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Studio Pulse

Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.

Popular culture references like this grab people’s attention. They are instantly recognizable, and typically spark some sort of emotional recall. They make us FEEL something. And often, that feeling is mutual, giving even people who are very different from each other something in common.

This is why, at One Floor Up, we love a good pop culture themed video production. They’re effective… and a lot of fun!

Here’s an HGTV parody that we created for Thornton Water. It won an Internet Advertising Competition for Best Environmental Online Video

And another OFU example, a tech product video that uses streaming video game culture.

When it comes to this kind of creative approach, the post team at One Floor Up has seen it all. We sat down with Daniel Witt (CTO, Technical Director, and Founder), Andrew Spain (Sr. Editor, Motion Designer, Founder), and Cody Hendrickson (3D Designer) to learn more.

Where do these ideas come from? And how do you make them successful?


It’s definitely gone both directions where we decide to present ideas that are based on popular culture, like the Lord of the Machines video, which we came up with and pitched to the client. We’ve also worked the other way, where clients come to us with an idea.


This approach is similar to humor, where if you get it right it can be really cool and effective. But if you try to make a pop culture reference and you miss the mark, it can detract from the video.

For example, this term “Fellow kids”. You’ll hear it when someone is trying to fit in with a Tik Tok trend. They’ll say – Hey, fellow kids! But they totally miss the mark. Failed attempts like that can make a video campaign way worse than if it were just neutral.

So, where we come in, I think, is understanding the trend, understanding how to apply it, and helping to fit that into the corporate video.


Yes, makes me think of cultural appropriation. That’s pop culture appropriation – Hey fellow kids! I am one of you and I am doing this trend!

[Everyone laughs]

So, it’s important to avoid things that feel really out of place.


Yes, I think authenticity is the word for it. Because if the brand doesn’t match the general feel of the pop culture moment, it can feel a little ham-fisted.

If, for example, Chase bank is trying to fit into some reference about being broke, or like having thirty cents in your bank account, that’s kind of tone deaf, you know?

So, it’s gotta be a pop culture moment that your brand can fit into, and it’s got to be done well enough that it shows an understanding of what you’re referencing.

What is the creative and review process like on this type of video production?


My experience with doing these pop culture videos is that, generally, clients are a lot more accepting of what it is right up front. As opposed to some of the other content that we make for them when they’re like – uh, change this, change that.

There’s this immediate recognition of the pop culture reference and they’re like – This is great, let’s keep going with it! So, I would say it’s sometimes easier because it gets clients excited when it’s based in pop culture.


One thing that makes the process of these videos a little different is that there is already an example. The amount of reference material is so much greater that you have a compass for what direction to head in.

Especially with Lord of the Machines video – there are so many Twitch streamers, so many broadcast packages that you can look at – and you can see those trends, and then find that balance of being in the same vein while adding your own little bit of flair.

To be continued…

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