Ogilvy’s EX team speeds up IBM video production with Adobe Stock footage

Image of a dam.

Image source: Adobe Stock/JR Pixels.

As one of the most storied agencies in advertising since its founding in 1948, Ogilvy has evolved alongside the increasing vitality of branding. As companies’ outward-facing imagery progressed from logos and ads to an entire persona built around color palettes, visual guidelines, messaging voice, and content ideals, Ogilvy evolved too. Its teams in 132 offices across 83 countries worldwide accumulated vast experience in making brands matter, inside and out.

Many of Ogilvy’s clients rely on the agency for internal brand extensions, including sales enablement tools and employee activation content, which is the specialty of Ogilvy’s Employee Experience (EX) practice. Based in Denver, this group of multidisciplinary creatives works together to formulate engagement, training and sales content, and tools that are as on-brand as any messaging that would go out to clients and consumers.

“We’re a relatively small creative team, but we try to be smart about how we partner across our network and with our vendors as well as how we use our processes and tools to get really efficient everywhere we can,” says Andy Campbell, creative director with Ogilvy’s EX practice. The result is engaging and informative content that helps a client’s employees “become ambassadors for that brand, equip them with the education and tools they need to live and breathe that brand, and communicate it to the world, no matter what their role.”

Read on to learn more about how Ogilvy makes its B2B marketing magic (despite having to jump several hurdles unique to this type of creative production) — with the help of Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Stock’s library of video assets along the way.

Creative multitasking

Ogilvy’s creative team of writers, designers, and editors prides itself on a certain amount of scrappiness when it comes to optimizing skills and tools for the best output. Each member of Ogilvy’s EX creative force possesses many talents, and the group collaborates actively throughout workflows, working to keep from “camping out” in silos of design, copy, and content creation that can crop up in production scenarios.

Ogilvy’s EX team is made even more efficient by its ability to maximize creative resources across the Ogilvy network. “We draw on the talents and skills of our amazing colleagues from other specialty teams wherever we can,” Campbell explains. Close collaboration with the client also speeds the production and review process along toward a mutually realized vision of clear and engaging content.

Flexible tools for the job

Another way Ogilvy’s EX practice boosts the effectiveness of its multitalented abilities is with the Adobe Creative Cloud. Within the Adobe ecosystem, work easily flows from one Adobe application to another. One person can storyboard in Adobe InDesign while another is drawing using Illustrator and then creating vectors in After Effects. All the editing happens in Premiere Pro. The team also uses PDFs for proofing and Bridge for asset management.

“Beyond the heavy lifting handled with the help of Creative Cloud tools such as Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, and XD, even just the fact that all the keyboard shortcuts are the same across applications is a real asset,” Campbell says. “The ease of version tracking, proofing, and commenting are all a huge help.”

Meanwhile, for Terry Coleman, production designer with Ogilvy, the ability to run a whole wireframe for a digital tool in XD, share it with the client, version control it, and then go in and start prototyping high-fidelity graphics in the same tool, is huge. Then at the same time, he says, “if you need nice icon illustrations, you can get somebody else doing that, and they can put that in the cloud and pad it right into your file. It’s super powerful, and I think right now, we’re still in the infancy of the capability of what we can use Creative Cloud for with our team.”

The right look for a big brand

Ogilvy recently turned to Adobe Stock’s video offerings for a five-part B2B video series for IBM. An Ogilvy client for 36 years and counting, IBM was looking to create content that would help explain complex technological concepts related to its artificial intelligence (AI) for business solutions.

In the first phase of discussions for this or any EX project, a decision is made about the best way to convey information. Will it require a series of animations, or can the story be told with video clips? “If it’s video, we almost always go to stock, just because our B2B sales funnel and internal enablement clients very rarely have the time and budget to shoot something original,” says Campbell.

For this IBM project, the project team determined that stock footage was the way to go, interspersed with a few vector diagrams that would be created in After Effects. And so the search began for video clips and images that would be on-brand. “When we start on an IBM project, or really any client that has a distinct look to its imagery, it’s important that we have as many options available to us as possible,” Campbell explains, “because we need enough variety to stitch together a cohesive look.”

To match IBM’s specific color brand guidelines, the team was able to specify a hex color in the Adobe Stock search variables. “That makes a lot of sense from a creative standpoint to search that way,” Coleman notes.

The ability to search Adobe Stock video clips by specific colors helped the Ogilvy EX team find options that matched IBM’s brand guidelines.

Without question, there would be a lot of clips required for each of the five videos. “We were going for lots of clips and quick cuts so that there’s always something engaging happening every other second on screen in very uncluttered, beautiful compositions,” Campbell details.

From the start, Ogilvy’s EX team could imagine the types of clips it would require, and it started amassing them in the Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, where designers stored clips in a central location so all team members could easily access the latest assets. This is no small feat, when one final cut could contain 50 clips of stock footage. They browsed all the clips with the help of Adobe Bridge.

“Having Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries eliminated the need for us to save any Adobe Stock assets to our hard drives and place them somewhere,” says Nita Heroepermatasari, associate creative director and team lead in video and animation. Also a helpful feature in the current remote-work scenario, drawing clips from the library and sharing libraries among team members means that no one gets stuck with a bunch of broken links after revisions to an InDesign file when an asset is sitting on a local hard drive somewhere.

After reading the IBM video scripts and storyboarding them, the team added the clips to a comp to share with the client via PDF, where stills of each clip could be clicked and viewed by the client.

Seeing the clips in the storyboard frame by frame gave a realistic preview of the look and feel of each piece during a production phase when it’s easy to swap out clips that might not fit the idea or style. Having a wide array of Adobe Stock’s high-resolution, nonwatermarked clip options at the ready made it easy for EX to sub in new ideas throughout the review process.

After seeing an early storyboard of the “Analyze” video, for example, the client wanted to see an alternative option for the opening metaphor. So the Ogilvy team went back to Adobe Stock to find new clips and landed on the concept of coffee making, from bean to brew.

The client loved the new idea, and having checked the opening sequence off the list, the team was able to focus on other areas where pacing or imagery could be tweaked. Too many overhead drone shots? Try some new angles. It was easy to go back to the Adobe Stock library and choose a new clip and then show a new comp.

Coming in on time, on budget, and on-brand

After a review process that kept the client informed about the vision for the piece all along the way, by the time the editors put the video together, the final product was right in line with expectations.

“They were really happy with it,” Campbell says. “They agreed with our clip choices. It felt like IBM. It had that uncluttered appearance, it had the cool color palette, and it all worked together really seamlessly. Our editors had the footage selection they needed from us to keep it quick and dynamic so that something’s always happening onscreen to illustrate what you’re hearing in the voice-over.”

Ogilvy used a fast-paced sequence of Adobe Stock video clips to clearly illustrate the concepts described in the voice-over.

Creating a look as envisioned by this dynamic team happened smoothly and efficiently, and it was all done on time — and on a budget and timeline that had no room for multilocation shoots. Based on its great experience with Adobe Stock’s catalog and pricing, the Ogilvy team expects to make a habit of looking there first before tapping into other footage stock houses. The team will no doubt find what it’s looking for, and many more options besides, so it can continue creating client stories with precisely tuned, on-brand imagery.

“Adobe Stock is a great resource,” Campbell confirms. “We can find high-quality video clips, and it also provides us with nonwatermarked hi-res comp images that make the proofing phases so much easier. So, when an original shoot is out of the question, the good news is, we can resource stock assets quickly and extremely efficiently — with less investment.”