CNN recently tapped New York-based entertainment branding agency loyalkaspar to develop a multi-platform branding and marketing campaign for its new documentary series The Seventies, a follow up to last year’s CNN Original series The Sixties.
The eight-part series from Emmy award-winning producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, in association with HBO and producer Mark Herzog, paints a vivid portrait of the 1970s, through the use of raw and rarely seen archival footage, as well as interviews with journalists, historians, musicians and television artists who were eyewitnesses to history. The Seventies airs Thursdays, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.
Led by creative director Anna Minkkinen, loyalkaspar worked closely with CNN to create a series of promos and teasers, as well as key art and brand elements for The Seventies campaign’s digital components.
“The ’70s are profoundly relevant to many of the major global issues America faces today including energy, equal rights and terrorism,” said Minkkinen. “The decade revealed the consequences of the ’60s and, ultimately, set the stage for our modern world today.”
Drawing a connection to The Sixties campaign motif, television’s entry into the American home, loyalkaspar used classic instant photographs to frame the subjects explored in the second installment of the series. These photos became historical windows into the different aspects of the ’70s.
“We wanted this campaign to have its own personality as a decade within the larger brand of the series,” said Minkkinen. “When the first truly instant camera came out in 1972, it was the quintessential consumer-facing technology of the time, and the perfect device to visually underscore the purveying theme of change explored in CNN’s series.”
The teasers and launch promo are backed by iconic ’70s songs, including the revolutionary chant of Queen‘s “We Will Rock You” in the launch spot, a dynamic stop-motion collage of instant photographs and sound bites that capture the essence of the decade.
“Music played an integral role in conceiving the campaign early on,” explained Minkkinen. “Not only was it a big part of the ’70s ethos, but also it spoke to the decade’s split personality with the rise of disparate disco and punk genres.”
Lyrics played into scripting and visualizing important themes, as loyalkaspar selected songs for their layered meanings: “Let’s Get It On” suggests the sexual revolution, while it invites viewers to tune in to the series itself; the melancholy “Dream On” speaks to the complexity of the American dream amid watershed political scandals; and “I Will Survive” simultaneously offers the iconic escape of disco beats while it suggests a need for determination amid painful times.
Loyalkaspar combined an array of design and filmmaking techniques to create the spots. The intensive pre-production process included detailed animatics and tests to map out camera moves choreographed to the music, as well as prop selection to ensure historical accuracy and to create a cohesive color palette.
The company captured the nostalgic environments primarily in-camera on Phantom and Red cameras, using a Technocrane to achieve complex long takes with curving moves that travel over detailed sets. “Dream On” evokes the POV of a determined journalist, as the camera moves across a colorful desk of ’70s artifacts, including a typewriter, rotary telephone and a Watergate-headlined newspaper. The team also shot additional background plates for future episodic promotions.
“We wanted these spots to feel photographic and expressive of the time, which was a big motivation for capturing the environments in camera,” said Minkkinen. “We did rely on CG for certain shots, but by combining real elements with our CG strategically, we were able to keep the spots feeling organic.”