What We Did
“Sexy” might not be the first word that leaps to mind when you hear the term “microscopy.” But if you’re a scientist, or work in the field, a good microscope can be very exciting indeed. And for more than 175 years, Zeiss has been one of the most exciting names in the world of microscopy, which largely employs the use of lenses, glasses and microscopes. Zeiss’s passion and penchant for innovation has led them to the forefront of countless breakthroughs in material and life sciences, particularly in the fields of ophthalmology, microsurgery, and laser studies.
In fact, every year, people are so eager to interact with Zeiss’ new offerings that they flock to dozens of trade shows around the world to see them. But like most machines, the more power you need, the bigger that machine needs to be. Which meant that by the 2020s, Zeiss’ products were so large they were becoming too heavy and too expensive to ship around the globe. When Covid hit and put a huge dent into the live trade show business, Zeiss was forced to rethink how they would share their latest innovations. So Zeiss’s digital marketing team came to Goods & Services with a challenge: How do we get our technology, virtually, into the hands of people who want it the most?
Capturing Breakthrough Moments
The Zeiss team’s original thinking was to create some sort of immersive tunnel, with video screens mounted on the walls, (“like walking into a microscope!”) to display their various new tech.
It was a good starting point. But the Goods & Services team, led by client partner Erica Ortmann and project coordinator, Betsy Spain, thought they could push even farther to create something that would “stand apart and be more pandemic friendly,” Ortmann said. “We thought this was a great opportunity to explore solutions that could be both experiential and interactive while still being Covid safe for attendees.”
Given a five-week concept phase, the Goods team dove into the complex topic of microscopy, learning about the intricate tools Zeiss made and how they were being applied in the field. They selected a handful of scientists to feature and interviewed each about their work, studying topics as far afield as cancer research, neuroscience, metals, fossils, and more.
The Goods team soon discovered that, as different as these scientists and their work was from each other, there was one thing they all had in common: the shared thrill of experiencing “breakthrough moments,” often via the microscope. That discovery became the crux of the team’s ultimate creative solution
“We really wanted to capture an authentic slice of today’s world of scientific research, so that meant talking to a wide range of demographics including male and female scientists and as many different races and ethnicities in the field as possible, because the scientific community is hugely diverse.”
Betsy Spain, Delivery Lead
Choose Your Own Adventure
In one of the more ambitious and forward thinking creative projects the Goods team has produced, their final delivery included an array of modular, wall mounted video panels, each featuring interactive, mixed media stories chronicling a particular scientist’s breakthrough research. Viewers are able to click on digital buttons (“hot spots”) to get a wealth of content. They can read short blurbs about the scientist’s specific work, view rich animated images of their studies, hear them discuss their findings, and get a short (3-7 minute), but comprehensive, dive into their complete story.
By channeling the visionary research of 9 unique scientists, we delivered the inspiration & insight our audience needed to understand how ZEISS Microscopy can help them breakthrough.
Step into the Lab
All told, 9 scientists personally guide viewers through 12-16 story packages on a range of topics. They can watch, among others, James Schiffbauer’s amazing, groundbreaking work on fossils come to life in stunning graphic detail. They can view Dr. Kaoru Sato’s award-winning research into metal composition, and Minna Roh-Johnson’s potentially revolutionary examination of cancer cells.
Each intimate story is long enough to be authoritative and thorough, but short enough to keep the viewer’s attention, and each highlights the benefits and advancements of the Zeiss technology.
Best of all, depending on the user’s needs, the array can be broken down to 3 or 6 panels, and, even at the full 6 array size, is much lighter, safer, and cheaper to move around and ship than individual microscopes.
“They make such a difference in the world and aren’t celebrated like they should be. We wanted to highlight their unique personalities, along with the very important work each of them each do.”
Matheus Meneghel, Lead Designer
Heroes of Science
From a design standpoint, one of the team’s main goals was to focus on the scientists themselves.
Using computer programs including Figma, Photoshop, After Effects, and Cinema 4D, the design team was able to create museum quality images seen only through a Zeiss microscope, and then animate those images to bring them to life. In many cases those images needed to be accurate enough to be considered scientifically correct, but also abstract and artistic enough to spark the viewer’s curiosity.
“The design process required a lot of trust from the Zeiss team,” Meneghel said. “But they could see that the final results were really captivating and the idea of the project had a lot of potential.”
And, because each screen story is only a few minutes long, that viewing process can be done quickly, which allows more people to get to enjoy the experience.
However, the short videos meant a precise and efficient amount of copy was necessary. And for such dense and complicated topics, that presented a unique challenge to the content strategy team, led by Alex Helton.
We extended this experience to other channels and met our audience along their journey to a ZEISS show. Our storytelling framework integrated into social, email, web, and even post-show artifacts to keep them engaged in ZEISS Microscopy.
Awareness: Social Post & Email Interact: Web experience for virtual audiences. Share & Return: Shareable artifacts to reach decision makers