What do cancelled meetings smell like?

publishedabout 1 year ago
5 min read

Hi Reader,

Loom, the async video communication tool, launched a new brand campaign last week and instead of featuring people using their product to record their screens and send explainer videos to their teammates… they’re selling a candle.

No, really.

Here’s why I think this was a f**king great choice for a campaign:

What's great about Loom's "Cancelled Meetings" campaign

The concept

This campaign aims to communicate one core message: Loom can replace a lot of your meetings, giving you more free space in your calendar.

There are SO MANY ways that message could have been communicated. And yet in this project led by Staff Brand Designer Judson Collier the team at Loom chose to communicate it through manufacturing a candle called “Cancelled Meetings” that smells like “free time” and can burn for around 30 hours, which is almost a whole work week with no meetings.

It’s attaching the vague concept of “saving time” (which, let’s be honest, is a benefit touted by so many SaaS products that it has kind of lost its impact on us) to a real object; giving people a physical representation of something abstract. And by calling it “Cancelled Meetings” Loom are also being specific about where that saved time comes from, which makes the benefit feel more concrete.

Loom fully committed to this candle concept in everything from the product photography, the spa soundtrack that plays on the page and the whispered “Cancelled meetings” in the campaign video.

It’s clear that as designers we were the target audience for this campaign (the campaign video even says “Instead of scheduling a ten person meeting to hand off your design files to engineering, send a Loom”). And I don’t know about your Twitter feed last week but mine was full of tweets about the candle. Sure, it’s a bit of a gimmick and I’m not sure how many people will actually buy the candle at the $45 price. But since as far as I know Loom are not pivoting to being a candle company, it doesn’t really matter if they don’t sell out; the point was to get people talking.

The design

Given its creative professional target audience, the design of this landing page was always going to be important.

The page uses the darker, richer tones of Loom’s brand palette (in contrast to the light backgrounds of their main marketing site) and even uses a new serif font for the headings (matching the one on the candle) but there’s still enough in the layout with its use of space and large corner radii on shapes to connect it to Loom’s design language so it doesn’t feel too far removed.

It’s a fairly simple page visually, but one of my favorite pieces is the rotating candle image.

There’s also fun touches like the Loom logomark bouncing around the screen like a DVD logo when you’re idle on the page, and the VHS styling of the campaign video. We’re mixing generations of tech here! But the result is playful, fun touches that come off as charming.

The copy

It’s the page copy that I truly want to celebrate though. There’s not a lot of it, so it’s super skimmable, and with lines like “Aromatherapy for back-to-back pain” and “Clear your mind (and your afternoon)” the copy is witty and fun, while also connecting the campaign concept back to the benefits of Loom without explicitly talking about product features for the majority of the page. Kudos to the copywriter!

The right balance of brand & product marketing

It takes a certain commitment to the core brand message to make a campaign promoting a SaaS product that doesn’t lead with the product itself. Clearly the Loom team understand that while there will be a certain number of folks who might not look closer and might literally mistake it for a hot new DTC candle company, the target audience will connect with the message and understand it. And that’s who matters anyway.

While there’s mentions of Loom scattered through the candle copy, it’s not until the last 25% of the page that there’s an explanation of the product features.

I love that they held back from putting everything there is to know about the product onto the page, because it would have taken away some of the charm of the candle concept. They focussed the feature explanations on that one core message of using async video communication instead of meetings. Going into detail here about how you can edit Looms and leave emoji reactions wasn’t necessary and honestly would have weakened the core message.

What can we learn from this?

My main takeaway from watching this campaign play out is to not be afraid to embrace a weird and wonderful idea. I loved this tweet from Zapier’s Creative Director about this being the beginning of “the great weird off”.

twitter profile avatar
Michael Jeter
Twitter Logo
July 28th 2022

Embracing “weird” takes a deep understanding of your target audience (so that you don’t just come off as cheesy, or trying too hard) and a brand flexible enough to have a bit of fun with. It also requires a bit of bravery to take the risk. Manufacturing and selling a physical product is no easy task, even if they did work with an agency partner on it, but it’s a risk I think will pay off for Loom.

We can also see in this campaign how being specific about a product benefit (in this case, saving time that’d usually be spent in meetings) can help create more connection to the message and make it more believable. And that committing to one core message in the campaign means it’s more likely to be heard.

Well done to the Loom team for this fun campaign. Check out the landing page here. I’ll be looking forward to seeing if photos of candles on designers’ desks pop up on my timeline this week!

Oh, and what does the candle actually smell like? Loom’s Senior Director of Brand Design Stewart Scott-Curran (who I interviewed for the last season of Inside Marketing Design FYI!) revealed on Twitter that it smells like Palo Santo (a woody scent with hints of mint & citrus). So there we go, now we know what a cancelled meeting smells like.

Did you enjoy this campaign breakdown? Hit the heart if you did to let me know!


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Hope you have a great week ahead,

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