Responses by Marcio Doti, associate creative director; Zack Menna, group creative director; João Paz, head of design; Rich Singer, group creative director; and Ricard Valero, executive creative director, MullenLowe New York.
Background: “The Brooklyn Film Festival prides itself on never censoring its filmmakers, allowing them to express themselves in any way they see fit. We think it’s important for artists to have that kind of freedom,” say Zack Menna and Rich Singer. “Art is meant to provoke and push boundaries. We grow by exposing ourselves to other peoples’ opinions and points of view. Unfortunately, a lot of people are uncomfortable with that. It’s hard to sit through something you disagree with. But we wanted to make it known that the Brooklyn Film Festival is for people curious enough for that sort of thing and is meant to challenge everyone equally. It’s up to us if we want to be put off by it or if we will allow it to make us better.”
Design thinking: “We wanted to bring the concept to life in a way that was purely visual, embracing the power of the medium and its simplicity,” says João Paz. “We came up with a series of characters that were always annoyed in some weird, fun way. We wanted the overall concept and ironic approach to tie it all together, so we partnered with Trier-based animation studio FOREAL to define a unique style that wasn’t anthropomorphic but felt deeply human at the same time.”
Challenges: “Getting the tone right,” says Marcio Doti. “We were very careful not to take sides, feeling that a campaign called Something to Offend Everyone should indeed offend everyone. We wanted to encourage everyone to listen to other peoples’ points of view—even points of view that we don’t agree with—because that’s the only way we’ll create a safe environment for the arts. The provocative, strange black characters against the vibrant colors challenge the audience; their expressions and explosive reactions are unexpected. It’s intended to inspire a reaction too.”
Favorite details: “We love how the campaign captures a complex concept in a very simple way,” says Ricard Valero. “We needed it to feel odd and somehow difficult to watch, but we also wanted it to be absolutely beautiful. The general elements make it memorable: the black characters, the colorful backgrounds, the type compositions and the simple design. However, the details are what make it powerful, interesting and fun. Their expressions and the way they manifest themselves. Why are they all angry? What are they looking at? What prompts those reactions? What we are probably most proud of is that all of these choices feel very unexpected; as a result, the campaign truly feels different and stands out undeniably.”
Time constraints: “We did not have much time, so we had to collaborate very closely with FOREAL to get the right characters in time,” Doti says. “While the studio explored many ways to bring the characters to life, we worked on many situations on our end. Then, we would meet and choose the ones we preferred together. It took some time to get the right physiognomy for the characters, their color, shapes, attitude and expressions. But when we arrived at the black textures, that was it for us—and everything moved very fast. The lack of time worked in our favor because it forced us to decide quickly and work together in a complementary way.”
Divergent paths: “I wish we’d had a bit more time. We could have decided on moving forward with this series a bit earlier,” says Doti. “We had a different design execution that we loved, a different idea. Same concept, but expressed differently using the actual films of the festival. The back and forth between both routes took some time away from us.
“More time would also have given us the possibility of adding some characters and situations that we could not execute in time,” Doti continues. “But then, we probably would have thought over everything much more. I’m not sure that would have been a good thing.”