Ever come up with that perfect concept during a brainstorm? The one that energizes the room? You know, it’s the idea that gets designers sketching, writers drafting and account staff thinking in campaigns rather than individual promotions. That’s exactly what happened when WhiteSpace Creative was brainstorming a lead-generation campaign for our client OEConnection® (OEC). As the automotive industry’s largest original- equipment parts marketplace, OEC wanted to leverage its size and experience to inspire trust.
Hundreds of models will be available and inexpensive, right?
Our “big idea” was an aerial view of a large crowd of people forming an automotive gasket. Solidarity. Size. Confidence. In one quick hit, it told the OEC story. “The image was the element needed to pull together an entire campaign,” explained WhiteSpace Art Director Derek Stulpin. He noted that it would appear in a brochure, ad, direct mailer and video. There was just one small detail to consider – that the image required a large crowd of people forming an automotive gasket.
If you build it, they will come.
Everyone knows that stock photography has inherent limitations. Derek ruled it out from the beginning for this particular project, explaining, “OEC couldn’t achieve its desired outcome with a stock image. The campaign hinged on an extremely unique shape.” CGI, while an attractive option creatively, didn’t fit the budget. WhiteSpace instead collaborated with Todd Biss Photography to build a composite image using actual OEC employees. With this inventive technique, we built the gasket shape, while using OEC employees to enhance brand awareness.
Software, scissor lifts and shortages, oh my!
WhiteSpace Account Supervisor Heather Evans said, “Proper planning was key to the project’s success.” Whitespace had to secure equipment, coordinate the schedules of 200 OEC employees, and contend with rain and wind. Todd used software to skew Derek’s original sketch of the gasket to fit the OEC parking lot and calculate where each curve should be. Not a simple task.
On the day of the shoot, Todd and Derek braved 25-mph winds from a scissor lift as they shot employees in four groups. Fewer employees were available than expected, which meant more time in the air for Todd and Derek and a much longer editing process. They altered clothing, hair color and general appearances to ensure that no person appeared more than once in the composite.
Don’t look down!
OEC was pleased with the shot, and brochures featuring the image went to print in December. When asked what he learned from the experience, Derek was quick to say, “A good idea is worth fighting for. Work with what you have – and what you might not realize you have as a resource – to build a finished product that matches that idea. And the budget.”
Derek emerged from his time spent on a scissor lift in 25-mph sustained gusts with some practical life advice, too: “When you’re in the air, 22 feet seems a lot higher!” So, while some agencies will tell you not to look back when you commit to a great concept, WhiteSpace says, “Don’t look down!”
Check out more WhiteSpace projects that feature original photography