Category: Mortar’s Work
July 7th, 2015

Mortar partners with Thinknear to deliver a shiny new site!

It will come as no surprise that the world is going mobile. Desktops have been replaced by smartphones, smartphones by tablets and tablets now bested by the phablet.

Advertisers have noticed, and the effort to get in front of audiences has evolved. Thinknear is leading this evolution, but in a sea of same-y mobile adtech players, it’s difficult to get the recognition that their leadership deserves.

That was the challenge for Mortar. Create a brand positioning that conveys the unique, bold, smart and fun essence that’s at Thinknear’s core.

Led by insights, we delivered attitude and aptitude to latitude and longitude, so Thinknear can go on delivering mobile campaigns that enrich not interrupt.

Thinknear’s shiny new site and brand positioning launched July 1, and like proud parents, we couldn’t be happier to watch them fly–albeit, approaching terminal velocity as they hurtle themselves from a perfectly good plane.

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June 25th, 2015

Shaking up San Francisco in the Most Amazing Way.

Take a jaunt around the Exploratorium at Pier 15 for a head-to-toe experience that will have your senses jolted in a truly unique (and legal) way. The Exploratorium is San Francisco’s museum of science, art and human perception; the quintessential place that illustrates our city’s commitment to innovation. It serves children and adults—and everyone in between.

The Exploratorium came to us wanting a big idea for their Spring-Summer 2015 campaign to remind people—both locals and tourists—that to truly get to know San Francisco, the Exploratorium is THE place to start. People flock to this great city because it’s a world-renowned focal point for everything that’s cool, quirky and truly unique. And the Exploratorium is San Francisco’s epicenter for all that and then some.

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We learned that the majority of people visiting San Francisco (and locals) don’t have a trip to the Exploratorium on their must-do list. We set out to change that by creating a campaign called “Your Epicenter for Amazing.” The campaign utilizes four words to end the sentence “Your Epicenter for…” including: amazing, quirky, curiositivity and what the…? — all a nod to the inquisitive-fueling exhibits.

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If you’re roaming San Francisco streets today, you can’t miss the outdoor campaign—it’s literally everywhere. We’ve wrapped MUNI light rail trains and double decker Hop On Hop Off tour buses. The city is blanketed with ads on news racks and transit shelters, as well as landmark kiosks. As you travel into the city, you’ll even find the campaign in both East Bay and San Francisco BART stations. If you find yourself downtown and near the water, you might run into our work on the backs of pedicabs shuttling tourists up and down the Embarcadero.

With 600+ hands-on exhibits, we wanted to highlight that the Exploratorium is San Francisco’s focal point for interactivity… and everyone’s epicenter for amazing. We sought to “shake up your plans” in the coolest way possible.

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April 30th, 2015

Moon Jellies. Mermen. And Other Reasons to Love the Ocean.

The last time you kicked back on a white sand beach, or savored a piece of grilled sea bass on orzo, did you thank the ocean? Better yet, have you ever thought about who looks out for this massive natural resource that covers 71% of our planet’s surface? As powerful as it is, the ocean can’t speak up for itself. Fortunately, there are a few people who work for the health of our incredible seas. (Just for the record, mermen are real. Most of them live in Florida.)

 

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There are three main players in this game: 1) government, 2) the community (fishermen, scuba divers, and people who own homes on the coast), and 3) science (more specifically, academia). The California Ocean Science Trust plays outside the bounds, connecting all these folks: They provide timely, useful, and reliable science that helps people make informed decisions about the ocean’s future.

It’s a highly specialized and important role, because groups often attempt to skew research in favor of their own agenda. Ocean Science Trust restores trust in the scientific process—ensuring integrity, accuracy, and impartiality. Unfortunately, their former brand identity didn’t exactly scream these qualities.

So we got to work, starting with the logo. What Ocean Science Trust does is pretty complex, so our main goal was to simplify. We used three rings to represent government, science, and community, making them organic and fluid to reflect the ocean’s movement. The typography, inspired by old school science textbooks, conveys an air of established authority.

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Next, we tackled the website. Simplicity and serenity was our aim here as well. Shades of deep blue and soft coral evoke the sea, warm sunsets, and colorful marine life. We also revised the key messaging, infusing it with a crisp, inviting, and energetic voice. Bonus points if you noticed the header at the top of the page noting the current date and time. Since data is at the core of Ocean Science Trust’s work, we programmed the homepage image to change with the time of day: at morning, daytime, and nighttime. Watch the demo below, or visit the site yourself.

 

 

By clarifying Ocean Science Trust’s story, and making it much more enjoyable to look at, hopefully we’ve enticed more people to think about who’s working for the ocean—and whether enough is being done to protect its health. Next time you’re skinny dipping in the Pacific at midnight, think about your friends at Mortar. Or maybe don’t, cause that sounds a little creepy.

March 26th, 2015

We See Dead People. Just Kidding, It’s Your Data.

For the past three years, our client Qumulo has been nose-to-the-grindstone, building a brand new, category-defining solution to enterprise storage woes. Last week, their long-awaited product was unveiled to the world. Ladies and gentlemen, Qumulo Core!

 

 

 

 

 

Ta da! 

Don’t see anything? That’s a good thing. See, what makes Qumulo’s product so extraordinary is that it makes storage invisible. They’re shifting the conversation from one purely about hardware, to one that focuses on software. While we can’t show you the software per se, we can show you its powerful data analytics.


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Here’s the problem enterprises face: Their digital content is growing exponentially, and when you’re dealing with millions to billions of assets, your storage system becomes one big black box of mystery. Admins can’t see who last touched this file; when that asset can be thrown away; or who’s impacting performance and capacity.

Qumulo makes this data visible. It’s invaluable insight that’s about to make life a zillion times easier for media and entertainment companies, life sciences research firms, universities, and more. In addition to naming the flagship product, Qumulo Core, we designed and built a website that captures the whole Qumulo story. Watch the demo below, or demo it yourself here.

 

 

Qumulo’s vision for the site was simplicity, clarity, and showcasing the software. So we shot macro video clips of Qumulo Core in action, putting that incredible insight front and center.

And since no product launch would be complete without a raging party, we helped Qumulo brand their big event. Qumulo Core makes storage invisible, and data visible. It’s a bit like magician’s work, or a mind-bending circus act. So we gave them a fitting theme: See the Unseen.

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We created banner signs and posters with a futuristic feel and mysterious glow, inspired by Qumulo’s Q0626 hardware product. The launch party went down at Emerald City Trapeze Arts in Seattle, packed with reality-defying performances by aerial dancers and a unicycling bagpiper. We’re glad Qumulo knows there’s only way to launch a product: in the biggest way imaginable. After all, YOLO (you only launch once).

January 21st, 2015

Mortar’s Work. Spread the News, or Pour Some Booze?

When you go to museums it usually involves learning about something or someone else. The Exploratorium’s new Science of Sharing exhibits are something completely different. You actually learn about yourself. Will you like what you learn about “you”?

Ponder that, people.

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Do you act for the common good, or your own good?

 

Over the past few months, we partnered with the Exploratorium to promote the exhibits to the entire Bay area. But first we had to learn everything we could about The Science of Sharing. We were taught that similar to chemistry and physics, there’s also a science behind human thought and behavior. The Science of Sharing exhibits take societal challenges—like trust, cooperation and competition—and turns them into fun, problem-solving activities and experiences.

During our concept phase, lightning struck. The aim of the exhibits is to generate discussion and provoke thought around why we do the things we do, right? So why not create ads that do just that? Get Bay Area residents to ponder their behavior right in their native environment.

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This billboard was placed at the 101/80 ramp in San Francisco, a hotbed for road rage.

 

From bus shelters to digital billboards to coffee sleeves, we sure got people pondering. The units even featured a hashtag (#SocialDilemma) so they could weigh in on why they do the things they do. But we went way beyond just ads. We also made the discussion mobile by taking over San Francisco MUNI trains and turning them into “Conversation Cars.”

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Our Conversation Cars turned passengers into ponderers.

 

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Each Conversation Car posed questions that were relevant to a rider’s experience and got people contemplating while commuting. Do you put your bags on the seat, or at your feet? Should you just sit there, or is it okay to start talking to strangers? Is MUNI a call-free zone, or do you blab loudly and incessantly on your phone during the entire trip, annoying riders that are even three cars away? (Not that we’re judging.)

We also posed San Francisco denizens with perhaps one of the most pressing dilemmas of our times…especially in a city where the dogs outnumber the children.

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We created quite a movement.

 

A guerrilla-style marketing attack in the form of hundreds of pieces of fake dog poop scattered in San Francisco parks and on city streets was launched last week. Each “land mine” featured a sign asking passers-by if they’d clean up after their dogs if no one was around. The stunt was so attention-grabbing that our plastic poop propaganda pieces became collector’s items as people scooped them up and carried them home.

Also running are the following radio spots we produced for Pandora. There’s no judgment here.

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Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

The Science of Sharing exhibits are open now at the Exploratorium, so head over to Pier 15 and get baffled by your own behavior.

And the next time you’re merging onto the Bay Bridge, eating a curry dish on BART, or taking Fido out to do his business, don’t be surprised if you hear a little voice in your head asking, “Why do you do what you do?”

(For those keeping score, the answer to the question in the headline of this post is: BOTH.)