Work

Portugal. The Man: Music Videos

Portland

When videos become secret Trump resistance toolkits.

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For the album’s first single, Feel It Still, we shot what appeared to be a typical rock star music video. But within it we embedded 30 secret, interactive links: an underground resistance toolkit to help people fight the Trump administration. Fans could search around the video to find ways to make a positive change in the world, including donation sites to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, a custom website featuring a direct-dial to the White House, videos explaining protester rights, downloadable protest posters based on the band’s lyrics.

The video was covered by major publications like Vice’s Noisey, Spin, The FADER, and Fast Company. People who watched the video averaged 17 interactions per viewing—four times the platform’s previous record. A scathing report on the video by alt-right media personality, host of Infowars and rage potato Alex Jones triggered another massive round of interest in the band and attention to the causes. And while we’re currently still watching the song climb the charts, it is safe to say this is the band’s biggest hit by far. The album has just gone platinum, and has been number one on the alt charts since June.

For the next release, Rich Friends, we tapped Always Sunny in Philadelphia favorite Glenn Howerton to star in a decidedly darker video. Hosted on a custom-made site, the interactive experience looked and felt like the viewer was being overtaken by pop-up ads. As the banners filled up the screen, they interacted with each other to tell a twisted story of an abusive relationship—and its bloody end. Even though Rich Friends was not a promoted single, the video got a massive amount of coverage and made Thrillist’s Best Music Videos of 2017.

Another video, “Live in the Moment,” called on an array of local Portland talent to create a unique music video featuring a 10-foot-tall, skateboarding puppet.

Wieden+Kennedy creative director Erik Fahrenkopf had this to say about the process:

“The guys from Portugal. The Man asked us to create a music video for their single ‘Live in the Moment.’ We said, ‘Yes!’ Then we said, ‘Hold on, when’s it due?’ And they were like, ‘I don’t know; you should talk to our manager, Rich.’ And Rich said, ‘Real soon.’ We said, ‘What if we worked with Lance Woolen to build a 10-foot puppet and had him ride around on a Cadillac like it was a skateboard, and then he gets chased by a 10-foot cop on top of a giant Segway?’ Rich said, ‘I don’t know, lemme ask the band.’ They said, ‘That sounds pretty stupid. Can we shoot it next Thursday?’ We said, ‘How about Wednesday?’ And they said, ‘Wednesday’s actually better.’ And we said, ‘Let’s shoot in Portland, with a local crew. Even the stuntman.’ And they said, ‘Stuntman?’ And we said, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna kickflip a Cadillac.’ And they said, ‘If we don’t total the Cadillac, can we have it?’ And we said, ‘Of course.’”

Beyond videos, our collaboration with the band touched nearly everything they did—from designing shirts for their late-night appearances; to custom strains of marijuana designed to be smoked while listening to the album; to hand-crafted lyric videos done in a single take; to projected graphics for concerts and festivals. And there’s a ton more coming.