OK Go And Morton Salt Make Every Moment Count
Philip Ellison 28 November, 2016 at 12:11
A new music video from OK Go is always something of an event. The band found viral fame when they jumped onto those treadmills for their 2007 single ‘Here It Goes Again’, and they’ve been pushing visual boundaries ever since. Their latest offering is ‘The One Moment,’ which in true OK Go style stretches the limits of what can be achieved in the video medium.
The entire film was shot in just 4.2 seconds, but at a frame rate so high that the footage is then slowed down to last the full duration of the song, revealing a series of stunning slow-motion effects. It’s the kind of video that rewards multiple viewings, with a number of powerful individual moments contained within that one sweeping shot.
‘The One Moment’ is a collaborative project with Morton Salt; an unlikely-seeming partnership, but one built on a shared vision. Morton Salt are shifting their values as a company, with a renewed internal focus on optimism. ‘The One Moment,’ which explores the idea of how a single second can make all the difference in the world, is a way to help share that optimism outwardly.
“It was exciting and nerve-racking,” says Amy Gozalka, Creative Director at Ogilvy Chicago, who led the project alongside Associate Creative Director Kara Coyle. This entire endeavour has been unlike anything either of them has ever worked on before. Morton Salt is over 160 years old, a household name that has never needed to do much in the way of advertising. The brand wanted to reach out and connect with a younger consumer, but a traditional commercial simply wasn’t going to cut it. “You can’t just sell products any more,” says Kara; “you have to sell an idea and a set of values.”
And so ‘Walk Her Walk’ was born, a master brand platform inspired by the iconic Morton Salt logo. The image of a girl walking in the rain is widely perceived as whimsical, but Kara and Amy both think there is more to her than first meets the eye. “We saw badassery in her,” says Kara. “She’s going somewhere. So we pivoted how people see her, and made her someone worth following.”
While OK Go are incredibly well-known for music videos, often their music isn’t as talked about. Amy thinks this single could change that. “The song is pretty much what hooked us — it had the perfect vibe and tone we were after,” she says. “It’s a metaphor for how, when you slow down in life, you can step up and make a difference.”
‘Walk Her Walk’ challenges notions of what a salt brand stands for, and invites consumers to participate in this new journey. The platform is currently partnered with five social good “difference-makers”: Adarsh Alphons of Project Art, Blair Brettschneider of Girl Forward, Michelle Edgar of Music Unites, Seth Maxwell of The Thirst Project, and Haile Thomas of The Happy Organisation. Each of them is, as Kara puts it, “just a regular citizen who wanted to support a cause, so they took a chance and did something about it.”
From day one, everybody was in agreement: if they could find a way to incorporate the brand into the video that felt natural, great — but if it felt forced, they wouldn’t do it. In the end, all five causes were featured in the video, via thematically resonant allusions; the exploding guitars represent Music Unites, the water balloons stand in for The Thirst Project, and so on. All of the influencers were present at the shoot (a behind-the-scenes video was being filmed at the same time), which Amy feels contributed an extra layer to the production; everybody involved understood why they were so important to the project.
“Doing something this untraditional is brave, it’s a leap of faith,” says Kara. “But OK Go understand branding, they understand what attracts millennials… and they understand entertainment.” From their first conversation with the band in July, it took five months to craft the “giant equation” of the video, from ensuring that each mini-scene contained something new and surprising, and experimenting with what materials looked cool when exploding in slow motion.
For Amy, the many challenges they faced going into production were the most enjoyable part: “The minute someone said ‘you can’t do this,’ the entire crew would say ‘we’re going to figure it out and do it.’” It could take up to 11 hours to record a single shot, she recalls — not that the art department were left to do all the work. Lead singer Damian Kulash had a vast Excel spreadsheet he kept referring to, she says, containing each and every aspect of the shoot.
It was the kind of shoot where anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. But Amy and Kara both agree, it was also one of the most fun things they have ever been involved in. “It felt right, and the client felt it was right,” says Amy. “It’s cool to make things, but it’s even cooler to do something that’s never been done before — especially something that has a deeper purpose.”
We spoke to Damian Kulash last year at Cannes Lions about keeping your creative identity. Watch the video here.