Work

How 30 minutes made Bridgewater a household name

Transformed a learning tool that brought this hedge fund into the spotlight

Client: Bridgewater

Background

Several years after the 2008 financial crisis, people around the world were still trying to make sense of the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Clients of Bridgewater Associates—the largest hedge fund in the world—were no different.

For 40 years, Bridgewater’s leaders had been sharing their understanding of how the economy works with clients. In the aftermath of the recession, it was even more important to help people understand the drivers of economic cycles. To that end, the company published “How the Economic Machine Works: A Template for Understanding” and refined the paper over several years. The content was relevant, but the paper’s length and academic tone presented a barrier to some readers.

The Work

The opportunity facing Bridgewater was audacious: the company could bring its informed perspective on drivers of economic cycles, like deleveraging, to thousands—if not millions—of people worldwide. But such a significant project needed an internal champion. That instigator was Lex Nabarro of Lexaeon, then Bridgewater’s head of public relations. He pitched a solution to make the paper’s content accessible to a much wider audience: an engaging, 30-minute animated video. He marshalled and led a team that handled all aspects of production, including rigorous audience research and painstaking quality control. The animation was so effective that Lex was put in charge of executing the promotional campaign. That effort, which included translating the video into several foreign languages, was an unprecedented success. With over 5 million views on YouTube—the largest search engine behind Google—the animation firmly positioned the company as a trusted authority. Today, it's the go-to learning tool for anyone seeking to understand the basics of how our economy functions.

Insights

  • To ensure complex concepts will be understood, present only one concept or idea at a time
  • Extensive testing of viewers’ comprehension is critical to ensure the final design offers something for everyone, regardless of their baseline understanding

Impact Stats

  • 5,600,000+ YouTube views
  • 85,000+ YouTube likes
  • Taught in 20+ universities
  • 7 languages
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