If you’ve followed MCC for awhile, you’re probably familiar with our philosophy of creating communications that appeal to an audience’s head and heart. And you may also know the characters, or anatomical action figures, we use to tell that story. Em Hartly looks like a heart and symbolizes our agency’s creativity. C.C. Bellum is a brain and symbolizes the agency’s strategic and analytical nature. To tell the MCC story, we’ve used these characters, in one form or another, for almost six years. And that’s the crazy part. When we came up with the idea, it was supposed to start and finish with one little, quirky video that would reside on the About Us page of our website. In the past couple of years, however, our use of Em and C.C. has grown into something much larger, and I’ll share with you the story of how that happened.
A couple of years ago, we decided it was time to re-imagine the MCC website. Our previous design was pretty timeless, so it still looked fresh in many regards, but, with limited use of video and no animation, it needed to feel more dynamic to reflect the current state of the web. One of the critical drivers behind the new site was that it must include more video, and not just for the sake of having video. We decided early on that video must be integrated into the design and concept of the new site itself, not just isolated in a media player on certain pages here and there. That’s when we decided our nameless mascots should co-star in short video vignettes throughout our site, so that’s what we did. But if our characters were going to move to center stage, they needed a little makeover. The plush toy/Mr. Potato Head mash-ups weren’t going to cut it for this project.
We spent months trying to determine how our little organs should look. Should they be made of folded paper, like origami? Should we contract an artist to sculpt them out of something like wire? Should they look anatomically correct? Wouldn’t that be gross?
Finally, we found them, or at least parts of them. We ordered the anatomically correct organs from two different vendors that we found online. Once they’d arrived, we needed to find legs and feet. We shopped toy store after toy store. We shopped online. No luck. So we sculpted the legs out of clay, covered them in black milk paint and put tiny dolls’ shoes on their feet. Voila, two stars were born!
Video production went mostly swimmingly, minus days and days of rain delays. We shot all over the Dallas area, from Las Colinas to White Rock Lake to Oak Cliff, and we think the videos turned out great! You can see them all as you move from section to section of our website.
But, of course, all of this was merely a prelude to the engagement and wedding of our two characters. After we completed development of our new site, we were thinking about a new promotional campaign for ourselves. We had a number of ideas, but the one that stood out to everyone was the notion of marrying off the Head and the Heart. So we asked ourselves, if these two were people, what would their engagement look like? How would they share this big event with the world? The ideas flooded into our minds, and we did not pull any punches.
First they’d need names. Up to this point, we’d only referred to them as the Head and the Heart. If they were to symbolize our agency, we thought it would be clever to name them after it. So Em and C.C. were officially christened roughly 5 years after they were born.
Of course, they’d need a dating history, so we went about shooting pics of them all over the city, capturing them at the park, on a Ferris wheel, at the pool, at a bar, etc. Em and C.C. took over the MCC social media platforms, sharing pics from their whirlwind romance. We ordered an engagement ring and staged a proposal at the lake, which, of course, was posted to all our friends and family. We faked a newspaper wedding announcement and shared the clipping through email and social. We sent out invitations to a fake engagement party. We created a wedding blog at TheKnot.com. They had fake bachelor and bachelorette parties. We even registered them for heart-related and brain-related gifts on Amazon.com. Finally, we sent them to Hawaii to get married. Sort of. Through the magic of stock video and some editing, we captured their whole, big, fat, faked day on video. It was quite an effort for a short-lived campaign of a couple months, but that’s what you need to do when you really believe in a campaign. There must be no half-measures.
In the end, looking at all the numbers, the email portion of the campaign fared almost as well as any email campaign in our 32-year history, with exceptional open and click rates among our audience. The email exposure was reinforced with continual social postings about their impending nuptials. And perhaps most importantly, Em and C.C. both lived happily ever after…right here at MCC.
Check out the happy couple at The Knot!