With all of the ads vying for your attention, it takes great creative to make an impact. In the case of the San Francisco based sneaker company Allbirds, it also takes getting soft and cozy. Case in point, Allbirds is getting noticed for its quirky charm in this feature article by Ad Age, and we couldn’t be more excited for Opinionated, based right here in our hometown of Portland, OR.
Ad vet Mark Fitzloff sent his team from Opinionated to us early in the creative process. What does soft and cozy sound like? Well, who better to mull that question than veteran sound designer Chip Sloan. So copywriter Scott Fish, art director Vicky Mo, and producer Emily Fincher kicked off a pre-production meeting with images, videos, and musical inspiration at our facility (on a snow day nonetheless). Unlike traditional approaches that would first provide picture to put sound to, they asked Chip to compose varying degrees of weird, wacky, and original concepts to inspire them.
The team was able to explore music and sonic ideas together, getting immediate feedback and making adjustments, before picture was locked. Chip was excited about the experience and added, “They’re just awesome people who weren’t lying when they said ‘we just want to make this the best it can be.’”
While Chip does not consider himself to be a traditional composer, he immediately came out of that first meeting with a boatload of ideas that he sketched on his “Keytar”. He also brought in staff producer Laura Ocean to play some moody guitar and add blissful vocals. When asked about the process, Chip says “I want to scream it from the hilltops to all my clients. Hey you guys, we can do this high-level stuff! You want custom? I’ll do it. It’s not just music, let’s create a vibe.”
Chip presented 15 original pieces along with numerous tracks culled from our library. Working in tandem with the editor and agency, the end result featured Chip’s original hypnotic, flute-y vibes coupled with a deep track from 1972.
What made the collaboration work? Mutual trust. Chip elaborates on its success, “They really made me comfortable enough to take creative risks and not worry that they’re going to think bad things about it, because you need to fail in order to succeed. So you need to do music that’s not quite right in order to know what is going to be right, [I wasn’t] scared to just give them all these options as wacky as I could…And they applauded that rather than wrinkle their nose.”
Besides, who doesn’t want to be soft and cozy? Allbirds: they’re shoes you’ll feel good in and good about.