What was the brief from VanMoof?
Bradley: So, our friends at VanMoof came to us with another exciting challenge — tease the latest VanMoof venture (the smartest speed bike ever) without giving it all away.
Put simply, this was a concept car launch, but for a bike, as bikes are the future! (And as VanMoof so eloquently puts it, a future we should ‘ride together’.)
With speed being the main feature of this bike we wanted to build an exciting, ownable visual world that had speed at the heart of it. Concept car launches very often follow a tried and tested aesthetic of dramatic lighting with hints of product. We felt there was another way in. Another way to hide, conceal and in other words ‘tease’ a product.
How did you go about bringing it to life?
Bradley: Speed is cliche. If you type that on Google you’ll probably get endless long exposures and light trails (I just checked and yes, lots of them as well as the odd cheetah). We therefore wanted to look at speed in a new way, one without these typical motifs but which could still act as an instant read of speed & movement.
This is where we had some fun. Looking at slit scans, at distortion, at horizontal motion blur, and at combining them all together. Not one cheetah in sight. What was perfect about this approach was it allowed us to tease the bike, painting in and out areas that we wanted to obscure. Never giving it all away. I’ll let Tosh really break down the design process as he, Maxim, Nem and Sergio nailed it and created what I believe feels like a fresh yet understandable interpretation of speed.
Tosh: Maxim came up with this elegant solution for the stills, using in-camera refraction and motion blur to create a painterly effect that gave us a lot of control over how we selectively revealed elements of the bike, this was of course important given the “teaser” nature of the brief. The beauty of the in-camera solution was that it doesn’t feel forced, it’s very organic and considered.
When we then took this over into animation, we added some extra layers of refraction that were shutter synced, like a zoetrope, which give you these beautiful optical flares and sparks from the highlights. The combination really helps sell the sense of speed and these airy forms flowing around the bike.
It was a nice technique as it gave a lot of room to find those happy accidents, nudging the refractions around a small amount would create dramatically different results. It’s always a case of making the time to iterate and experiment to find the sweet spot.
What factors do you have to consider when creating work intended for social channels?
Bradley: Well, although social is its own medium and requires certain technical qualities you perhaps wouldn’t need to consider in say a traditional TVC or print asset the essence for me is still the same. Any brief, social or not should be approached creatively and conceptually first. It should always keep the brand’s objective front and centre from which you can realign to if you get carried away in say… pretty patterns, colours and compositions (guilty).
At The Mill we always want something to be creative. To be beautiful, to grab your attention and make you want to learn more. But above all, we want to be able to sell the product or service. These qualities are the same for social as they are anywhere else. With a clear and strong idea and great craft there should never be a real problem.
One thing I would say specifically about social (& digital) is the adaptability of assets. Square crops, crops for .com, articles, newsletters, stories, all require content to have flex or to have something bespoke made. Clear goals and deliverables at the start make this process easy to plan for and allow the final creative to look its best. Who wouldn’t, for the same price, want made-to-measure over something retrofitted?