Mobile > Social


TBWA\MEDIA ARTS LAB, Los Angeles / APPLE / 2021


Gold Cannes Lions
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Case Film





Apple wanted to put the iPhone’s video camera in a category of one. So we set out to solidify the iPhone’s place as a creative tool at the heart of culture by creating a short film shot on iPhone that put it to the ultimate filmmaking test.

The idea — Vertical Cinema Shot on iPhone — was conceived as a video-forward extension of the Shot on iPhone ecosystem. A film made on mobile, designed for mobile, and consumed on mobile. It was an opportunity to situate Apple as a leader in culture and creativity while demonstrating the incredible video quality and creative potential of the iPhone.

Describe the creative idea

To prove that the iPhone could make vertical video cinematic, we tapped a team of acclaimed filmmakers — Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle, Oscar-winning cinematographer Linus Sandgren, and Grammy-winning composer Lorne Balfe — to craft a short film from start to finish that was specifically written and designed for the vertical screen. The resulting 9 minute film takes viewers on a romp through cinematic history, reshaping and reimagining each classic film genre.

But it wasn't enough just to raise the bar for mobile filmmaking. A key component of Vertical Cinema was education. We created a behind-the-scenes film that pulled back the curtain on the creative process, leaving filmmakers and iPhone users alike with actionable tips for improving their vertical video in their everyday lives.

Describe the strategy

Our goal: get people to rethink what vertical video can be and establish iPhone as the most capable filmmaking tool in culture.

Our target audience was three-fold: movie fans, the general public, and creators. Driven by a communications approach, we set out to excite movie fans as well as inspire the masses – launching our hero film into entertainment culture, and demonstrating iPhone video capabilities across mobile platforms.

Once we inspired our audiences by showing what the phone was capable of in the hands of an Academy Award winning director, we released behind-the-scenes content that empowered them to shoot better on their iPhones. We then used that content as a teaching tool for student filmmakers, who created their own vertical films, which we released on Apple's Instagram handle to 25 million people. And finally passed the baton to the Shot on iPhone community, receiving thousands of vertical submissions for consideration.

Describe the execution

Inspire with a film Shot on iPhone by a Hollywood disrupter

- Kicked off with our hero film on Apple’s YouTube on 8/6/2020. Modular short form content launched across different platforms in international markets.

Educate with behind-the-scenes content

-Chazelle shared insights on how to shoot better vertical video on Instagram Stories and in a film released on YouTube.

Facilitate the filmmakers of the future

- Partnered with Ghetto Film School to help four student filmmakers shoot their own vertical short films, and premiered them on Apple’s Instagram to an audience of 25 million. Rolling release over four weeks beginning on 1/15/2021.

Share insights on social

- Behind-the-scenes film pulled back the curtain on the filmmaking process for these young filmmakers. Released on YouTube and Instagram Stories.

Celebrate the creativity of a global community

- Released a vertical video community assignment and shared best-of highlight on 3/5/2021.

List the results

Activated in 20 markets, Vertical Cinema drove the most long-form views of a global Apple campaign to date, with over 1B video starts and an average watch time of 1:41.

Those who recalled the campaign found the iPhone camera to be a tool of the highest quality, one "good enough for professional filmmakers to use."

It had a massive impact on the business by elevating a high-quality camera as a reason to want iPhone, raising perception of the iPhone's video/camera capabilities above the competition.

On dotcom, consumers drove a completion rate 2.5 times higher than that of other publishers, and were most engaged with the behind the scenes.

On the Apple Instagram handle, Vertical Cinema content is the most popular content in the history of the platform.

It landed a POV that sparked debate among film and movie interests, resulting in over six-thousand mentions on Twitter alone.

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