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Mining Through the Ages

When Caterpillar turned to Simantel for help raising general awareness among mining audiences around Cat® Customer Value Agreements (CVAs) for mining, the result was a timeless concept that generated buzz among customers and marketing industry award judges alike. Not only was the “Mining Through the Ages” campaign a success, it also won a Platinum Viddy Award and a Gold Telly.

All-Time Support

Since the dawn of time, humans have searched for easier ways to take care of business. Fortunately, Caterpillar provides a solution. At least, one that supports the common needs of mine sites—Cat® Customer Value Agreements (CVAs) for mining.

CVAs are intended to give lasting equipment protection, increase component life and streamline business operations. These flexible plans can help maximize uptime with a 100% hassle-free experience –– tailored to support ground engaging tools (GET) and buckets, hydraulic hoses and couplings, powertrain and undercarriage as well as site performance and overall maintenance needs.

The only thing missing—a humorous and unexpected way to raise awareness and communicate the value of mining CVAs. That’s when “Through the Ages” was born.

Mining Through the Ages

By showcasing various situations throughout history where CVA support would have been beneficial, the campaign emphasized that it’s all a matter of time—whether adding hours of productivity to the clock, bringing downtime to zero or increasing the amount of times mining customers receive on-site, hassle-free support 24/7.

For mining customers, the key takeaway was that there’s never been a better moment to choose a Cat CVA.

The Story

In the primary awareness video, “Mining Through the Ages,” a Cat dealer rep finishes discussing the value of Cat CVAs with a customer and his employee. Then, the customer wonders what CVAs could’ve been doing for his business all this time.

Meanwhile, the employee considers what CVAs could’ve done for humankind had past generations been lucky enough to have this type of support. This triggers a series of flashbacks, to the Stone Age, the Middle Ages, the Wild West and the nifty 1950s.

The visual elements of the video content — and by extension, the overall campaign — were defined by the chosen eras showcased within each segment. When combined, the long-form video (with its two-and-a-half minute runtime) tells the complete story.

The Strategy Behind the Story

Whether it’s the implication of holistic mine-site solutions in the Stone Age, equipment health management in the Middle Ages, speed and cost savings in the Wild West or flexible payment options in the 1950s, every scenario provides an opportunity to present a unique selling proposition.

Overall, the primary messaging that “there’s never a better time than now” to sign up for a CVA gives viewers a sense of urgency. Then, the final voice-over tag speaks to the wide range of options, stating that CVAs are “flexible plans like never before.”

Mining Through the Ages

Producing the Spots

Visuals – Simantel worked closely with Atlanta-based production company 45 Studios to make the script a reality. Animators developed the visual effects, with backgrounds to be digitally generated and rotoscoped later. The attention to detail can be seen in each frame, from a computer-generated catapult to waving flags and passing clouds.

Casting – In casting the three roles, finding the right mix and chemistry was key. Due to their relationship within the spots, the actors had to play effective comic foils. They needed enough range to perform the various styles and historical archetypes that each scenario demanded.

Filming – Filming took place on a soundstage and at a local diner in Atlanta, Georgia. With dozens of crew members involved, the production team managed cinematography, lighting and sound as well as the use of fire and visual elements to be added in later.

Over the course of the two-day shoot, 45 Studios collaborated with Simantel creatives as well as makeup, props and costume designers. They ensured the general approach remained consistent throughout all spots, while finding moments to make each scenario unique.

Post Production – Several months of post-production followed the shoot. The first few days were reserved for organizing and building a rough edit of raw footage. Then, about four weeks were spent creating grayscale backgrounds, four weeks for rotoscoping backgrounds, three weeks for compositing or combining various background and foreground elements into a single edit, and two weeks for final review, edits and delivery.

Mining Through the Ages

Eons of Content, One Web Experience

While the “Mining Through the Ages” full-length video and cutdowns were the centerpiece of the campaign, additional copy and production stills appeared in paid media, paid and organic social, paid search and streaming for video and static assets targeted specifically to mining audiences. All assets led users to the campaign landing page, which was structured to take visitors “Through the Ages” as they scrolled.

Ultimately, campaign content had a flighted distribution in sequential order, with Stone Age-themed assets focused on modernization and upgrades, Middle Ages-themed assets focused on expertise and repairs, Wild West-themed assets focused on speed and onsite-support and 1950s-themed assets focused on cost savings.

Mining Through the Ages

The Results

Like when cavemen discovered fire, “Mining Through the Ages” captured attention. And that’s the main objective for awareness campaigns like this one –– to plant the prospect of Caterpillar solutions into the minds of future customers while reminding current customers that there are options available to them. This way, all viewers see the brand in a positive, unforgettable light.

“Mining Through the Ages” leveraged high-level tactics to raise awareness among mining audiences. Without the video content, there would have been fewer users sent down the marketing funnel, fewer visitors to the Cat RI web experience and less leads and sales.

Thanks to media efforts, there were over 6.5 million YouTube views for the overview and cutdown videos with 26 million engagements and 1.68 million interactions on social media.

After an initial focus on reach and impressions to gather true awareness, campaign goals shifted toward engagement. As a result, the Cat RI team saw an increase from 816,000 clicks and 110 million impressions in the first half of the year to 1.9 million clicks and 90.6 million impressions with an average 2.1% clickthrough rate as of December 2023. “Mining Through the Ages” ranks among the all-time highest viewed campaigns for Cat products.

The Recognition

The success of “Mining Through the Ages” extends beyond performance metrics. The campaign also won two creative awards.

Platinum Viddy AwardThe full-length video also won a Platinum Viddy Award at the 28th annual international awards competition recognizing outstanding achievement in video and digital production skills. Formerly known as the Videographer Awards, the Viddy Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP)

 

The campaign also took home a Gold Award in the Branded Content – Commercials category at the 45th annual Telly Awards. The Telly Awards honor excellence in video and television across all screens and is judged by leaders from video platforms, television, streaming networks and production companies.

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