Our Creative Partnership with STIHL (Case Study)
We love talking about our creative partnerships. This week, we’re highlighting on our work with STIHL and their battery-powered Lightning product line. They needed hundreds of product images and animations, along with a cutting-edge broadcast spot for their annual sales event. To accomplish this, we partnered with media agency Red Letter Communications.
About STIHL and Red Letter Communications
STIHL is the #1 selling brand of handheld outdoor power equipment in America. Many STIHL products are made in the US and exported to over 90 countries around the world. Red Letter Communications has been STIHL’s brand and retail agency for over 25 years now.
Despite their size and reach, STIHL doesn’t sell any of their products at large merchant stores like Home Depot or Walmart. They believe in delivering the best possible customer service and prefer to use knowledgeable dealers instead. Currently, there are over 8,000 independent STIHL dealers in the U.S.
Every year, STIHL holds a sales event in the spring called Dealer Days. This national sales event generates a large percentage of sales for the year. During the event, they offer special deals on new and current products.
In 2016, the Dealer Days event TV broadcast spot would include something new. A pre-release teaser for their new Lightning line, which would be debuting later in the year. Here’s where our partnership began: they needed an attention-grabbing, creative introduction for the broadcast spot.
STIHL has traditionally manufactured and sold gas-powered equipment. But as of 2016, they moved into high-tech battery-powered models. This new chapter would be marked by the release of their new Lightning products, a full line of battery-powered handheld outdoor power tools.
They wanted to include a pre-release teaser in their annual Dealer Days event broadcast spot. But there was a problem … STIHL hadn’t manufactured the product line yet.
They couldn’t film or photograph without physical products. Until working with FUSE, they had only ever used photography or film for their products. In fact, they had never released their CAD files to anyone before.
FUSE has partnered with Red Letter Communications before, and they love our 3D work. They asked STIHL to release CAD files to us so that we could create sample 3D renderings. STIHL was understandably hesitant because they’d never released these files before. But eventually, they released a single file.
Our sample 3D imagery blew STIHL away. It exceeded their expectations for what was even possible. 3D rendered images are precise, photorealistic, and versatile, making them incredible marketing assets.
From there, the floodgates opened.
We were hired to bring their new product line to life, even beyond the Dealer Days broadcast spot. They needed promotional materials, images, and animations for multiple media formats.
STIHL dealers would use these assets for multiple media formats in store, on their website, and for TV broadcast spots.
Getting to Work
When the project started, we received massive amounts of CAD data from the STIHL engineers in Germany. We were able to convert these CAD files to the formats we needed, thanks to our access to many different engineering programs. This ability helps cut down on any extra work we’d need from the engineers. The last thing we want is to create more work for someone else!
The project included photorealistic 3D renderings of the 34 products in STIHL’s Lightning line, along with 360-degree animated product spins, like the one below.
STIHL and Red Letter also needed an attention-grabbing 10-12 second introduction for their Dealer Days broadcast spot. This introduction would hint at the new Lightning line as well as announce the event.
The Project in Progress
Red Letter provided us with the project scope and initial concept for the broadcast spot. To tackle the workload, we dedicated several creative teams to the different parts of the project:
Using this initial concept, our team developed three commercial spots. These broadcast spots combined Red Letter’s vision with our own creative solutions. They would use these animations for their TV broadcast spot, in-store media formats, social media posts, and on their website.
We also developed 3D still images and 360-degree spins to show off each product their exciting new battery-powered line.
By the end of the project, our team had created over 400 unique images, 20 animated 360-degree spins, three commercial broadcast spots, and half a dozen CGI-enhanced photographs.
We delivered assets in multiple lighting scenarios, which STIHL incorporated into their regular catalog and brochures. STIHL also leveraged those models to integrate products into photography. Our animations were edited and split into smaller segments for social media posts, website assets, TV broadcast spots, and other media avenues.
“I would recommend FUSE Animation to anyone looking for true creative collaboration with a team of animators that are clearly at the top of their game. They met or exceeded all of our expectations. Can’t wait to work with them again.”
– Drew Wright, Director of Video Services at Red Letter Communications
Within 15 months of the Lightning line’s release, the US market share of STIHL battery-powered equipment had increased by tenfold. According to this press release, they also expanded their offerings from one to three Lightning product lines.
Partnering with FUSE
This campaign kicked off a new chapter for STIHL with a cutting-edge broadcast spot and precise, stunning 3D assets.
Until working with FUSE, STIHL had always used photography or film to capture and promote their products. They’re the #1 selling brand of handheld outdoor power equipment in America. So, showing off their products in the best possible way is extremely important.
Our 3D rendering work allowed them to show their Lightning line in a brand-new way – with photorealistic, perfect evergreen assets usable across multiple media channels.
STIHL still uses these assets in annual Dealer Days broadcast spots, in-store promotions, and other media formats. Our 3D rendered product images and 360-degree animated spins promote their products online and in social posts.
We love tackling projects of every size at FUSE. Some clients have one specific need, while others are looking for a long-term creative partner. With clients like STIHL, our team gets to work alongside other creative teams to find unique solutions to challenging projects. We had a blast working on STIHL’s Dealer Days broadcast spot and look forward to continuing our relationship with them.