+ The Year that Changed Us
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Far far away, a long time ago, around 2015 bc. In a land of warriors, witches, and superheros called Wizard Con we were the digital agency on record.

A Different Sort Of December

As we approach the end of the year at Pastilla, our annual reviews, 2021 planning, client communication, and team structure all look much, much different. But this is no surprise. It seems redundant at this point to acknowledge that the pandemic forced internal changes for our agency as we switched to working remotely, but that wasn’t the only change. This year also had major ramifications on our client’s needs and how we built specific strategies to empower them to tackle 2020.

In this way, Pastilla has become a more adept and agile agency for our clients. Because as universal as the effects of the pandemic were, our clients faced difficult, big picture problems that were unique to their field and required solid, trustworthy solutions.

This was more than the typical creative problem solving, it was a complete overhaul. Reevaluating our client’s needs and pushing the boundaries of digital engagement. This article highlights how we applied our broad digital knowledge to carve creative pathways through 2020 for our clients in order to maximize their potential in a trying year.

The First Big Question

For Pastilla, our partnership with the Golden Globes posed the first major questions of the pandemic. As the lockdown progressed, we realized that both the Nomination event and the Award Show itself could be moved to an online platform, propelling us into blue-sky ideation to transform the medium for both events. While the idea did not ultimately come to fruition due to rescheduling, it set the stage for 2020, as we realized that this sort of high-level pivot would become the “new normal” for our clients.

Cedars Sinai Teams Up With LA Recreation and Parks

As many businesses activated their pandemic strategies, many things were put on hold for our public sector clients. However, through our partnership with Cedars Sinai Cancer, our team developed a strategy that enabled the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks to make the most of this year and safely serve park visitors. By folding them into our projects with ShineLA, a ten-year research health initiative that promotes recreational health and fitness activities for Los Angeles, we were able to identify the pertinent holes in LA Park’s online sign-up system and worked with them to create a permanent, digital solution. Saving them money and equipping them for long-term success in the digital era.

Metrolink Messaging Pivot: Safe and Essential

Like many transportation industries, Metrolink experienced a dip in ridership as a result of the stay-at-home order. However, as a necessary service for the many communities in Southern California, shutting down was not an option. Metrolink brought us on board to produce ongoing content and create messaging, most of which needed to be communicated through the lens of their pandemic protocols and safety steps in a clear, concise, and trustworthy tone. Ultimately, our work enabled Metrolink to raise awareness regarding train and covid safety, simultaneously connecting them to their riders, as they provided them with an essential connection.

Taking Price Schools Virtual

Taking Price Schools online happened within the context of COVID safety, but also amongst the flood of information regarding our newfound virtual rhythms. As they navigated the challenges of student safety, our team assisted by transitioning the entire school to an online learning platform. Working alongside their staff, we also shot and produced a virtual walk-through video of the school and drafted clear messaging that translated Price School’s professionalism and prioritization of student safety.

Testing The Limits With My Lab Box

While many of our clients we’re reinventing themselves, myLAB Box was living out its core mission of providing lab-certified medical tests directly to your home. The only difference? Now they were working producing at-home tests for COVID.

Pastilla helped myLAB Box integrate COVID testing into their portfolio, optimizing their ability to provide at-home tests for coronavirus. This came with an assortment of unexpected turns and set back due to shifting FDA regulations, especially in the early stages. After working around the clock, we were able to successfully launch products over the summer, integrating new partners and physicians to offer COVID at-home testing to a wider audience.

A New Rhythm With Amoeba

In true 2020 fashion, Amoeba Music was hit with multiple challenges. On top of the closure of their historic Hollywood Blvd. location, they experienced setbacks with their website and online ordering, resulting in loss of sales. Our team worked with this iconic brand to develop ideas that worked intuitively for their customers and helped them transition their iconic brick-and-mortar legacy to the world of online commerce. Our team addressed both their hardware and software issues to construe their analog legacy with digital prowess just in time for the holidays. Ultimately, this saved this boosting profits and resulted in over 20% year over year growth. Ensuring that Amoeba’s new online system succeeds throughout the coronavirus shutdown, as well as in the future of digital commerce.

More Than a PR Stunt – Leveraging Our Knowledge In A Tough Year

Our Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Rudy Manning, is also a proud Board Member at Art Division, a non-profit dedicated to training and supporting underserved youth committed to studying the visual arts. On May 15th, 2021, they’ll be holding their annual Gala, except it’ll be their 10th anniversary; thus, an important anniversary. With a pandemic forcing an immense amount of restrictions on what would be considered a traditional Gala, Art Division still looks to reach fundraising goals to help drive their strategic vision. At the moment, we’re developing our plan for Pastilla and Art Division to hold a virtual gala with the same success and impact as the previous years, while it is solely physical.

The Horizon Ahead

With the year behind us, it’s clear that through every project pivot and campaign change, communication was the thread that held us together. Across our team and our client collaborations, it made things more concise, affording us the ability to be more creative, more memorable, and increase our team efficiency and morale through communicative clarity. In many ways, it was the invisible imperative that enabled our team at Pastilla to adapt our broad knowledge of digital and execute client-specific projects with holistic precision.

While this year was the tipping point for reimagining the potential of digital experiences and online engagement, it is also the beginning of an emergent new wave of broad virtual communication and online engagement. As we plan for the future, we are excited about the work we’ve accomplished and hopeful for what the horizon holds in 2021.