CNN recently tapped entertainment branding agency loyalkaspar to create a multi-platform marketing campaign for the second season of the popular CNN Original Series Morgan Spurlock Inside Man, hosted and produced by the Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker. Premiering Sunday, April 13th at 10:00 p.m. ET, the one-hour weekly series tackles a wide range of subjects that are part of the national conversation in the U.S., including personal privacy, income disparity, America’s obsession with pets, and the big business of college athletics.
Season two of Morgan Spurlock Inside Man has the host embedded into each week’s story, beginning with episode one, “Celebrity,” in which he becomes a paparazzo to explore first-hand America’s fixation on celebrity and sensationalism.
Led by Creative Director Anna Minkkinen, loyalkaspar worked with CNN's on-air promotion team to create a campaign encompassing digital and broadcast promos, key art, and rich media content for website takeovers. loyalkaspar also produced a customizable on-air graphics toolkit for the network’s in-house broadcast design team to produce episodic promos.
“CNN encouraged us to highlight Morgan's distinctive personality and bring it to the forefront,” says Minkkinen. “Morgan is charming, recognizable and affable – and ultimately, his every-man quality is the reason viewers tune in. Expressing the human side of their hosts is important to CNN, so it was rewarding to arrive at a creative solution that truly reflected the network brand.”
“loyalkaspar has been a huge asset to the branding and positioning of several CNN Original Series titles,” adds Whit Friese, CNN Vice President, On-Air Promotion. "Our latest collaboration was no exception. Anna and her team brought so many great ideas to the table, it was just a matter of picking from the best of the best. Thankfully, we found a way to leverage all of them in a smart, cohesive and engaging way. That's because loyalkaspar is the type of agency that can deliver the full package – from on-air to print – with creative integrity while making the whole process seamless."
A key element of Morgan Spurlock Inside Man is how Spurlock captures an authentic perspective of the subjects he explores by immersing himself into their worlds. For the key art, loyalkaspar visualized both Spurlock’s personality and his ingenious means to getting the story. They found their solution in an iconic portrait of him layered in artifacts and clothing that represent the various worlds he inhabits during the season.
“We wanted to juxtapose the aesthetic of a classic portrait with playful artifacts that represent Morgan's journey," explains Minkkinen. “We shot Morgan in quite a few poses, and he brought great ideas in terms of the posture and expression you see in the final shot. While all of the strangely layered and mismatched elements he wears make it fun, the interplay still maintains the sense of a really smart guy telling real stories, who is game for anything.”
loyalkaspar took Spurlock’s cast of alter-egos up a notch for the on-air and digital promos. In them, we see various “Morgans” interact with one another in a playful manner.
“We had limited time to shoot Morgan, so the challenge was getting him in all of these costumes in one day, not to mention all of the line reads we wanted to tackle,” recalls Minkkinen. “But Morgan was amazing - an absolute pro. He was very committed to being each character on set. His input on how to authentically style and present himself was invaluable.”
loyalkaspar’s VFX-driven promo concept required myriad shots of Spurlock, as well as careful planning for what was a post-intensive finish. Minkkinen shot each "Morgan" character with two cameras – one full-body and one up-close – carefully considering perspective and spatial relationship in order to seamlessly choreograph and composite them into a single frame.
“In some cases we planned the interactions you see, and in other cases we explored them in post,” remarks Minkkinen. “It was a fun creative process making the scene come alive after the shoot. We were able to realize so many different scenarios by getting as much footage as possible on set.”
Lastly, loyalkaspar conceived the season two tagline, “He’s not just on it. He’s in it,” to place emphasis on what is special about Morgan's approach. It isn't just about covering a story, it's about taking it one step further and getting inside. They also reconfigured the show logo to put greater emphasis on Morgan’s name. The digital campaign further pushes awareness and engagement in Spurlock’s personality beyond the tagline with the phrase “Who is Morgan Spurlock?” where at the lockup, visitors encounter Morgan appearing as various characters and can click and learn more about the show.
“CNN trusted us to create a consistent campaign,” concludes Minkkinen. "Whit [Friese] and [Creative Director, CNN On-Air Promotion] Sean [Houston] not only bring a great attitude and wealth of experience to the creative process, but they also ask good questions and consider every detail – all the way through to the details of the music and sound design.”