Fun stunt outside Adweek conference makes serious point about creative tools

Dropbox rival Air devised a hilarious way to advertise their tool in New York City. We delve into the campaign and explore why using Air to streamline your assets is a smart move.

It was the oddest protest of the year so far, and even New Yorkers, who are more used to seeing weird stuff than most of us, were largely baffled.

Outside the entrance of Adweek's annual Commerce Week conference, a gaggle of elderly protestors raised banners with slogans such as 'Let me live to see my download finish' and shouted chants like 'I'm too old for this shit, Dropbox, you need to quit!'

The bizarre event, which was accompanied by a parody website called Silicon Gables, was basically an inventive way for creative collaboration platform Air to get their message across. That message is that outdated asset-sharing tools are taking up too much of our time and holding creatives back from being, well, creative.

As intended, this campaign really caught our attention, and we were keen to chat with Air about how they put it together. We'll get to that in a moment, but first, it's worth explaining what Air is all about and how it can help you become more creative and productive.

How Air can help

Have you ever had a day when you felt like you did a lot of work, but you didn't actually do anything creative? Instead of fully indulging your passion for art, design, photography, illustration or film-making, you've been staring at a laptop for hours, answering endless email requests, like: "Can you send me the assets to our latest release?"

To which you think: "Which assets are they talking about? What release? Urggh, this is probably going to take ages to sort out...."

We've all had days like this. And if you're not careful, this kind of time-suck will start happening more often and increasingly eat into your time.

Recentre your workflow

We can all sense it: demand for digital assets like images, videos and graphics is growing exponentially. And that's putting immense pressure on us to produce more, with faster turnaround times. In fact, it often feels like we spend more of our time managing assets than we do creating them.

So how do we recentre our workflow away from what is essentially admin and back to the imaginative, creative, fun side of our jobs?

Well, in a nutshell, you need a platform that will automate everything for you and centralise your creative assets. And that's where Air comes in.

One hub, no stress

Founded by two Stanford roommates in New York, Air is revolutionising how teams manage their digital assets and creative workflow.

So how does it work? Well, quite simply, Air brings together all your creative tools and content sources into one centralised hub.

This streamlined workspace allows everyone involved in a project to easily access assets, express ideas, provide feedback, approve content, and make decisions without jumping between multiple apps and disorganised folders.

In other words, no more requests for you to dig out random files from your hard drive. No more trying to work out whether the current version is the one called "", "", or "". No more clients opening the wrong file and getting confused. In other words, no more wasted time, miscommunication and all-round frustration.

And that means you can spend less time sorting through redundant assets and more time unleashing your creativity.

Growing concern

This isn't a secret, by the way. Over 120,000 users rely on Air every day to centralise their images, videos and other creative files in one unified library.

Air is used across the world today by large enterprises and major brands like Google, Sweetgreen, and Procter & Gamble. And overall, nearly 100 million assets are currently being organised through a single, organised workspace.

But Air isn't just for big brands. Its free starter plan means companies of any size can take advantage of its powerful media management capabilities.

How the campaign was made

Ariel Rubin, the head of content at Air, explains the serious point behind the stunt. "Creative work is becoming more complex because more people and tools are involved," he says. "In the past, people used data-agnostic cloud storage to manage that work.

"The challenge today," he continues, "is that the logistics have gotten too complicated. Instead of doing great work, creatives spend their entire day working through logistics. That is the frustration we hear from so many customers who come to us from tools like Dropbox and Box – and what we wanted to embody with our angry elderly protestors."

But why picket the Adweek conference? "We always want to go where our customer is," Ariel explains. "So we thought it'd be fun to do that literally. We want to win over creative leaders. We believe our product speaks for itself. A protest with its potential for great content and even virality is really just a way to bring a megaphone."

It all came together quite quickly, he explains. "We hired a publicity company called Crowds on Demand that focuses on crowd events and IRL activations to bring together a group of actors who were in their 60s and 70s. The concept was to gather a cohort of elderly retirees holding up signs that said 'Retire Dropbox' and 'I was 28 when I started downloading this file' to the entrance of Adweek's annual Commerce Week conference.

"We wrote chants such as 'We are retired. Dropbox you’re fired', and even hired a fake news crew to 'cover' the event," he adds. "We built a landing page for a website for a fake retirement centre featuring other aged software being taken care of by support staff. We called it Silicon Gables."

It's a great idea, brilliantly realised. And like most successful campaigns, it fundamentally works because it's drawing on something we all feel in our gut. That our current tools just make our work too fiddly and waste too much time, and there must be something better out there. Well, it is – it's called Air, and you can get started for free here.

Further Information

Sound good? Anyone who comes in via Silicon Gables can get 3 months of Air totally free. Click on the link below to take advantage of this offer.

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