Did you know that global birthrates are declining? Or that robotics is choking off the best route to economic growth for poor countries? Project 2050 was a Wall Street Journal feature series exploring these and other surprising global trends, all of which might leave the world looking radically different by 2050.
Our job was to create content ads that reflected the series' wide-eyed, speculative tone. Sci-fi–ish designs coupled with copy strikethroughs suggested the unexpected future found in the stories.
The Original Stories series was created to support The Wall Street Journal’s most distinctive reporting. We wanted to ensure that these superior examples of enterprise journalism weren’t lost in the churn of 24/7 media. The challenge was to catch the eye of both jaded and new audiences without departing from the Journal’s tone and voice—and do it on tight timelines.
Financial News, an industry tabloid, wanted to be taken more seriously. Jokes seemed like an obvious route—jokes and stories, actually, with recognizable setups. This repeatable framework addresses the quality of FN's content in a knowing, clever voice, landing on a moral of sorts, an insight we offer up as the FN perspective.
To promote the Journal’s 2018 midterms coverage, we created this series of eye-catching animations for social and display. The idea was to position WSJ against the perception of media bias with optical illusions that, despite apparent distortions, reveal shapes of equal size. Copy reinforced the point that neither party would receive preferential treatment—facts and objectivity would always win out.
Writing ads for The Wall Street Journal, this brief was inevitable. WSJ is a Business paper; Donald Trump is a Business guy, after a fashion, and he certainly stacked his cabinet with Businesspeople. So yes, for WSJ's core audience, Trump as the Business President was an obvious angle. This is what we came up with, in about a half a day, just in time for the inauguration.
Here's the thing about brand safety—it's a stress inducer. Our message to buyers? The Wall Street Journal is such a safe placement, you can kick back, relax and perhaps even enjoy this Audubon-style wildlife painting.
A quarterly from WSJ. Magazine, The Future of Everything is something like Wired: a glossy look at the stuff the seems like speculative fiction but is actually right around the corner. For the most recent issue, we opted to skip the expected tech/future tropes in favor of a more time-worn idea of prognostication: tarot cards.
This content ad, promoting a series about the rise of algorithmic trading, screamed for a sci-fi treatment. We were amazed when The Wall Street Journal's top finance and markets editor chose this direction over solid but more-conservative options. Sometimes the best creative wins.
As the presidential election ramped up in the early part of 2016, much of the the media devoted its coverage to the more lurid and sensational aspects of the race. To emphasize that The Wall Street Journal focused on what was really at stake, we built a campaign on the platform “Story, Not Spectacle”.
The campaign positioned the Journal as the source for objective election coverage.
We created these brand ads to help sell Financial News as a smart, must-read source of financial reporting in London. Lacking much of an identity prior to this rebrand, FN wanted the ads to make a statement. They had to be clever and promote niche content in a compelling way. We thought we got there (though we preferred this concept) and the client agreed.
Mobile media consumption is media consumption. The Wall Street Journal audience lives in a world in which downtime is wasted time. They need instant access to data, news and insight, as circumstance demands or when and where they have a moment. With that in mind, we created concepts that speak to speed, motion and mastering time as an outgrowth of ambition. Most essentially, they position WSJ as a 21st-century media company and its apps as powerful tools for thriving in an information-driven, high-speed economy.
Conceived and executed in fire-drill fashion when we were thrown onto a pitch at the last minute, this conceptual platform was created for a case study rebrand of General Mills' Food Should Taste Good snack label. The brief posed this challenge: make FSTG's healthy snacks appealing to a hypothetical customer named Jamie, an average mid-30s guy "making the transition from dude to dad." (Yes, it really said that.)
We won the business.
The brief here was to hit jaded media buyers with an attention-grabbing brand safety message: Programmatic buys are dangerous and buyers should seek safe harbor with the eminently respectable Wall Street Journal.
Evoking fear was an obvious choice. After all what's more terrifying than the thought that nearly half your customers might drop your brand over a bad placement?
It was the height of summer, the beaches crowded. Naturally, we thought of Jaws.