9Dialogues: Featuring Liam Beesley

Liam Beesley, Art Director, Creative at NinthDecimal

9Dialogues Provides an Inside Look at the NinthDecimal Culture and the Amazing People Behind Its Success

In this installment of “9Dialogues”, we speak with Liam Beesley, Art Director, Creative, and his insights into creative trends, the next steps for ad units, and favorite campaigns.

What is your role within NinthDecimal?

I lead the design and production of Rich Media Ad Unit campaigns & RFP mocks.

How did your creative background lead you here?

I started off my design career as a Flash animator for websites, then began building websites fully in Flash. I also have a print background. When Flash stopped being supported and replaced with HTML5 animation solutions, I jumped at the chance to get back to my animation roots. Designing Rich Media (RM) animated interactive ads gave me that opportunity.

Do you have any favorite campaigns that you’ve designed?

My favorite ad units have two major elements: 1) Design 2) User interactivity. I worked on a campaign last year for a company that featured a gyroscope animation sequence. Users could control the motion of a firefly in the unit by changing the axis of their phone, and the firefly would move accordingly, flying along a changing background. Recently I built a unit for Snowmass in Colorado where the user could self-animate changing scenes by ‘shaking’ their phones.

I like designing these types of ad units because they allow the user to feel like they are getting more than an advertisement to buy something; it actually gives them the opportunity to have a bit of fun while engaging with a brand.

What are some of the creative trends in mobile that you are most excited about?

There are two that I think are great:

  • Vertical Video: Standard film is shot in landscape mode for mediums like TV, Cinema & Desktop, but with the advent of smartphone video, the user must flip their phone from portrait to landscape for the video to fill the screen. Vertical Video takes advantage of the phone user’s natural tendency to hold their phone in portrait mode and not have to flip the phone to see the full video. One drawback is that the original film is cropped at the sides; however, in post-production I can switch the video’s focal point to the center of the action so as not to lose the integrity of the footage.
  • Dynamic Creative: This solution accommodates multiple variables (weather, day of week, audience, etc.), to ensure the correct creative is going to the right audience at the right time. A clothing company for example with a range of products can now customize an ad with beachwear creative for a user in California that is experiencing sunny, warm weather, and different creative to a user who is experiencing snow in Colorado. All the creative versions live in the same campaign and are delivered to the user when the conditions are met.

What type of ad units are underutilized?

Games. Many of the ‘out of the box’ games come with inflexible RM software that requires significant development by third party engineers to customize, which prolongs projects. Hopefully RM software vendors will soon offer a larger variety of in-built games that designers like myself can customize for clients.

What questions do you ask the client in order to recommend the right creative approach?

I have a ‘creative kick off call’ to understand the objectives of the client’s campaign. I listen to their ideas, offer my take, and, from there, direct them to a solution that I believe will work for them. I like to inform the client what I will produce before I start a project so as to get all teams on the same page in order to avoid any surprises when they receive the creative.

What do you think makes the most effective ad unit?

A simple, beautiful, easy user interface that delivers the right message visually.

Where do you see the future of ad creative headed?

I see it moving towards video. Having video with interchangeable, interactive elements is a growing trend in the “dev” world. There is a shift in presenting video in different formats with a focus on user engagement and interaction, in a shorter length of time. Clients recognize they need to grab users’ attention in a shorter time frame because they generally don’t stick around for a :30+ sec video. Offering more for the user in a 10-15 sec time frame is definitely a trend.

What is your favorite part of working at NinthDecimal?

I love collaborating with the different teams that all play a key role in any campaign. The 9D team is very versatile, collaborative, and can improvise when needed. There is such a positive work atmosphere and the culture is fabulous.