Annals of advertising: the Slack animals

(About advertising and life in Silicon Valley.)

Lunch yesterday with a techie friend I’ll call Paul at a Palo Alto restaurant with lots of Silicon Valley types in it, including a long table with a work group of engineers at it (diverse in a large number of ways).

Silicon Valley types come in two varieties: manager types, dressed in one form or another of business clothes (usually some version of business casual), and engineer types, otherwise dressed. The engineer types tend to come in two distinct varieties, which I’ll distinguish here by the neutral labels  A and B. A engineers tend to be young, intense, and playful, given to long burst of work, often at odd hours, with breaks for various kinds of play (including things like ping pong and foosball on the job). B engineers tend to be older (and often have families), working with steady focus for regular hours.

Paul, a B type, went on to talk about Silicon Valley companies, along the way mentioning Slack, a company I’d never even heard of until I saw a tv commercial for it that very morning. Paul was astonished that Slack was advertising on tv, but advertising it was, and very entertainingly.

The cast of characters:

(You can watch the whole commercial on the TechCrunch website here.)

On the TechCrunch website on 12/30/15, “Slack’s New TV Commercial Is Adorable And Effective” by Drew Olanoff:

[Overview: Slack [based in S.F.], previously known as Tiny Speck, is a company started by Stewart Butterfield, who previously started Flickr. Their first product was Glitch, a Flash-based massively multiplayer online game. After shutting down Glitch, Tiny Speck launched Slack in August 2013.]

If you’re in the tech world, then you know exactly what Slack is and does. As you eke outside of our little techosphere, however, you might get some puzzled faces when you talk about your favorite work communication tool.

To that end, the company debuted two new TV commercial which are quite adorable, and one is called “Animals!” Yes, there are animals in it. The spots were done with the help of Giant Ant (the spaceship commercial) and Smith & Foulkes at Nexus (the animals).

There are quite a bit of nuances to Slack, and this particular commercial does a really great job at illustrating them. It also puts the company culture on display. Animals always help keep people’s attention, too.

The next time someone asks you what you mean when you talk about your team hopping into Slack to discuss an issue, just send them this link and they’ll get it right away. The company is poised for a massively successful 2016, and is probably the most popular and beloved “enterprise” service we’ve ever witnessed.

Oh, and I’m waiting for my flying umbrella, Stewart.

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