AUSTIN, Texas — May 22, 2020 — WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), today announced the public release of the full-length documentary make|SHIFT, which explores the history of modern advertising and the role that creative technology played in its evolution. The film highlights the makers, agencies, and brands who had the courage to harness new technology, test new business models, and question the status quo.
WP Engine worked with September Club and HeyLet’sGo! to create this feature-length film, directed by Casey Suchan, who previously directed “Rock The Bells,” a Warner Brothers documentary on the final performance of hip-hop artists Wu-Tang Clan and produced a series of best-selling documentaries on Hip Hop culture. The make|SHIFT documentary features more than 40 of the top marketing and tech minds in the industry, from developers to designers to creative directors to founders at some of the most innovative agencies in the world, both small and large, digital and traditional. The film will be released on May 28 during Ad Age’s Publisher’s Panel and streamed on makeshift.film.
“These are challenging and uncertain times we’re in. This film, about adaptability in the face of an ever-shifting digital landscape, showcases the creatives who dare to say ‘yes’ before something is completely ready, and stretch ideas to new applications. This need for digital creativity is even more relevant now in a post-COVID world,” said Mary Ellen Dugan, Chief Marketing Officer at WP Engine. As an open-source, WordPress digital platform, we wanted to explore and celebrate the agencies who lead with technology first. make|SHIFT is dedicated to the power of creative technology and the agencies who have always been at the forefront of change and who will always be there to help us press ahead.”
From the heyday of TV advertising to the dawn of the Internet to the rise of the digital experience, make|SHIFT explores the art and science behind the advertising industry’s 20+ year evolution. make|SHIFT is a story about the agencies and makers behind some of the world’s most successful brands. WP Engine interviewed a range of leaders and pioneers who helped advertising evolve from the “Mad Men” era of one-to-many advertising to an age of targeted micro-campaigns that are created in hours and where technology and social media have democratized the industry by giving consumers the power to determine how, when and where they connect with a brand.
The film shows how creative technologies drove a shift from pushing messages through TV, radio, print and outdoor ads to delivering increasingly engaging, immersive and valuable digital experiences to consumers. While some advertisers struggled to evolve, a brave new generation grasped the possibilities—both creative and strategic—and harnessed these fast-changing technologies to enhance their creativity, test new business models, and engage with consumers both at a scale never before possible and more intimately than ever before.
The film is particularly resonant today, as the advertising industry again finds itself in a period of evolution, adaptation and, ultimately, rebirth. As advertisers harness technology to find new ways of getting their message in front of audiences, the film’s portrayal of the scrappy determination that led agencies to revolutionary successes five, 10 and 20+ years ago is more important than ever before.
“There has never been a more important time for brands to embrace the power of creative technology. With the advent of the ‘stay at home’ customer, the first and last mile of the customer journey have transformed brands and customer relationships forever,” said Steven Moy, Chief Executive Officer at Barbarian. “Brands need to find new ways to stand out and reclaim these relationships in this new reality. What I love most about the film is its inspiring look at how creativity has evolved with technological innovation over time, and how our industry has always been there to meet the rapidly changing customer needs. Through creative technologies such as AR/VR, brands can reimagine their customers’ homes as the new retail channel since these customers aren’t able to experience products and services in person. We need that resilient, passionate and curious mindset more than ever today as we strive to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.”
Agencies featured include 10up, 72andSunny, Active Theory, Barbarian, Crispin Porter Bogusky, Crowd Favorite, Digital Kitchen, Droga5, Elephant, Havas, Hello Monday, HUGE, Humanaut, Instrument, Johannes Leonardo, MediaMonks, Organic, Pereira O’Dell, Sid Lee USA, Unit9, The Venturous, The Webby Awards and Wieden+Kennedy. Agency founders in the documentary include Alex Bogusky (Crispin Porter Bogusky), John Boiler (72andSunny), David Droga (Droga5), Piero Frescobaldi (Unit9), Jake Goldman (10up), Justin Lewis (Instrument), David Littlejohn (Humanaut), Karim Marucci (Crowd Favorite), Nick Mountford (Active Theory), PJ Pereira (Pereira O’Dell), Nick Strada (The Venturous), Wesley ter Haar (MediaMonks) and many other industry leaders.
Ad Age Publisher’s Panel: How Creative Technology Transforms Industry
WP Engine and Ad Age are partnering on a Publisher’s Panel, scheduled for Thursday, May 28th at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Titled “How Creative Technology Transforms Industry,” the panel will be moderated by Josh Golden, Publisher at Ad Age, and will include Mary Ellen Dugan, Chief Marketing Officer at WP Engine; Glenn Cole, Founder & Creative Chair at 72andSunny; and Fura Johannesdottir, Chief Design Officer at Huge. The panel will discuss how makers and agencies have shifted and re-shifted their skillsets, creativity, and businesses as new creative technologies emerged, declined and were replaced by the next technology in an endless cycle of change. They will also discuss make|SHIFT and provide a free link for the viewers to see the entire film.
For more information and to watch the film, visit makeshift.film
# # #
About WP Engine:
The WP Engine WordPress Digital Experience Platform gives companies of all sizes the agility, performance, intelligence, and integrations they need to drive their business forward faster. WP Engine’s combination of tech innovation and an award-winning team of WordPress experts are trusted by over 100,000 companies across 150 countries to provide counsel and support, helping brands create world-class digital experiences.