End of the year... It is not only a time for a good atmosphere and conviviality, but also the ideal time to thank our customers for the great co-operation we have enjoyed. Traditionally, we do this with a nice creative gift that completely radiates “DOBIT” and emphasises the qualities of our creative team.
And that’s what we did this year as well; we brought our “creative minds” together to come up with something great. The options discussed included a virtual reality Christmas card, our own tea assortment, and a self-designed Gin (VOENK) with our own branding and promotional video.
But the idea we settled on this year was to develop our own beer. To give this idea more power and body, we came up with an accompanying back-story containing many DOBIT references. We thought it would be fun – since DOBIT is located in Olen – to include the Pot van Olen legend in our story. The legend is widely known and has already been published in various stories (e.g. the Suske en Wiske [Called Spike and Suzy in English] story: “De pottenproever”). The legend was formed in the Middle Ages and tells the story of the pot with 3 handles, which was presented to Charles V.
The idea was to talk about DOBIT events from the previous year, but frame them in the medieval times of the pot legend. First we wanted a playful live action video that would be shown at a historic location in which certain DOBIT employees, wearing medieval clothing, would tell the story of the creation of the Pot van Olen, and subsequently the beer.
Marc would then act as Charles V, sitting on his throne to be presented with the pot with 3 handles by some of DOBIT's employees. Employees known to our customers would be given a prominent role in the story to make it personal for our customers.
Given the short deadline, a “comprehensive” production did not seem the ideal path to take, so we went in search of an alternative form of storytelling. As a Game of Thrones fan (well, up to the final season, I hope you agree), I went to YouTube and found a video about the back-story of the upcoming prequel series (House of the Dragon). In it, they use drawings on stained glass windows to tell the history of the Lannisters.
This form of storytelling appealed to me immediately. It perfectly fits the medieval setting we had envisioned, and it was a fantastic opportunity to show off the creative talents of our team and make them shine.
The team were immediately on board with the idea, and I started writing a scenario. I wanted to incorporate as many events from the chaotic 2021 year as possible. Of course Corona and the global chip shortages played an important role in the story. Like many other companies, DOBIT also had to deal with a large number of employees who had doubts about whether they would be able to keep their jobs. I wanted to make sure our customers and viewers would feel a sense of: “Ah, they had the same experiences during this period.”
DOBIT is a family business, and this is also central to the story. The pot with 3 handles represents the 3 descendants of the Bruers family that will lead the company into the future.
And there are subtle references to our customers in the story as well. Can you spot them? As an easy example: “the mysterious extract from Paris” is of course a reference to ICI Paris XL.
As soon as the scenario was ready, the whole team got to work. Hendrik started developing the beautiful illustrations for the stained glass windows. Door, our graphics wonderboy, then used these illustrations as visual references for the labelling, e-mailing and website. I myself went in search of a good character voice for the voice-over. And I also developed the 3D environments that would be used to house the stained-glass windows in the video. For this I used 3D scans of church elements, columns, statues, and all kinds of medieval references.
One of the most important aspects for representing it all as realistically as possible is creating the right lighting. Originally we had planned to do this as a simple 2D animation, but I soon realised that we could create a lot more dynamics and drama if we went 3D. The drama was enhanced using an epic sound mix to accompany the video.
Internal projects such as these are the ideal breeding ground for unlimited creativity, but it is important not to get caught up in the ambition. After a tough tour de force from our creative team, we believe we have the results. It is rare to actually achieve exactly what you had in mind when you wrote the screenplay. In the end, we believe we have a video that surpasses the quality of the House of the Dragon prequel. We are certainly very proud of it :-).