Rebrand Cities: Art in Motion, and More

ballio has recently launched our very first TV commercials – telling the stories of small businesses in Detroit and starting with “Art in Motion” on the Avenue of Fashion. The spots document our journey during the Detroit Hackathon we’ve held with Rebrand Cities to partner with local small businesses to work on their websites. It was an invaluable opportunity for the Automattic team to learn about their daily challenges and successes.

We had the opportunity to collaborate with our filmmaking partners, Culture of Creativity (C8), and produce a series of videos for broadcast and digital mediums. You can read more about them in our recent interview here on, with this comment by Elena standing out for me in particular:

One of the most powerful moments for me in this work was watching Kay Willingham watch the finished spot we made about her. She had just finished telling her story of how she came to start her art studio and gallery at the Rebrand Cities & Automatic: Pop-Up Design + Innovation Salon, when the the finished commercial we shot of her was played on the screen next to her. She stood there transfixed, as she saw herself on the screen. At the end she stood there glowing, with tears in her eyes and a deep smile on her face. She came to me afterward and gave me a big hug, which, without any words, just told me that we had done our job. We had listened to her story, and we have reflected back the essence of what she felt strongly to be true. Seeing her, feel the impact of truly being heard and seen, just meant so much to me. It’s the thing that really keeps me motivated to do the best work we can, capturing and tell the personal stories of each individual we work with.

Watch Kay Willingham’s story about “Art in Motion” (30 seconds):

With a condensed timeline, an all remote team and an external partner, communication was key. Both parties kept in close contact via our P2-themed blog, and the occasional Zoom calls, which made the whole creative development process transparent and easily searchable. It also allowed our global team and C8, who was in Japan at the time of the project, to collaborate asynchronously.

We’ve also developed a custom landing page for the campaign to ensure all digital touchpoints are consistent, which helps to further the storytelling. That’s a little bit of a behind-the-scenes look at of our creative campaign featuring Detroit small businesses. Watch them all on our YouTube playlist, and stay tuned for even more to come from Automattic Design!

❔ Whois

Ballio Chan is a creative, dad, husband, and currently working as a marketing designer at Automattic. He recently moved from Los Angeles, CA to Austin, TX in search for better barbecue. Prior to Automattic, he worked in the digital advertising industry making brands look good while selling products.

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