Mekanism is an independent creative advertising agency with offices in New York, San Francisco and Chicago and Seattle. Recently, I had a chance to chat with Sarah DiLeo, Executive Producer & Managing Director at Mek Studios, Mekanism’s full service in-house production and post company, about them and the work they do.
DiLeo is currently located in New York (previously she was based in LA). She pointed me in the direction of some noteworthy projects including a humorous spot for Zola, an online site that allows you to create wedding registries, invitations as well as free wedding websites.
From a production standpoint, the Zola spot looks great, with its lighting, color to its cinematography. In the commercial, three different couples are seen being married by a clergy person. However, instead of repeating the usual wedding vows, they all express their regret at not having used Zola to plan their wedding.
It turns out that an unexpected turn of events ended up generating controversy around the spot since one of the couples portrayed getting married was a same-sex couple (two women). Because of this, an organization called One Million Moms boycotted the Hallmark Channel for airing the ad which, in turn, prompted Hallmark to pull the ad from their channel.
This resulted in a considerable amount of media attention from such media outlets as Adweek, Variety, The New York Times and by such TV personalities as Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. As a result of the backlash, the Hallmark Channel reversed their decision and issued an apology. In the end, Hallmark’s move led to more visibility and press for the spot than if they had not tried to remove it.
Mekanism recently produced online dating site OKCupid’s first spot. To make it, they worked with Chilean animator Xaviera Lopez who used a combination of shooting live action actors and subsequently drawing over the footage in Adobe Photoshop. She then brought in the frames into Adobe After Effects for the final animation and compositing. The result was an endearing illustrative style, sort of like a moving pen and ink drawing. The spot also commented on the changing face of dating during these changed times.
DiLeo also highlighted a recent campaign for Uber called Pride Progress, which was made up of a series of short subjects which featured LGBTQ members of the Uber community in honor of World Pride Day. These Uber workers were portrayed in their cities of origin such as Berlin, Mexico City and New York. Each short showed them talking about their lives and working or driving for the company. The spots culminated when they were given a special pride flag by Uber to which they posed with for the camera. The Uber Pride Progress campaign was honored by the Webby Awards.
Other notable recent work are several commercials for Love Wellness, a company that provides supplements, personal care products and multivitamins for women. These colorful and playful spots feature three different women (young, mature and pregnant), each with their own respective needs that were addressed by a Love Wellness product.
Other interesting projects include an interactive content series for Jose Cuervo (with production partner Mssing Pieces), and featuring celebrity talent Ilana Glazer, Keke Palmer, Lil Dicky and T-Pain. In it, community gatherings were built on Discord where fans had the opportunity to talk to (and have a drink with) the celebrities in real time.
Mekanism’s current client list also includes Ben & Jerry’s, Peloton, Amazon, Alaska Airlines, Charles Schwab, Jose Cuervo, Talenti and more. There is a large collection of work to see on Mekanism’s website.
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