- Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017
Led by production veterans Mike Jurkovac, Igor Kovalik and Bill Boyd, the bi-coastal content company TheBridge.co (www.thebridge.co) has kicked off 2017 with an impressive roster of recent work at its back.
The studio’s recent projects include work for RAM Trucks, G-Ro and UNICEF, and videos with artists will.i.am, Ty Dolla $ign and Black Eyed Peas. In terms of recognition, Kovalik’s promo campaign for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons earned the first-time director a prestigious Emmy® Award. And all told, work produced by TheBridge.co in 2016 generated millions of online views and literally billions of media impressions for its clients.
“I think we’ve really hit our stride over the past year, as we’ve worked on larger, more complex and more meaningful projects uniting brands, social causes and artists than ever before,” says Kovalik. Adds Boyd, “It’s been an honor to work with so many great talents, including marketers and clients, agency producers and creatives, managers and of course the artists themselves. Bringing these forces together to generate persuasive, emotional and effective content is what TheBridge.co was built to do. Nice to see that all the work has been worth it.”
Here’s a quick recap of 2016’s accomplishments for the company:
On Every Screen in Every Apple Store, And More
will.i.am and Jurkovac teamed on a sobering project reminiscent of their groundbreaking collaboration on “YES, WE CAN” for the ’08 Obama Campaign: #WHERESTHELOVE? Working closely with producers Pantera Sarah, Sara Ramaker and Polo Molina, along with Scooter Braun and Venus Brown, TheBridge.co helped orchestrate an updated version of the Black Eyed Peas’ 2003 hit “Where Is the Love” as a plea to help communities in crisis.
The song and the accompanying video (https://youtu.be/YsRMoWYGLNA) includes riveting footage culled from some of the world’s most desperate trouble spots, as the artists who took part asked the citizens of the world to stop the hate and violence that’s cost so many lives in places like Baton Rouge, Ferguson, Orlando, St. Paul, Brussels, Paris and Istanbul.
It features a wealth of talent joining the Peas, including Justin Timberlake, Jamie Foxx, Ty Dolla $ign, Mary J. Blige, Diddy, Cassie, Andra Day, The Game, Tori Kelly, V. Boseman, Jessie J, French Montana, DJ Khaled, Usher, Nicole Scherzinger, A$AP Rocky, Russell Westbrook, Vonn Miller, Jaden Smith and a 40-member children's choir – all of which presented TheBridge.co team with a challenging production schedule as well as extensive artist negotiations and planning.
The message got through: #WHERESTHELOVE generated over 250 million views in its first month of release on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. In addition to the video, Jurkovac and Kovalik led a production team that produced over 300 additional social media clips – one for every artist who appeared in the video.
To top it off, #WHERESTHELOVE launched as an Apple exclusive, playing on every screen in every Apple Store in the world and on the home pages for iTunes and Apple Music. All proceeds from the sale of the song and video in the U.S. were donated to the i.am.angel Foundation, a non-profit created by will.i.am that’s transforming lives through education, inspiration and opportunity.
The Most Successful Crowdfunded Carry On Ever
For the innovative new luggage startup G-Ro and Travel Light LTD, Jurkovac shot a direct-to-client launch spot (https://vimeo.com/138142536) designed to help introduce this revolutionary new brand – the most successful crowd-funded carry-on ever – to a super-mobile generation. Backed by entertainment lawyer Ken Hertz and several of his boldface clients, the video generated over $4.5 million on Kickstarter and Indiegogo with no media expenditure whatsoever.
Edited to the tune “Hero” by pop opera chanteuse Elizaveta, the spot shows young people on the go in New York, their G-Ro cases moving to the beat right along with them. The camera follows them to their ultimate destination: one of the legendary #SunsetSaturdays parties at The Dream Downtown in Manhattan. The party’s founders, Matthew Assante and Dustin Terry, were brought in to help cast and produce the project by TheBridge.co, which provided them with footage from the shoot to repurpose into one of their most successful promotional videos to date.
The G-Ro project is one of a long series of collaborations between Jurkovac and Hertz, going all the way back to the integrated marketing and branding campaign for the record-breaking ELV1S 30 #1 Hits album.
Repositioning The Louvre for a New Generation
In a unique project conceived by will.i.am, TheBridge.co researched, reimagined and recreated some of the world’s most revered Renaissance artworks at The Louvre for the music video “Mona Lisa Smile” (https://youtu.be/u2iuI8fAsmY). The piece, in which will.i.am performs the song carefully matted into many of the collection’s most recognizable works, had the dual purpose of promoting the song while making this world-renowned institution more relevant to a millennial audience.
To pull off the uncanny effect, Jurkovac brought in digital artist Pasha Shapiro to help bring the masterworks to life; replicated the lighting and lensing in each painting; and then handed it over to Kovalik to give it the right editorial pacing and flow.
“Mona Lisa Smile” premiered at The Louvre in an event covered by news media across France. The museum even produced a documentary about the making of the video and their collaboration with will.i.am to repurpose and extend the power of its content.
The Most Shared Campaign in UNICEF’s History
#WHERESTHELOVE wasn’t the only social-cause project TheBridge.co undertook last year. The studio also produced a special video of John Lennon’s “Imagine” for UNICEF. With Kovalik serving as Creative Director and editor and Jurkovac directing, it included duets from David Guetta, Katy Perry, Shakira and Neymar and many more (view it at https://youtu.be/RWKtPRMX0MY). The Global version of the video includes crowd-sourced clips sent in by over 1,500 people from every continent, as well as by astronauts on the International Space Station – all of whom performed a heartfelt rendition of Lennon’s classic, intercut with scenes of children imperiled in various conflict zones around the world.
The “Imagine” Project proved to be UNICEF’s most-shared video series ever, generating over three billion audited media impressions in over 150 of the countries where the international children’s aid organization has a presence.
Kovalik’s First Campaign as Director Scores an Emmy®
Kovalik was also busy on a project he undertook for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, directing and editing a series of gritty, hard-hitting promos for the team. While long known for his work as an award-winning editor, this was Kovalik’s first directorial assignment for a client, and it netted him an Emmy® in the process, the second presented to work from TheBridge.co. (To view “Anthem,” click here: https://youtu.be/wEJB6a85_qg.)
Shaping the campaign with long-time creative collaborator Tom Parr for the Pistons’ internal agency, Kovalik’s direction presents the Motor City as a tough, resilient community that’s working its way back into the cultural zeitgeist, and places the Pistons at the heart of this identity with the slogan “our spirit, our team.” The campaign, which has been rolling out since the start of the pro basketball season last fall, won a 2016 Emmy® Award. The spots – narrated by former Pistons star and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing – appear on both game broadcasts as well as at on the big screens at the Piston’s home arena, The Palace of Auburn Hills. Appearing in the ads are retired stars Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer, native son Kid Rock and members of the current Pistons roster.
Inspired by A Billion-View Video
Miami agency SapientNitro and RAM Trucks turned to TheBridge.co for a special TV spot tied to the broadcast of the American Music Awards last November on ABC. Paying homage to the video for Fifth Harmony’s hit “Work From Home” – which on its own garnered close to a billion online views – the spot showed every day construction workers, welders and a farmer breaking into dance moves while they worked.
Titled “Work,” (https://youtu.be/knKSgHCG144), the spot was one of the highest-performing ads that ran on the broadcast, and marked the second year in a row that RAM Trucks parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) collaborated with TheBridge.Co on an artist-fueled, music-inspired spot. In 2015, Jurkovac and Kovalik produced an integrated campaign for Atlantic Records featuring artists Charlie Puth, Brett Eldredge, Ty Dolla $ign, and Sofia Reyes that combined the entire line of FCA brands.
For TheBridge.co, 2017 looks to be as productive as last year was in terms of its work with brands, artists and agencies. “I think the key to being relevant in the current market is the ability to offer 360-degree solutions that are nimble and add creative and strategic value to the project,” says Jurkovac. “And that’s always been our strength.”