T-Mobile
Photo Production

Overview

How can we show that T-Mobile views their customers as people, not just numbers?

Here's how my previous work experience as an Advertising Producer / Creative Project Manager for commercial photo shoots enabled me to develop many of the skills that I now use as a UX Designer. I'll draw some parallels between the roles of Producer and UX Designer; these are clearly different roles, but both involve similar creative problem-solving abilities.

I was hired by Publicis Seattle to produce a commercial ad campaign for T-Mobile. The challenge was to understand the client's needs and the Art Director's vision, build a creative team to produce the photos, manage the scheduling and budgeting framework, and ensure that our deliverables met T-Mobile's needs.

Solution

I selected, hired, and managed a creative team consisting of models, stylists, and a photographer. Our team produced advertising images for a successful billboard and web campaign for T-Mobile. The client was so pleased with the results that the campaign was expanded nationwide.

 
  • Role: Art Producer / Creative Project Manager
  • Tools: Photographer sourcebooks, photographer portfolios, email, phone, Microsoft Office Suite
 

Research

My User Research began with interviewing the Art Director, and asking the right questions to fully understand his vision. I also conducted Stakeholder Interviews, to understand the client's business and marketing requirements. When I had a thorough understanding of the Art Director's vision, as well as our client's budget and scheduling constraints, I called in appropriate photographer portfolios, and hired the photographer best prepared to produce a successful shoot for our client.

This was a fun campaign which expressed that "when you drop a call, you drop a person". This was a relatively simple concept for an ad, but the simplicity was a mark of the idea being sophisticated and refined, with all unnecessary aspects being stripped away. Since there was so little happening visually on each shot, everything that was there needed to be exactly right, and convey precisely the intended message.

With the Art Director and Photographer, I created Personas (archetypes for the models), User Stories, and Scenarios to convey the client's message, and Storyboard the narrative.

 

Plan

The planning part of this project involved creating a workflow to organize the budgeting, scheduling, and the client's requirements. I structured a framework for the shoot that ensured all of the different moving parts would work together as an organized whole. I was the hub of the creative wheel – the communication and organizational center for all of the different aspects that make up a large-scale commercial photo shoot.

We had chosen a photographer based in San Francisco, which meant that I had to coordinate everything prior to the shoot remotely from Seattle; we then had just one day on set to shoot all of the content for the campaign. This required an enormous amount of pre-production planning and coordination so that everything worked smoothly on the day of the shoot.

 

Design

In this sort of situation, the bulk of the Design work is handled by the Art Director and the Photographer, but I was an important link between the two of them - making sure that the Photographer fully understood the Art Director's vision, and the client's requirements.

I was on-set during the whole photo shoot, and was able to be an extra set of eyes for the Photographer, noticing if anything was off, and offering styling suggestions when it was helpful to do so.

 

Result

The client was very pleased with our work. They had billboard media buys from California to New York, including Times Square. Originally the campaign was just meant to run as billboards in NYC and LA, but it was so popular and successful that they expanded it to billboards nationwide, and had online ad tie-ins. It was a memorable campaign with striking visuals.

 
 

Photo credits: Timothy Archibald, Sarah Jones