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Amazing Design

A Stunning New Mastercard Ad Uses Accessible Marketing to Center People Who Are Visually Impaired

April 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

A brilliantly designed commercial for Mastercard is intended to be as accessible as the product it’s promoting. The project of filmmaker Fredrik Bond in collaboration with branding agency McCann, the advertisement opens with an audio description produced for people who are blind or partially sighted, a feature that overlays the remainder of the work.

The ensuing narrative, which is used as an essential storytelling device rather than optional addition, follows the protagonist, Marjorie—played by actress and activist Marilee Talkington—as she leaves her apartment to grab a coffee. A roving spotlight illuminates friends and passersby, who produce sound-generating activities that she parses as she walks down the sidewalk with a cane. Once at the cafe, Marjorie uses Mastercard’s new Touch Cards, which are notched in different shapes to help people who are visually impaired distinguish credit from debit from prepaid.

At its close, “Spotlight” amends the company’s long-running slogan with a pitch for more inclusivity and accessibility that mirrors the approach introduced by the commercial: “Because a world designed for all of us is priceless.”

 

 

 

 



Craft

An Astronaut Steers an Elaborately Constructed Paper Spaceship in a Window Display by Zim & Zou

December 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

Images © Nacása & Partners Inc., courtesy of Hermès Japon and Zim & Zou

Equipped with joysticks and panels of gauges and knobs, an intricately constructed spaceship built by Zim & Zou (previously) navigates through a starry expanse of whimsical planets and alien creatures. The pink-and-blue craft, which was designed as a window display for Hermès, is the latest project from the French artists, whose elaborate scenes and characters are constructed from precisely cut paper sculptures. This fantastical work, titled “Journey of a Lifetime,” peers over the adventurous protagonist, who traverses an unknown world amidst a chaotic scene of levers, monitors, and tea that’s flung into the air of the weightless environment. You can see details from the installation and more of Zim & Zou’s work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation Food

An Emotional Stop-Motion Ad Follows a Family Revitalizing Their Organic Farm

November 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

Ten years after Irish animator and director Johnny Kelly (previously) brought us a charming stop-motion ad for Chipotle about a farmer’s return to organic methods, he’s back with an emotional sequel that revisits the now-aging protagonist. The new short film, titled “A Future Begins,” follows the same mustached rancher as he struggles to maintain his pesticide-free fields and natural techniques amidst weather catastrophes and other struggles. When his son returns from college and a busy life in the city, the reunited family implements a range of sustainable technologies like solar panels, greenhouses, polyculture, and companion planting that make the farm thrive.

Kelly and the team behind the new ad documented their meticulous process in an immersive making-of video, which dives into pre-production digital mockups, techniques for hand-sculpting innumerable trees and the bucolic landscape, and updates to the puppets themselves, which feature magnetic waists that allow them to pivot in various stances. Similar to its award-winning predecessor, “A Future Begins” is paired with a Coldplay cover, with this iteration featuring “Fix You” by Kasey Musgraves.

Find more of Kellly’s animated projects and collaborations on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Dance Photography

A Wind Gust Propels a Graceful Cast Toward the Sea in a Fantastical Burberry Ad

October 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

A dreamy new ad for Burberry meditates on the dual powers of humanity and nature. Directed by Megaforce, “Open Spaces” zeroes in on four figures as they venture into a wheat field when a strangely powerful gust of wind propels them across the landscape. They subsequently rush toward a steep cliff in graceful, choreographed movements before saving each other in an airborne embrace. You can find more from the Paris-based director, who’s worked on promotional videos for the BBC, Tame Impala, and an array of high-end brands, on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 



Craft Design

A Whimsical Ad Uses Conductive Thread to Light Up Miniature Scenes Made of Yarn and Fabric

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Simple landscapes dotted with felt trees, miniature power lines, and spool-propelled ambulances become twinkling nightscapes and whimsically glowing scenes in “Connecting Thoughts.” The advertisement, which was created to promote the Japanese infrastructure firm Kandenko’s “Everyone Lights up the Future” message, uses Smart-X conductive thread to send electric currents through figures stitched into gloves and around yarn-based architecture, illuminating each scenario with tiny bulbs. This short piece follows the company’s 2016 ad, which used a conductive marker to create a dazzling pop-up book.

 

 

 



Documentary

An Advocacy Campaign Spotlights the Ordinary Lives of People with Disabilities in a Lighthearted Short Film

August 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

To kick off their joint WeThe15 campaign, the International Paralympic Committee and International Disability Alliance commissioned a short film that takes a humorous and playful approach to showcasing the ordinary lives of people with disabilities. Produced by Sam Pilling of Pulse Films, the ad uses a series of vignettes to spotlight members of the disability community, who speak to their joyful, frustrating, and routine experiences alongside the discrimination and stereotypes many confront on a daily basis.

WeThe15 will help launch the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and be shown at the opening ceremony on August 24. It hopes to spur greater visibility, inclusion, and accessibility for the 1.2 billion people living with disabilities worldwide, making it the largest marginalized group at about 15 percent of the global population. We’re also enjoying “Superhuman ’21,” a similarly lighthearted film by Rina Yang.