The Independent Institute is an Oakland, CA-based nonprofit research center that sponsors studies of critical social and economic issues. When their first mobile app, a tax calculator called MyGovCost, failed to connect with millennials, they asked our team to overhaul the app and create a branded content campaign to drive downloads and engagement.
Let’s start with the product. Independent Institute has been producing excellent scholarly articles and policy reports for 25 years, but intellectual rigor doesn’t necessarily translate to appealing UI/UX. Their first attempt at a mobile interface was hobbled by technical challenges. Furthermore, the app wasn’t connecting with Independent’s target audience, design-savvy millennials who expect every mobile experience to be as seamless as Facebook.
The team at Independent Institute had an important message for young voters, now they needed a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Our challenge was clear: Produce and promote educational content that would make audiences hit the like button instead of the snooze button.
When our team of (mostly millennial) writers and producers analyzed our own relationship to government spending, we realized that it had a classical shape: Love at first sight, then a lot of resentment. Bingo! The government is like a terrible boyfriend—one who steals your stuff, insults your friends, and runs up debt...on your credit cards.
We locked a team of writers in the conference room. When they emerged, we had a five part series: Love Gov, the story of an optimistic, free-spirited woman and her domineering boyfriend Scott “Gov” Govinkski.
To support the series and the redesigned app, we also created a customized mini-site and robust marketing and communications strategy.
The Web Series
Emergent Order created and produced 5 standalone episodes of Love Gov for digital distribution. Our 60-day digital marketing campaign focused on attracting millennial viewers, driving downloads, and grabbing the attention of major media outlets.
The New App
We also audited, redesigned and rebuilt the MyGovCost Calculator app from scratch. We gave the calculator a modern look-and-feel, overhauled the UX, generated new content for users that wanted a deeper dive into the issues, and built a custom mini-site to drive downloads.
Through a mixture of highly target media placements and strong social sharing, Love Gov earned more than 2 million eyeballs in its first week. More important, viewers were watching the entire series, all 30 minutes of it. Earned media mentions, including an entire episode of Stossel on Fox Business, help extend the tail, keeping Love Gov relevant for months.
Entertainment > advertising
Highly targeted media placement makes all the difference
We don’t just sell the product, we improve it
Bryan has over 10 years experience working in the Motion Design, Visual FX and Compositing fields of post production. Over the years, Bryan has worked for clients such as: Verizon, Diageo, Dell and 3M. While not working on commercial projects, Bryan is interested in pursuing his passion for film making. In 2011 he won an award for his Visual FX work on the short film “No Record”.
Head of Digital Marketing
Cody is an experienced digital marketing and content strategist with specialities in SEM, social media and conversion optimization. He began his career copywriting before moving into managing multi-million dollar advertising budgets for Software Advice, a Gartner company. When not obsessing over driving results for clients, Cody can be found playing soccer, buried in a book, or at the movie theater.
Dani has been a great organizer of things and corrector of grammar since she was a wee child. (Nicely, though. She’s from Minnesota.) Her professional journey started in the Publishing industry and quickly evolved to Marketing and Advertising. She’s implemented Project Management departments from the ground up at multiple small agencies, and she’s managed projects for companies like Cadillac, Dow Jones, and Medtronic. When she’s not busy wrangling team members, she’s likely nostalgically binge watching 90s television shows, making food, or vintage treasure-hunting.
Equal parts producer and North Carolina gentleman, Dwight Fisher left a career in finance to follow his big screen dreams to Austin, TX. The seasoned film/television producer has worked for the likes of American Crime, Shipping Wars and the indie feature Seven Chinese Brothers before coming to EO. In 2014 he wrote and directed, Murder Trust, a short film screened at the Kansas City Film Festival.
CEO + Exec Creative Director
The big man, El Jefe, our fearless leader. John Papola leads the EO team with equal parts passion and rigor. John began his career broadcast TV, creating award-winning feature content and developing industry-leading branding practices for networks like Spike and Nickelodeon. As our CEO and ECD, John drives EO’s core purpose — serving mission-driven brands.
Head of Post Production
A 15-year veteran of broadcast television, Josh leads our post-production team to discover creative solutions that refine and advance brand stories. As a post-production supervisor in New York, Josh produced numerous award-winning campaigns for brands like Nicktoons, Spike, and World Wrestling Entertainment.
Talent scout. Unstoppable force. Lisa Versaci is a veteran producer who launched her career writing and producing long form Nickelodeon specials while shaking things up with her successful branding and marketing ideas. Passionate about animal rights and the food we eat, Lisa single-handedly brought a vegetarian burger to the national Burger King menu and co-wrote and co-produced the critically acclaimed documentary, At the Fork.
Marshall Walker Lee
Associate Creative Director
Head of Operations
Michele’s role spans from managing projects and client expectations, to the behind the scenes business at EO in an accounting and human resources capacity. Michele hails from a post prodcution background where she was executive producer at charlieuniformtango, a post production facility in the southwest. She also owned and operated a children’s educational DVD business for 5 years where she developed skills in managing small businesses.
Digital Marketing Analyst
Syed is passionate about data science, visualization, and statistics education. He strongly believes in the importance of scientific and responsible data analysis in every area that uses data as a source of insight or to solve problems. Offline, he tries to avoid the screen as much as possible. He enjoys cooking food, traveling and biking.
Head of Production
film tv development
As a creative executive and producer, Teryn has overseen all facets of production from modestly budgeted independent films to large studio movies. She learned the ropes running development departments for Sony, Fox, and Disney and her expertise was honed in the world of documentary filmmaking, with the award winning SKID ROW. Teryn’s journey took her to EO where she’s running production and producing ABUNDANCE in partnership with American Enterprise Institute.