Founded by industry veteran Xavier Savant, Glassell House served as the lead creative agency for Kevin Hart’s concert film tour, spearheading the ideation and development of promotional materials across traditional and digital platforms. In addition to driving the film's lead up, Savant’s team also created the title sequence, movie posters, billboards and large in-stadium motion graphics that appeared behind Hart during each of his sold-out appearances.
Following the company’s success with “What Now”, Lionsgate and Codeblack partnered with Glassell House to lead the marketing initiatives for the Tupac Shakur biopic, providing creative direction and production of the primary photo shoots for the film's global marketing efforts. Additionally, the collective designed the three collectible movie posters that were distributed to every major domestic market in support of the film’s outdoor campaign.
With proven experience, an expanding team and growing portfolio of clients, Glassell House has become a sought-after creative agency tapped by major studios and independent production companies looking to market high-profile cultural films.
I spoke with Glassell House founder and CEO Xavier about the vision behind his company, shifting from traditional to digital marketing, and his approach to crafting the marketing campaigns for many of today’s top cultural movies.
You began your career in print before building your business in the internet era -- What were your keys to successfully making the transition from traditional advertising to digital marketing?
Xavier Savant: I spent a lot of time working in print. The talk about ‘print is dead’ started happening fairly recently. The shift really happened within the last 10 years, when companies started generating revenue online, which led to big investments in digital. How content is delivered may continue
Describe your approach to communication design and the role it plays in building
Xavier Savant: When you look at art as a tool, you start to understand the relationship other people have with art. You have people that are surrounded by or experiencing design everyday that never see it as art. When you go into a grocery store and look to buy something, every product is packaged in art. It’s communication design. That’s often the primary piece that drives you to make a purchase. There was most likely a designer sitting in front of a computer crafting that image that grabbed your attention. It’s exactly like language and other forms of communication, just in visual form. Being able to have something you can
How did your relationship with Kevin Hart originate and what was the
Xavier Savant: It was timing, opportunity and preparation coming together. I was working at a major advertising agency in Hollywood. They acquired a company I worked for, and I became the head of their video game group. The company shifted and decided they weren’t going to focus on video game clients anymore. My team kept getting smaller, until it was just myself, an Account Executive and one 3D artist. That was a sign that even with all of the great work we had done in the time period, it was time to move on. I started thinking about what was going to challenge me next. I freelanced for a few companies independently, and kept my own list of clients. Then, one day, the phone rang. It was Harbeat, Kevin Hart’s company. They explained that Kevin was looking to go on tour soon, and asked if I was interested in creating some announcement art work for it. They already had key art and some of the other important elements, so they just needed something he could post on Instagram to let his fans know it was coming. So, I told them let’s get some photography done and I’ll put something together. We made a short presentation with art, a logo, and gave direction that felt like an action movie. It was a very unconventional concept for promoting comedy. We wanted to make him look like an action hero. We sent the ideas over, he posted a couple, and got a great response internally and online. After that, he said he wanted to scrap all of the previous design work and go with what we presented. That’s where it all started. They came back and asked what else I could do. They needed
What was your mentality stepping into ‘All Eyez On Me’ knowing the magnitude, hype and conversation surrounding the film?
Xavier Savant: Like a lot of people, I came up in that era and was a huge Tupac fan. Also, being from Los Angeles, ‘California Love’ was the West Coast anthem. Prior to the project, I’d seen different films and documentaries about his life and influence. When this opportunity came back around, I had met L.T. Hutton at a screening and listened to him and others share stories about Pac. I could see how passionate they were and how much they cared about him. They wanted to make sure the project captured the essence of him as a man, and the kind of person he was — not just an artist. Tupac had many different faces — he was a poet, a rapper, an actor and a rebel. The challenge became deciding which direction we wanted to go, and what sides we wanted to show at this stage. The film was intended to be somewhat of an untold story about his life, and give people a new perspective. Everybody knows the loud and outspoken Tupac they would see in the press, but I really wanted to capture the deep, reflective side of him. I watched hours of his interviews, hearing him talk about politics, the struggle, the youth, and the music. I didn’t want it to be overdone, just the reflective side of Tupac. We created several posters, and each one resonated differently with people. We didn’t want people to feel like they were seeing someone playing Tupac, but feel like they were actually seeing Tupac at first glance. During the whole process, you could feel his presence in the room and on the set, which I think you could sense in all of the work.
What were some of the notable challenges you faced while building your business?
Xavier Savant: The first challenge was
How have you managed to
Xavier Savant: One tough challenge in this industry is managing perception. Typically, what would happen is that a movie producer will have a project, and get that project distributed by a major studio. That studio has a marketing department, Director of Creative Services, and so forth. Those people have longstanding relationships with different agencies. For example, they have a best friend who works at a major creative agency, and they go directly to those agencies and partner
What are some of the lessons you have learned throughout this process that have helped get to where you are today?
Xavier Savant: One of