FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS.
Ahhhh, Gold Status. Lounge Access, Priority Boarding, feeling like George Clooney in “The Air Up There”. Wait, no that was the Kevin Bacon basketball movie. Whatever, you get the idea. Rewards programs on airlines have been around for a long time, encouraging repeat customers with a few perks that turn them from brand fans to brand fanatics. Seems like a good idea in other industries as well, if they had a status program at the local not-so-secret taco spot, the entire Seattle office would be Diamond Certified Platinum.
And then there’s coffee. Coffee is personal, coffee is important, ask us on a pre-10am conference call and we’ll tell you coffee is life. Starbucks knows this better than anyone, and with their Starbucks Rewards program it makes it a little bit easier to get that morning latte. Hit Gold Status and you’ve unlocked the mother load of caffeine fueled convenience. To help communicate the benefits of the program. The homies at 72andSunny invited us to help create an illustrative, integrated campaign that stretched across a series of animated spots and banners.
Every multi-spot, multi-platform campaign needs a freshly ground look.
The Starbucks Coffee Cup. A classic piece of American design that will find it’s way into the Smithsonian at some point in our lifetimes. When establishing the look of this cross platform campaign, we started with Starbucks most iconic product. After a few options we landed on what we would refer to as a 2.5D version of the cup, where shadows were present, but graphic. The Starbucks logo simplified to a solid green circle.
Establishing our cast of characters. After we developed the simplified, dimensional style of our world, we tasked ourselves with creating all of the drinks available at Starbucks: From Lattes to Teas, to Iced, and Blended Drinks.
Let’s Give Them Something to Celebrate. Attaining Gold Status is something that is earned, like priority seating and complimentary Miller Lites at the NHRA Southern Nationals. So let’s celebrate it! With every bounce, tip, or pour we animate lines that accented the animation. It’s a little flair to celebrate the accomplishment.
With a simple style, comes a focus on refined butter croissant smooth animation.
Is it wrong to drink from a cup that has character? Early in the exploration we had to find the right balance of character and personality in our inanimate cups. They guide us through the rewards program, and personify us as we side step the line, or blow out the candle on our birthday latte. Although the first inclination is to squash, stretch, and bend them like Beckham at Santa Monica Yoga Class, turns out the reality of that is a little too far. We had to maintain an integrity to the iconic Starbucks cup. Instead we relied on simple rotations that could be made by a cup, using the bold green circle as our character’s eye line.
Coffee Consistency. We talking French Roast here? Cafe Verona maybe? Guatemala Antigua? Surprisingly, we worked a bit to get just the right visual consistency in our animated coffee. Couldn’t be too light, thin, or to the opposite extent too dark and opaque. We also had to be wary of making a mess it. You probably shouldn’t be splashing scalding hot coffee all over the place, as fun as that would look.
Motion + HTML Banners. Part of 72’s challenge with this project was producing a campaign that was equally weighted between traditional animation and HTML banners. They knew from the start that they needed a studio that could handle both aspects under one cohesive creative vision. Our developers, designers, animators and directors worked together on parallel paths to help develop a consistent integrated campaign across all platforms. The level of finesse and love put into the traditional motion should absolutely be the same you see in the banner that pops in the corner of your browser.
What’s Your Perfect Starbucks Location? We produced a handful of animations for Starbucks – last but certainly not least in which was a Showcase spot for the campaign that combined aspects of the other spots with an introduction that featured an iconic Starbucks location. Finding that perfect location took a bit of exploration. Was it a stand alone store? An interior location? How much attitude, and personality? We designed them all. Our favorite including a laptop from some writer working on their first draft of the next Corey Feldman film. Pretty accurate.
LIKE YOUR VIRGIN AMERICA GOLD STATUS… BUT MORE, PERMANENT.
We promised not to get into a tirade about being a bitter Barista through our college years when we first started writing this case study. So far we’ve been doing well. Working intimately with 72 on this campaign was nothing but pure joy, the exact opposite of working the 5am shift on a Monday. It was a great team effort, that ended with some pretty fine animation for a great brand.
We love narrative driven animation. The extra challenge of translating that over to HTML banners was something that really peaked our interests. Banners are often the bastard child of campaigns. Why should they be? Everything we do is approached with the same love of the craft. If we’re going to throw down a banner, we’re going to make them look as good as anything else. Seriously though, smile when you grab your drink off the bar – those kids are working hard to put themselves through school.