Many banks these days have found creative ways to escape the traditional perception of a creaky institution not in tune with its customers or the times.

Whether it’s through a reimagined physical space or mindful marketing, highlighting a contemporary and accessible personality is table stakes now – especially to a younger demographic seeking to make smart choices with their hard-earned money.

KeyBank, one of the country’s largest bank-based financial companies, was looking to build on that. So they enlisted us to produce 15-second social videos featuring financial tips.

The basic idea was for these practical tips to be light and playful on subjects such as debt consolidation, newlyweds, impulse buying, even how properly inflated tires can save you money. Early creative brainstorming sessions included our versatile Motion Graphics team, who suggested using stop-action animation as the vehicle and who ultimately were major players in the production and post-production work.

Initially, storyboards were developed to show the client how the tips would be interpreted visually. But in the interest of time, we moved straight into animatics (storyboards in video form) to better convey timing within the tight 15-second spot.

To be good stewards of the client’s budget, we chose to get really inventive and make as many props as we could rather than purchasing them for the animation sequences.

The most important tools?

Imagination and a 3D printer.

More than 50 props featured in the final videos – from a cartful of groceries to a talking $100 “Benjamin” to, yes, KeyBank’s iconic red key – were generated by the team using a 3D printer.

To keep prop production rolling, jobs were stacked to keep the printer going essentially nonstop (we later added a second printer to help out), weaving quicker jobs with those like an intricate “roasted chicken” that took almost 12 hours to finish.

For further budget savings, almost everything (aside from a few real props) was fashioned in-house – hand models to voiceovers, directors to stylists to post-production.

The trickier part was the camera work with regard to pixilation, a technique using live actors for stop-motion animation. It’s a delicate process requiring foresight and a skilled eye for the nature of movement. Using actors in tandem with props made for a more interesting style.

We also were careful to compose the shots with social placement in mind, accommodating 16:9, 4:5, and square aspect ratios without losing any frame details.

Dragonframe, the industry-standard software for stop-motion work, was used for the video shoots, while Adobe After Effects helped in post-production. On average, each video took a day or two to shoot and a week of post-production.

The results for the three-and-a-half-month campaign were robust.

For instance, more than 5.5 million Facebook impressions were recorded in seven markets. Better yet, projections for completed views were surpassed by 69 percent – almost 500,000 views reached the end of the spot. That, in turn, meant the cost per completed view was half as much as projected.

Although the spots were created for a “video view” objective, they also resulted in more than 602 click-throughs to video-specific KeyBank articles for further information.

KeyBank was so impressed, they ordered 10 more videos. How’s that for compound interest?