documentary creative-strategy virtual-reality

Whole Foods Market & The Humane Society

documentary + creative-strategy + virtual-reality

... min read


Our team loves animals. Just ask our office dogs. All six of them. So we leapt at the opportunity to partner with Whole Foods Market and the Humane Society of the United States to produce At the Fork, a documentary film about animals, farming, food… and our boss’s lifelong obsession with baby back ribs. But we didn’t stop there: In addition to the film, we created 2 websites, 1 immersive virtual reality app, a multi-platform impact marketing campaign, and much, much more.

Impact At a Glance


Rotten Tomatoes Rating


documentary on iTunes


theatrical premiere events

4.2 million

social media reach


impact campaign signups


VR app downloads


with Samuel Goldwyn Films

International Premiere

at the Berlin International Film Festival


The average documentary film takes two and half years to produce. Whole Foods Market and HSUS asked us to do it in 6 months. Furthermore, our director was determined to avoid “gotcha” hidden camera tricks, which meant building trust with notoriously media-shy farmers and food producers.

From pre-production through promotion, this project was a challenge that engaged our entire team — writers, designers, developers, strategists, directors, editors, and producers.


How do you break into a crowded documentary marketplace? First you make a great movie. Then you build a passionate fanbase to help you spread the word.

Our team orchestrated a nationwide theatrical release in 55 theaters on July 13th, 2016. This single-day special event was preceded by invitation-only screenings for critics and press in Los Angeles and New York. Leveraging critical and commercial buzz, we deployed a multiplatform marketing campaign with the goal of filling theaters and catching the attention of a major distributor.

  • Tell a relatable, unbiased story

  • Cultivate an engaged audience

  • Generate critical acclaim and interest

  • Use social proof and scarcity to motivate people to see the film on one day

  • Attract the attention of a distribution partner


On the content side, our team created more than 90 assets including posters, trailers, a responsive website, social posts, paid advertisements, screening kits, email newsletters, promotional videos, a 21-day impact campaign, and a virtual reality mobile application. All of this content was utilized across channels and by any partner or media outlet to ensure a consistent user experience and increase perceived value.

On the marketing and public relations side, Emergent Order identified, targeted and contacted high-affinity national and local organizations to become screening and outreach partners. Simultaneously, a paid Facebook campaign geo-targeted individuals within a 20-mile radius of more than 55 participating theaters nationwide to promote the trailer and drive ticket sales. Meanwhile, Google Search and YouTube ad buys ensured discoverability and boosted awareness. And behind the scenes, community managers monitored comments and engaged fans through social media and email.

Original Content: More than 90 cohesive identity, marketing and sales assets

Facebook Targeted Advertising: Custom pixel tracking for visits and signups

Facebook Custom Audiences: Email list matching, lookalike audiences, and retargeting

Twitter Direct Messaging: Targeted outreach

YouTube In-Stream Advertising: Trailer promotion and web cards

Google Search Advertising: First position search ads for 20 key terms

Onsite Ticket Widget: Dynamic reflection of current screenings and ability to buy tickets

MailChimp: Onsite lightboxes, custom templates, list management and marketing automation

21-Day Impact Campaign: Email newsletter with actionable guidance promoting the film’s messages

Community Management: Average social and email response time of 15 minutes

Virtual Reality Application: Android and iOS companion app used at events and screenings

Tugg + Community Screenings: 55 theaters nationwide on one day plus option to organize your own


We don’t want to brag b— actually, we do want to brag. At the Fork is currently the most successful documentary premiere in the history of Tugg; critics love it, audiences love it, and one of the most prestigious documentary distributors in the world, Samuel Goldwyn Films, purchased the rights to release the film globally.

Critical Acclaim

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

Digital Release

No. 1 documentary on iTunes on day of release

Theatrical Premiere Events

55 executed in 28 states; 11 sold out; 3 upgraded to bigger theaters

Community Screenings

80+ requests to bring the film to a local venue

Trailer Views

250,000 in first week of launch

Social Media Reach

3.8+ million

Email Impact Campaign Signups

2,000+ in first 8 weeks of site going live


No. 1 in Google SERPS for key terms by day of premiere




  • Emergent Order makes really good movies

  • Success is never guaranteed, but integrated marketing helps

  • Branded content knows no bounds