Matt Checkowski

CEO & CCO
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Randi Feinberg

Executive Producer

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1855 Industrial St. #107
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1 (213) 488 9397

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Open Positions

Designer

Motion Graphics Animator

Copywriter

Brand Strategist

VR Compositor

We don’t accept unsolicited submissions of scripts, treatments or other materials.

Onward California Branded Content Campaign

Our Role

Strategy, Content, Production, Awareness

To showcase the impact that the University of California system has on everyday people, we developed a 32 episode documentary series featuring the amazing people that are moving California forward.

ACCOLADES

Webby Awards – Honoree, Documentary Short
Case Circle of Excellence Awards – Gold, Video Campaign
One Show One Screen Awards – Finalist, Documentary
Taste Awards – Best Documentary Short Film
Taste Awards – Finalist, Best Branded Content
Telly Awards – Bronze, Online Campaign, Branded Content
Food Film Festival (NY, CHI, CHAR) – Official Selection
Flatirons Food Film Festival – Official Selection

BUZZ

WiredBoing BoingPopular ScienceThe Huffington Post • Gizmodo • DevourTested • Cool Material • i09 • BroBible
In the beginning...

Across California, research conducted at the ten University of California campuses is revolutionizing our future through medical innovation, agriculture, energy efficiency, humanitarian aid, and beyond, in ways that would surprise many Californians. The system sought to increase the public’s awareness of the direct impact that the campuses (UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, UC Merced, and UCSF) have on lives each and every day.

 

In a world full of innovation, which stories were unique to this public education system? How were these scientists, researchers and artists improving lives in unexpected ways? What were the threads that could bind the many world-class, multi-faceted narratives into a cohesive, UC brand story?

 

To accomplish this, the system introduced a multi-platform campaign called Onward California, including print and digital advertising, out of home and a statewide bus tour. But how to elevate the storytelling and showcase the system’s impact in an engaging, relatable way? That’s precisely where our expertise came in.
 

and then,

We created a 32 episode documentary series of real impact stories, featuring experts curated in collaboration with the campuses, produced and distributed with an awareness campaign over earned and owned channels.

 

Strategically, the series intentionally represented a broad cross-section of narratives in order to aptly capture the brand story, but also to provide more on-ramps for our audience to find themselves in the campaign. We included a diverse set of topics, from the search for new, habitable planets, to efforts to save endangered species, and how to improve literacy in the third world. And traveled to every corner of the state, from William Heise County Park outside of San Diego, to a natural oil leak off the Santa Barbara coast and into UC Riverside’s unprecedented sci-fi and fantasy archive. The diversity of subject matter and geography in the films provided more opportunity for engagement with a diverse target audience.

 

Episode: The Universal Language Is In Our Minds

 

Take “The Universal Language Is In Our Minds”; this episode took to the streets of San Francisco to meet with Patrick Boudreault, a deaf professor of linguistics at UC Berkeley, who we profiled entirely in sign language.

 

Episode: Beer – A Beautiful, Artistic Symphony

 

Or discover “Beer: A Beautiful, Artistic Symphony” where we introduce Dr. Charlie Bamforth of UC Davis, “The Pope of Foam,” and an enzymologist, chemist, and Head of the Beer and Brewing Sciences program.

 

Episode: Reaching Out, Beyond Earth

 

And step into a virtual reality CAVE to meet Professor Dawn Sumner, a geologist on the Mars Rover Mission, analyzing the rocks and formations found on the Red Planet via her UC lab and JPL.

 

We developed and managed the social media promotion of the campaign, working with the marketing and communications teams at the system and the individual campuses. We used their owned platforms to target audiences with an affinity to a particular UC school, as well as a broader outreach effort through pop-culture, yet niche, channels whose audiences would engage with our “inherently interesting” content for its storytelling and subject matter.
 
For instance, we leveraged the video on our solar energy expert to earn him an op-ed on the Huffington Post, and seeded the Pope of Foam’s know-how on craft beer blogs and popular science websites. Each placement included an embedded video that drove back to the Onward California website. The approach garnered widespread coverage and recognition for many of the episodes, and the campaign as a whole.

alas,

The Onward California branded content campaign was immediately engaging to our audience of students, educators, and Californians, resulting in over 300,000 earned views on Youtube, 25 million media impressions, with estimated reach of 500,000 on Facebook and four million on Twitter.

 

The content proved to be powerful well beyond higher education, earning an honor at the Webby Awards and numerous other awards at film festivals and advertising competitions. The series was covered on Huffington Post, Wired, Boing Boing, Popular Science, Gizmodo, Devour, io9, to name a few.

“The first thing with The D4D is: they just get us. They make it look and feel easy. They integrate with all of our teams and always help shape the best version of what we’re trying to do as an organization. Which is a lot. But I think their real talent comes through later, when you see how many people watch what they make and are moved by it. They create strategic, branded content that also happens to be amazing storytelling.”

JASON SIMON

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SYSTEM

The University of California continues to roll out material based on the content and strategy we produced, with a long tail of viewership from audiences that find and connect with our series in a myriad of ways.

the end.