Hey Coda community,
Today’s launch is not a feature or bug fix, an update to our pricing or our platform. It’s a bumper crop of billboards, which is just starting to roll out near and around San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.
Billboards, like Coda docs themselves, are blank canvasses. When you can write and make anything you want, it’s hard to decide what do. For three weeks, our Coda Brand team and a couple creative friends (shoutout to Dina Lovinsky and Ben Relles) brainstormed ways to tell the story of Coda. The theme of evolution emerged early and resonated instantly. Coda as the evolution of docs is a message we’ve used since day one. It appeared in the thesis statement that hung on our office wall. It was front and center on our website when we came out of stealth. We made it the opening theme of our launch video: A cursor blinking through time. And our first ad campaign—enough of this sheet —carried this message too: A rallying cry to break free from old documents and spreadsheets.
This campaign is the same song. But whereas enough of this sheet plays it in a minor key, everything evolves plays it in a major key. The campaign revolves around imaginary figments of evolution—inspired by 19th century naturalist illustrations, delivered with a deadpan line. “Everything evolves.” (You can read more about what we mean by that here.)
A subset of concept illustrations courtesy of BUCK.
The hardest part was figuring out the set of evolutions that spanned a broad tonal range. We wanted a mix of playful, funny, elegant, idiosyncratic, and weird. We enlisted the help of the creative geniuses and CGI masters at BUCK (who also happen to be longtime Coda users) to concept and create this cast of characters. We weighed in the sketches at our weekly all-hands. We texted drawings to friends. We even posted up at a WeWork one day and solicited thoughts from passers-by.
As of today, there are seven characters in existence. They’re like Coda spirit animals—vehicles onto which we can project different perspectives and emotions. Sharkette (aka Predatorus Incognitus) might be a patron saint for imposter syndrome. The sushi plant (aka Bento Oceanus), a symbol of whimsy and fantasy. See them all at coda.io/evolution. Which one is your favorite? What does it evoke for you?
- Suggest our next character by filling out a form here or tweeting at @coda_hq
- Download zoom backgrounds aka your own personal billboards (same link)
- Tag us in billboard photos with the hashtag #EverythingEvolves
- Type /evolution in your doc to explore the pun-laden docs we developed for the campaign art.
P.S. If any creative producers or marketers are curious about the docs we used to run and organize this campaign—how we kept track of the media buy, communicated with our production partners, market tested, etc—let us know. Happy to share if it’s relevant to others.