New Musical Short Inspires Delight in DC


A couple of years ago, when Design Army’s short film for The Washington Ballet was casting spells on viewers, chief creative officer Pum Lefebure told HOW, “In the grand scheme of things, it’s also our mission as a creative agency to promote our city and the talented people who live here whenever we can.”

That mission continues today, and the results are stunning as ever.

Design Army’s latest client promotions work, a fun musical short, serves as the centerpiece of a campaign that celebrates DC’s newest shopping district, CityCenterDC. From a bicycling George Washington to a crazy-high ice cream cone, the whimsical world portrayed in the film is brimming with happy music, charming dance and bold color.

A Sense of Place

“While developing the campaign strategy for CityCenterDC,” Lefebure says, “we quickly realized there was a need to move away from strictly product-related imagery and move into messaging that speaks to the experience of the property.” The challenge, Lefebure adds, then became one of designing an experience that could both live across multiples channels (digital, TV, print and social) and convey a feeling to a viewer’s whose first touch point with CityCenterDC might in fact by virtual rather than physical.

“One of the greatest lessons we learned was the importance bringing design into an experience so an audience can connect, engage and get a true sense of place,” Lefebure says.

Behind the scenes of Design Army’s development and production of the musical short.

The District of Joy

While Design Army’s campaign is intended to highlight the range of luxury retailers and restaurants at CityCenterDC, it manages to go even beyond that. Dubbing DC “The District of Joy,” the film takes to the streets with such delightful force that it can’t help but bring some brightness back into the city in the midst of recent political negativity. As Lefebure puts it, every element of the campaign contains “a feeling of true happiness.”

Related: Lefebure will be at HOW Design Live this May. Register today to ensure you have a seat in her session!

And it took a lot of hands—those of 100+ artists and designers—to infuse the “West Side Story”–inspired film with so much happiness. Dancers from the Washington Ballet were choreographed by the acclaimed Septime Webre. Director Dean Alexander oversaw every aspect of film production alongside the creatives at Design Army, who also rolled up their sleeves to cast the dancers, actors and models and provide direction for costuming. (View full credits here.)

The print ads reflect the musical short’s dazzling imagery.

Reflecting on Design Army’s ongoing mission to promote DC and the talented people living and working there, Lefebure says, “The sense of urgency in nurturing new talent, and preserving what’s been built in the creative community here, is more heightened. DC is under more scrutiny now—so it’s up to those of us in the Washington creative community to show the world who we really [are]. Tolerant, inclusive and diverse.”

19377-HOW-Promo-120x240Design Army is well known for cranking out killer promotion design and
has picked up many an award from the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards in the process. 

But that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones. 

Past HOW competition winners hail from design firms big and small and also include freelancers, in-house designers and students.

Plus, it’s not just about paid client work. In addition to client promos, self-promotion projects, student work and more are all welcome.

Will you be among this year’s design champions? Enter your best work into the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards by 4/24!