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App commercial transcends East-West boundaries

The most useful new apps are increasingly those that are most niche. Problem is, they're also the most difficult to explain. Take Yellow Ribbon, created by Korean company MagnaLAB (opens in new tab). The app lets you send a message to someone that can only be opened when they get to a specific location the sender dicates. How do you explain that concept - and why it's useful - in a quick video ad (opens in new tab)?

Fab Design (opens in new tab), an animation and post-production studio based in Bari, Italy, were tasked with this challenge. To make matters even trickier, explains Fab's Francesco D'Ambrosio, "MagnaLAB wanted an 'Eastern looking' feeling - since the company is based in South Korea but looking to expand their audience to Europe and North America - with a style that could appeal a young audience (20-30 years old), with minimal use of text and without any kind of voice-over."

Emotional heart

The sweet story told by the ad conveys the purpose of the ad without words

The sweet story told by the ad conveys the purpose of the ad without words

After trying several different ideas, Fab came up with this low poly commercial, which goes to the emotional heart of how the app could be used. The sweet story gives a relaxed, childlike feel to the ad that breaks down any knee-jerk resistance in the viewer to "yet another app". Sometimes less is more, and here the lo-fi approach to animation is very well chosen.

The entire animation was created with Blender (opens in new tab), and the render engine used was Cycles. A small amount of post-production was added with After Effects (opens in new tab).

Global response

The low-poly approach to the 3D is entirely appropriate

The low-poly approach to the 3D is entirely appropriate

The ad has not appeared on TV but has done storming business across social media, with new users are signing up from all around the world including Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

"We think we have hit just the right note with the audience in terms of emotional engagement, as many people were saying that they were 'deeply moved' by the way how the video ignited their imagination," says D'Ambrosio. "What makes it even more exciting is that we were able to transcend cultural differences. Even though we wanted to speak more to an Eastern audience, part of our primary target audience included Korean users, and they've been describing the video as 'beautiful', 'enticing', 'mesmerizing' and 'enchanting'.

"It can be very difficult to strike the right balance between promoting something and showing your creativity, especially when you deal with a very short promotion video. However, we were lucky enough to achieve some of both with this particular project."

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