John Mellor was excited when he learned that Domo and business partner JMills Entertainment combined to receive five Telly Awards for the opening segment of Domopalooza 2021.
“The Tellys have always been a big deal in creative circles,” said Domo’s chief strategy officer, who has worked on the marketing and strategy side of the tech industry for more than two decades, “and I know how focused and committed the entire Domopalooza team was to deliver such great content for the event.”
Since 1979, judges from advertising agencies, production companies, and major TV networks have been handing out Tellys to creators of excellence in video from all over the world. And the job only gets bigger; this year, that panel had to consider more than 50,000 entries from 50 states and five continents.
Focus and commitment undoubtedly helped Domo and JMills earn a Gold (for overall segment), a Silver (for set design), and three Bronze (for writing, directing, and overall online experience). But other factors contributed, as well.
Q: John, you were heavily involved in the making of the Domopalooza 2021 keynote. How did it ultimately become an award-winning piece?
John: Well, for starters, we went into it with the belief that just because it’s an enterprise tech conference doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Of course we had important messages we wanted to communicate, but we also understood that there’s so much competition for eyeballs these days and that the message would go a lot further if we could wrap some theater around it.
So, those were sort of our guiding principles. You can only hold someone’s attention in these situations for 10 minutes—at most, probably—so we packed a lot of great content into those 10 minutes. A great example is the chaotic kitchen scene. It’s one thing to say data is messy; it’s another to say, as (Domo CEO) Josh (James) did, that data is a hot mess while, all around you, cooks are bobbing and weaving and pots and pans are boiling and sizzling.
Q: There were some cool sets, but as the image we’ve chosen for this post shows (of Josh chatting with Yum! Brands Chief Data Officer Cameron Davies), you also did a lot of on-location filming. Why was that?
John: Customers love hearing real examples from other customers about what works. And when you can incorporate real aspects of a situation, like maybe a Taco Bell or a giant freezer for cold-chain shipping, it enhances the effectiveness of the example. You need to bring the audience in with a singular message that gets their attention, sparks interest, and sets the stage for everything else. And so, a lot of thought at the outset went into communicating emotion and something that was true to Domo’s brand, which is that we’re fun as well as high impact.
Q: I know JMills Entertainment played a big role as well. Can you talk about that?
John: JMills allowed us to kick it up a notch. We’ve done a lot (of projects) with them over the years, so they not only know how we operate and what we’re looking for, but they also know what our customers are looking for.
And they’re just so good at bringing a concept to life. From conceiving and designing sets—such as the aforementioned kitchen they had Josh walk through—to directing extras to piecing all parts of the narrative together, they killed it. They put everyone in the best position to succeed and really brought the whole thing to life.
Q: Josh was obviously in front of the camera for most of the keynote. And he was clearly comfortable with it. How much did that help?
John: Josh’s ability to take a script or idea and make it his own, and to do these things in one or two takes, was so key. When he was a kid, he was in TV commercials and movies. To this day, he can step in front of a camera with a bring-it-on attitude.
So, you combine the message—which is powerful—with our brand—which is fun and energetic and kind of irreverent—and a CEO who is emotionally connected to the content and has a talent for this kind of performance, and what you get is unique. There aren’t many tech CEOs that can pull this sort of thing off. But he’s certainly one.
To watch—or rewatch—the opening segment of Domopalooza 2021, click here.