by Tori Katherman
When I first heard about Wonderful Machine I was working as the studio manager for the photographers of 8183 Studio in Kansas City, Missouri. The studio consisted of myself and photographers Chad Hickman and Ryan Hill. I contacted Wonderful Machine within my first month on the job, and as our little studio began to grow, so did our relationship with WM—as well as our relationship with the ad agencies in town.
Since leaving Kansas City, I’ve been fortunate enough to join the WM team in Pennsylvania. And despite missing me terribly, the boys in KC are doing quite well, recently landing one of their biggest jobs to date, a Ball Jars campaign with Kansas City ad agency Barkley. To make the deal even sweeter, the senior writer for the campaign was none other than my own sister, the incomparable twitter wizard/advertising ninja, Quinn Katherman. I decided to take advantage of my insider access to these talented folks to share with you all what went down in creating this multi-page spread for Ball Jars in this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine.
But before you read the interviews, “flip” through the ad here:
First up, I talked to Quinn:
Tori (TK): Tell me how you came up with concept of “Make Today, Share Tomorrow.”
Quinn (QK): We started the campaign with a question: “Who is the first person you want to share with?” This evolved into the perfect call to action: “What will you make today that you can share tomorrow?”
TK: Out of curiosity, who is the first person you want to share with? It’s me, right?
QK: “My partner in crime” as the ad states.
TK: Right- me.
QK: My sister.
TK: Knew it.
QK: Not you. The other one… I mean, I’d share the first batch with you—you know, the messed up batch.
TK: Oh, it’s like that. Okay that’s cool. I’m moving on. So, how did you come up with the idea for this ad?
QK: All good creative comes from good strategy. Our strategy was based on the insight that canning is no longer a rite of passage or a tradition passed down. It is passion passed around, and self-expression on full display. Mothers don’t just teach daughters. Sisters teach each other. Friends learn together. People post their creations online with pride. And each jar is best shared with the ones you love.
TK: That’s actually quite moving. Tell me about the hand holding a jar pose.
QK: The Ball brand sits at the intersection of two human truths: a “desire to create, or make,” and a “need to connect, or share.” This year, we wanted to find that center point, or that perfect moment of pride between the make and the share. The pose symbolizes that center point in an iconic way.
TK: So how did you choose the photographers to execute all of this thoughtful imagery?
QK: Glass can be really difficult to shoot, and since the logo on the jar is focal point of the whole ad, we needed to find photographers that would be neurotic about it. As we narrowed down our list, we realized that 8183 Studio’s portfolio was full of the technical skill and attention to detail that we needed to make this print ad concept work. They did a great job capturing the emotion of the pose while making the jar itself look beautiful.
TK: Which is your favorite shot?
QK: It’s really hard to pick a favorite because each shot had its own personality and story. But I have to say that the yellow polka dot dress with the dill pickle spears is a favorite. When that shot was set up and I saw it, I really felt the idea come together. I also really love the main image with the white dress and empty jar because it’s so simple (but was arguably the most difficult to shoot). I just love how beautiful, inviting and iconic the jar looks when it’s empty and it’s hard not to feel inspired to make something when you see it in that shot.
TK: I love that shot too, but I’m also pretty intrigued by that tasty looking peach BBQ sauce shot, zesty indeed!
QK: Yes, I found that recipe and was expecting it to be darker but was pleasantly surprised by the color. It’s really tasty too.
TK: What was the best thing about working on this particular project?
QK: Being done! I’m kidding. Not really. This was a very technical ad. There’s a lot of content on each page, everything had to line up just right and we had to put a lot of trust in the printer and the publication. I think the entire creative team that worked on it was holding their breath for months. But in the end, the client was very pleased with the piece and all the work 8183 did—and what’s more fun than a happy client?
TK: Nothing. Nothing is more fun than a happy client. Have you ever canned?
QK: I’ve made strawberry jam before.
TK: How come I didn’t get any?
QK: No one did. I did something wrong because it made my tongue numb.
TK: Can you make me that Zesty Peach BBQ Sauce?
QK: If you make me pickles.
I also spoke with the guys at 8183 Studio about the project:
TK: What attracted you to this Bell Jars assignment?
8183: First and foremost, the creative team at Barkley is one that is always churning out ridiculously cool projects, so it was exciting to be a part of it. We felt the project was perfect for us because it involved two of our strongest specialties: shooting glass and detailed retouching for the logo and print layout. Like I said before, we had to bring the Ball logo out as the stand alone logo in the ad.
TK: What was the shoot day like?
8183: It was a busy day in comparison to some other shoots we’ve done. The set was bustling with the food stylist prepping contents of jars, stylist working on the wardrobe as well as talent getting a manicure. The lighting was pretty much ready to go because we did a pre-light the night before. We shot product images for the back of the recipe cards in the morning and moved on to the feature images in the afternoon.
Behind the scenes.
TK: Did you learn anything on this assignment?
8183: We already knew it, but this just drove the point home. It takes a great team to pull off a project like this. Everybody from accounts, to art directors to copywriters to assistants have to be doing there job to make the project go off without a hitch.
TK: What was your favorite part?
8183: Being asked to shoot something that we felt was a perfect fit for us. Not every assignment we shoot utilizes our particular skill set to its full potential. This one really did.
TK: Did you get to taste test the goods?
8183: Let’s just say we were a bit pickled out for a while after the shoot.