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Meet the three women giving brands like HBO and Etsy a tactile appeal

Meet the three women giving brands like HBO and Etsy a tactile appeal
[Illustration: Artur Tenczyński]


Mighty Oak uses cut paper, custom puppets, and elaborate miniature sets to make stop-motion and 2-D-animated commercials that engage audiences jaded by run-of-the-mill computer graphics. “Our approach connects back to childhood,” says CEO Jess Peterson, who has a background in branding and communications; her cofounders, Emily Collins and Michaela Olsen, studied animation at Rhode Island School of Design. Last year, the four-year-old company booked more than $1 million in client work, including spots for Delta Dental (featuring tooth puppets demonstrating the importance of regular checkups), a stop-motion segment about gender-fluid dating for the pilot of HBO’s comedy Random Acts of Flyness, and a series of playful host-education videos for Airbnb Plus. This year, in addition to debuting a short film at Sundance, the trio has produced an appropriately DIY-feeling ad for Etsy, touting the company’s new carbon-neutral shipping policy. “We started with no portfolio or financing,” says Peterson. “In a short amount of time, we’ve seen everything grow organically, and we’ve been profitable since we were founded.”

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