Friends of Wieden + Kennedy and Portland's own "little orchestra", Pink Martini, approached us with a project. They were releasing their new album, Get Happy, and needed a unified visual/feel for their album art, press kits, and promotions. We pitched several ideas before landing on hot air balloons to echo the joy in their Get Happy album. This culminated in a bigger project- we were tasked with publicizing their album release in Portland with a free concert in Pioneer Square before doing more promotional work in New York.
Problem: How to give Pink Martini's upcoming album Get Happy a new look?
Solution: Focus on the vibe, aim for something with a lot of potential for variety, and pay attention to how the client views themselves. The simplicity and charm of Lamorisse's Le Ballon Rouge was a major source of inspiration. I worked with an art buyer in Wieden + Kennedy to find a photographer best suited for the job.
Problem: How do you promote Pink Martini's new album?
Solution: Bombard cities with free concerts and shitloads of balloons. The ultimate goal/tone was to make Pink Martini the ambassadors of "Happy." We started in Portland (their home base) and moved on to New York.
Problem: How do you tell people about a free upcoming concert/album release on a very tight budget and a limited time frame?
Solution: Look for the obvious solution first, then get really organized. People love a free outdoor show. I called vacant store fronts and asked to use their window space in exchange for VIP seating during the concert. Before long, we were plastering posters and balloons all over.
For efficiency, I made grid systems of downtown and sent 12ers with stacks of posters/invitations to distribute to local businesses.
10,000 balloons and two cities later Pink Martini landed on Billboard's Top 200