Software company Adobe is best known for digital creation and distribution programs such as Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere. Its media player software Flash was an industry standard for well over a decade until it was phased out in 2020 following a backlash by Apple and other developers. However, as growth of Adobe's heritage products has slowed, the company has diversified aggressively and successfully into other areas such as web analytics, digital marketing and CRM through acquisitions including Omniture in 2010 and digital agency Efficient Frontier in 2011. Further such deals have followed. It added stock photo and illustration service Fotolia in 2015, while its acquisition of video advertising company TubeMogul for $540m was the single most valuable tech acquisition completed in 2016 by any purchaser. Commerce specialist Magneto joined the group in 2018, along with marketing analytics platform Marketo, Adobe's biggest deal to date at $4.7bn. Workfront, a work management program for marketers, was acquired in 2020 for $1.5bn. The group was founded in 1982 by ex-Xerox software engineers John Warnock and Charles Geschke to develop PostScript, a page description language for printers, which itself evolved into the now-ubiquitous PDF format introduced a decade later. Adobe subsequently developed the Type 1 font family and drawing program Illustrator. Photoshop was introduced in 1989, followed by Acrobat in 1993. Since then, the company has expanded mainly through acquisitions, including Aldus (maker of PageMaker) in 1994 and Macromedia (Flash, DreamWeaver) in 2005. Several of these digital creation tools are now grouped under the banner of online platform Adobe Creative Cloud. The company's performance came under pressure after 2012 as a result of its shift from packaged software to online "software as a service" subscriptions for all its products. After a temporary lull in 2013, revenues have begun to soar once again, more than doubling over the course of five years to an all-time high of $12.9bn in fiscal 2020. Net income for the latter year soared by 78% to $5.3bn. Digital media software under the Adobe Creative Cloud and Acrobat banners accounted for three-quarters of revenues. Founders Warnock and Geschke retired from executive roles in 2001. Warnock remains a director but Geschke retired from the board in 2020. Shantanu Narayen is chairman & CEO.
Capsule checked 22nd February 2021
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Adbrands Daily Update 5th Aug 2021: "Create What's True To You". Trust Billie Eilish to do things differently for the music video for the first single off her new album. She's already worked with Adobe before in promotional tie-ups, but now she's upgraded that relationship to full partnership by making the video herself using Adobe tools. (We're sure she had a fair bit of technical assistance). The accompanying ad explores some of the cool tricks that Adobe Creative Cloud makes available to any curious creator.
Adbrands Daily Update 31st May 2021: "Fantastic Voyage: Edited By Me". 72andSunny keeps up its stellar work on the Adobe account, with a new installment of the "Fantastic Voyage" series. Adobe ads don't come round that often, but when they do, they're always worth the wait. This time round, it's Adobe's video editing software Premiere Pro that gets top billing in a spectacular sequence of mind-blowing edits and segues. Yes, it might say "Edited by Me, Directed by Me" at the end, but it still took a whole team of experts at 72andSunny, prodco Reset and effects house Alt.vfx to deliver this 60 second cut. So don't worry if your own solo efforts don't quite match up. Yet.
Adbrands Daily Update 28th Aug 2020: "Fantastic Voyage". 72andSunny takes over from Adobe's usual agency Goodby Silverstein with a fabulously colourful and imaginative campaign for Photoshop. "While we started the campaign before Covid-19, we entered into production right as the pandemic started to hit the United States," says 72andSunny creative director Lauren Smith. "In an interesting twist of fate, we had to use the power of imagination not only in our film but also in the way we made it. From remote production night shoots in Prague to a video village in Los Angeles to countless remote post-production calls across oceans and time zones and remote editing/mixing/colouring, we figured out ways to work that we previously wouldn't have imagined possible. The result is a stunning ode to the places our imagination can take us, even when the world puts constraints and limitations on us."
Adbrands Daily Update 7th Feb 2020: "Creativity For All". Goodby Silverstein's Adobe ad, due to air during the Oscars telecast on Sunday, is almost brilliant. We have no problem at all with the fact that it's a few months old (first debuted at the Adobe Max conference last November); nor with the fact that it's a clever mash-up of existing graphic work from a whole host of different contributors. As a result, current hot influencer properties including Billie Eilish and Malala Yousafzai make cameo appearances. Each of the individual artworks is a stunner, and the illustration of how they were created is fascinating. No, our problem is something else entirely: if we hear Gene Wilder singing 'Pure Imagination' over an ad just one more time, we're going to explode. This has to be the most over-used soundtrack song of all time, regularly trotted out three or four times a year by different advertisers. Guys, next time, how about using a bit of that celebrated imagination to come up with a different piece of inspirational music.
Adbrands Social Media 5th Apr 2019: "In The Time It Takes To Get There". Oh, this is fabulous! Adobe and Pereira & O'Dell launched a promotion last year asking contestants to design a movie poster using Adobe software; the best would be made into a real film. Student Sam West's winning design has now been (very loosely) adapted by writer and director (and former 'Scrubs' star) Zach Braff, and boy has he done Sam proud. This fantastic film is a wicked satire on the evils of modern-day social media influencers, but set in some imaginary pre-internet epoque. No apparent reason for that but it adds hugely to the fun and also the look of the piece. The cast is led by Florence Pugh and Alicia Silverstone - both excellent - and there's even a cheeky cameo from Andy King, infamous producer of the ill-fated FYRE festival, which in itself encapsulated everything that's wrong with the world of the Instagram influencer. The film is 11 minutes long, but believe me, it's worth every minute. Could be our favourite ad of the year to-date.
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