make a lasting impression on our audience after the first iteration didn't gather much buzz. We needed to improve interaction with guests and increase our social media impressions.
I was added to the team to lend some fresh perspective to what was already a very cool concept. The activation made abstract art with paintball guns where the trigger was a tweet. It needed a boost to get the viewership that it deserved. Our struggle for attention would be even harder at SXSW due to the sheer volume of brands activating at the same time.
We made a smart partnership with REVOLT Media, increasing our online presence significantly. REVOLT brought in some buzz-worthy musicians, and we worked with Chicago muralist Rahmann Statik to make the outcome of the activation more impressive than abstract paint splotches. We still needed to get people to shoot a lot of paintballs by tweeting and thankfully, I had an idea.
A New Kind of Photo Booth
I love photo booths. I make them for parties from time to time because nothing makes people happier than to snap pictures with friends and share them on social media. With help from my creative partner HIlary, we took some test shots of my idea: a Light Writing Photo Booth. With a five-second exposure and some little flashlights, we managed to get these great shots.
In order to take pictures like this in sunny Austin, we would need a lightproof enclosure and software that could automate the process of taking the shots and tweeting them. I reached out to some Austin-based photo booth companies and found Say Cheese Photo Booths. They were accommodating to our requests and helped us to create what we envisioned. The photo booth did three things for our client.
1. Give people a reason to tweet
No one wants to shill for a company. Everyone wants to be their own brand these days and unless they have a great reason to share a hashtag, it's not going to happen. In this case, the software urged guests to send a tweet every time their pictures were taken. This ensured that every photo acted as a trigger for a paintball gun to go off.
2. People love freebies
SXSW is Spring Break for Adults. It's a great place to go on a budget to listen to great music and get some great freebies. In addition to the free, unique photo, users got to keep their finger flashlights along with bandanas from our media partner REVOLT.
3. Give people a unique experience
At an event like SXSW, people need more than just a freebie. They want an experience they haven't had before. By the end of the event, they got the experience of crowdsourcing a piece of art.
Each part of the activation laddered up to our original goal of getting higher interaction with consumers and the end result was a work of art.
The Final Product
Even though we got rained out two of the three days of our activation, we got an excellent response for our event. Over 2 million impressions on the twitter #makeyourmark hashtag, over 8000 paintball blasts over 3 days.