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Psyop Puts a Ring On It to Unveil One-Of-A-Kind Memento Celebrating the Company’s 21st Birthday

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As the creative pioneer turns 21, a special package was gifted to 'The League of Extraordinary Makers' who helped shape the company

Psyop Puts a Ring On It to Unveil One-Of-A-Kind Memento Celebrating the Company’s 21st Birthday

Today iconic creative studio Psyop celebrated its 21st birthday by gifting  commemorative, and potentially magical, rings to people who have contributed to the company’s journey and success. Recipients, and by association initiates into The League of Extraordinary Makers, include current and past employees, freelance talent, agencies, clients, execs around the globe. Seeded within the ring boxes is a distinguishable pamphlet explaining that Psyop is in fact an ancient life force of marketing dating back to the dawn of time, and letting recipients know: “For today you receive not just a wonderful metal circle to put upon your finger, but an entirely new view of the world as an Esteemed Member of a most select circle with otherworldly powers beyond mortal reckoning.” The one-of-a-kind stunt landed on desks this week, with Easter eggs and lore around the stunt being revealed through Psyop’s social handles.   

For over two decades Psyop has been setting the standard, and raising the bar, for design led visual storytelling, world building, capturing hearts and minds, and blurring the line between marketing and entertainment. The five founders, Marie Hyon, Kylie Matulick, Marco Spier, Todd Mueller and Eben Mears came together in 2000, broke the siloed, production and post production “facility” model, and forever changed the commercial production industry. As they do to this day, they combined design, 3D, 2D, live action and animation, using the tools available in innovative new ways to create some of the most groundbreaking and compelling work out there. While doing so, they have also created a global creative collective - an energetic and passionate community of artists and makers, who inspire each other to grow and do the best work possible. 

Celebrating its 21st anniversary in 2021, Psyop may have reached the symbolic age of independence and full maturity, yet it continues to revolutionize creative content production with all the wild ambition of its youth. Its boundary-pushing work is seen in memorable projects for the world’s biggest brands – among them, Supercell, Apple, Coke, IBM, Nike and EA – earning a breadth of honors from Emmy, Webby and Annie awards to ADC, Clio and Cannes Lion kudos, even becoming part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art. 

“We have changed our industry, influenced pop culture, and persuaded people to buy stuff - and so to celebrate Psyop letting loose and being ‘legal’, we are bestowing an artifact of the Psyop legacy upon the chosen few who have really touched us,” said all five founding partners collectively. 

In recent years, Psyop’s stellar roster has evolved well beyond the five founders including directors Terry Hall, Shane Griffin, Alexei Bochenek, Borja Pena, Fletch, Trevor Conrad, Tom Brown, Christian Bevilacqua, Jack Anderson, Luca Vitale, Goldenwolf, Le Cube, Buda, Rudo, Sun Creature, Igor & Valentine, Saiman Chow, and Wizz, as members of the League of Extraordinary Makers who represent the future of Psyop and will keep pushing boundaries, capturing hearts and minds for years to come! 

Among Psyop’s most iconic and revolutionary project a few highlights (which you can view here) include: 

· 2003 – Bombay Sapphire: “Drift” (:60) 

Working from a completely open brief, a “Psyop” labeled bottle of gin, and 9 words that encapsulated the brand,  Psyop combined design, 3D and 2D in entirely new ways to create a groundbreaking, stunning and quiet, Zen-like, film that kept the phone ringing for the following 3 years. 


· 2006 – MTV: “Crow” (1:33) 

To launch the “new” HD channel for MTV, Psyop pitched a dark “story” of a murder of crows, set to a twisted version of Beethoven’s classical masterpiece “Moonlight Sonata”. The pitch meeting was interesting(!) but credit to the MTV execs who took the leap of faith with their former employees (4 of the the Psyop founders were Viacom alums) to create another inventively original combination of design, 3D and 2D unlike anything anyone had seen before for MTV or anywhere else..  


· 2006 – Coca-Cola: “Happiness Factory” (1:30) 

Still one of the finest examples of blurring the line between marketing and entertainment (for a film where the product is in almost every shot!), Psyop, collaborating with Wieden and Kennedy Amsterdam, and their bold client, conceived of and built the Happiness Factory - the hidden world inside of a Coke machine populated with whimsical characters whose one purpose in life is to imbue each and every bottle of Coke with happiness, and spread it to the human world. The project, which tapped into the World’s deep love of the Coke brand, was one of the most successful commercials in Coca Cola’s history, and was the cornerstone of the 5 year “Happiness in a Bottle” campaign, spawning several follow up films, an on-line game, physical toys, and a World’s Fair pavilion. The original commercial earned multiple awards including a Creative Emmy nomination and a Cannes Silver Lion, and launched Psyop’s insurgence into full 3D character based world building and storytelling.  


· 2008 – Converse: “My Drive Thru” (2:30) 

For their 100 year Anniversary, Converse commissioned and released an original track by Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas, of the Strokes, and Santigold. Psyop collaborated with Anomaly to create a breathtakingly unique music video for the song depicting the artists as paper doll like figures connected by their Converse sneakers. Once again using design, live action and animation in an entirely new way, the production was extremely painstaking and labor intensive, but resulted in a deceptively simple film that was one of the Top Ten shared videos in its first day of release, with over 750,000 streams - a big number back then!! 


· 2013 – Clash of Clans: “Anthem” (:60) 

Psyop, ad agency Barton F Graff, and the Supercell clients ditched the “traditional” use of gameplay to market a game, and instead used Pixar quality 3D animation to bring fans down to the battlefield-level where they could be immersed in the action, humor, and excitement of their favorite strategy game. 8 years on, with nearly 60 minutes of content produced and 2+ Billion YouTube views and engagements, (including the most-watched 360 videos of the year), AR filters, experiential events and more, Psyop has helped turn the Clash universe into a full-up entertainment property. 


· 2018 – Travel Oregon: “Only Slightly Exaggerated” (1:30) 

This whimsical campaign uses animation to evoke the feelings of joyous wonder and discovery that travel to Oregon can bring, beyond what would have been possible with “just” live photography. The wildly successful campaign (one study found that for every $1 invested in Travel Oregon’s advertising campaigns, the state saw a return of nearly $157 in visitor spending and $8 in tax revenue for the benefit of Oregon residents) is now in its third year. 


· 2019 – KFC: “I Love you Colonel Sanders. A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator” 

Leveraging the rise of both “dating sims” and anime culture, Psyop and Wieden & Kennedy Portland  gave new life to KFC’s Colonel Sanders by creating an authentic experience that held up to scrutiny by the very fans who never expected a KFC-branded game to really get them. Building on skills and technology developed in their original content initiatives, Psyop wrote an hours-long, branching narrative experience packed with fun and familiar dating sim and anime tropes which created a genuine cultural moment, generated, 1.6 billion impressions, millions of views and engagements and $12m-$18m of free media in the first month, and is still being played by fans old and new 2 years later.  

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Psyop, Fri, 05 Nov 2021 16:59:00 GMT