In today’s crowded content environment, the ability to simplify and quickly communicate a concept is perhaps more valuable than it has ever been. While key art and still imagery may seem like relics from a forgotten age, they actually remain at the core of any marketing campaign.
That’s where Burbank, Calif.-based entertainment marketing agency Truest comes in. Started by Rob Kandefer in 2015, Truest strives to provide quality services with a personal touch, to reduce shows and films to their simplest, most iconic visual form and then relay that idea out to the masses.
“They are really good at distilling down a concept into something that’s clean and simple, which is not as easy as it sounds,” said Michael Bassett, senior creative director, Fox Entertainment, a frequent client of Truest’s.
In the past several years, Truest has worked closely with Fox to create key art and campaigns for several of Fox’s reality and competition series, including Name That Tune and Celebrity Name That Tune, I Can See Your Voice, The Real Dirty Dancing, Beat Shazam, Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen and the iHeartRadio Awards. Truest also works for many other clients, including CBS, Discovery, Netflix, Sony, Disney Channel and The CW, and does theatrical work as well.
“We love working with Truest because as a smaller boutique agency, you really get that dedicated experience with them,” said Bassett. “They work really hard on projects and you can tell they have a good eye for details. We never feel like things are rushed or that we are being slighted because they have too many things on their plate.”
Truest started working with Fox on Name That Tune in early 2020 just as the pandemic was setting in. As it did for so many, the pandemic radically changed what Truest was able to do in terms of being able to shoot the talent – hosts Jane Krakowski and Randy Jackson – so it pivoted.
After the shoot was canceled, erasing all of the planning work Truest had done, “we reapproached it. We ended up leaning into iconography that’s popular with music,” said Kandefer.
In this case, Truest turned the familiar parental advisory label into a graphic element, placing it on top of a background of a vinyl record, choosing vinyl as both a retro throwback to the original show, and something still used in the music scene today.
Truest also created custom emojis that gave viewers a musical puzzle to solve.
“When I was a teenager, [a parental advisory label] was how you could tell if an album was cool,” joked Kandefer.
For seasons two and three of the show, Truest had access to photography featuring the hosts, so the agency was able to focus the imagery around Krakowski and Jackson. For the second season, Krakowski and Jackson were wearing the show’s colors of deep purple and royal blue so Truest stayed within that palette.
And then in season three, Fox did a celebrity version so Truest polished the campaign in premium black and gold, pulling from both episodic and gallery photos for a ‘caught moment’ feel. It also lit up the grand piano at which Jackson is sitting.
“Our three seasons of solves for Name That Tune speaks to who we are as an agency,” said Kandefer. “You can put us on anything and we’ll go in guns blazing with good quality, follow through and in-house finishing. We also help with production and title design. We can handle anything given to us with finesse and care.”
“I think it’s hard with game shows and Fox has a lot of them,” said Bassett. “Truest makes all of these properties look distinctive. We hope to continue working with Truest on lots of projects in the future.”