Agency Creates Photo Filter ‘Non-App’

Hefe, X-pro, Kelvin — everyone has a favorite Instagram filter. But what about iPhone 5 users and their big panoramic pictures that don’t work on Instagram?

Craig Elimeliah, director of digital and emerging technology at Rapp, has a solution. He and his team at Rapp have created a cool new photo filter service for panoramic smartphone pictures that doesn’t require downloading a new app. All you need is a Twitter account. It’s called Pananorama, and how it works is that you can tweet your panoramic images on Twitter with specific hashtags and Pananorama tweets them back to you filtered. Elimeliah took time to further explain his “non-app,” as he calls it, and the agency product myth.

Can you explain a bit more about how it works, how the filters are applied via hasthag?
We create custom filters and graphics; we then associate those filters with a hashtag on Twitter, either our own hashtag or any hashtag. Our service then looks for images in tweets containing the hashtags we are monitoring, and if there is an image associated with the tweet, our service will automatically filter that image.

Can you also explain a bit more about filters and trending topics? 
Let’s say there is a trending topic; we can instantly associate a filter to that topic, and, presto, you now have content, both words and images, branded in real time. No friction whatsoever. This is huge for brands. Many brands would love to have custom filters but can’t get them through Instagram. We eliminate that by giving them a turnkey solution to release a hashtag and filter combo or leverage a trending hashtag and join in on the conversation by providing users the ability to “brand” images through filters, logos and text overlays.

What is the appeal of Instagram?
I am [an avid Instagram user]. The appeal is capturing a moment and applying a texture to that moment. Photographers are famous for how they treat images. David LaChapelle is a great example. Except now, everyone can do it. Our service will soon allow people and brands to actually create their own custom filters the way photographers always have done manually.

Communities are important when it comes to social media. Part of Instagram’s draw seems to be that is its own platform/community where people can visually follow their friends. How will Pananorama fit into this? 
It uses Twitter as its social component. We are eliminating a step and letting people socialize and be creative at the same time. We study culture and behaviors and try to find frictionless ways to get people to do more with less. Twitter makes this social by design, and making hashtags function is just an example of us as an agency to create a better way to communicate on the platform. It’s evolution.

What do you make of the agency product myth? Should agencies be making their own products?
Yes! I have always believed that, as agencies, it is our job to make products and utilities that extend the value of client offerings. That’s our job.

Do you think agencies should be competing with startups or learning from them and working with them?
Working with them. We don’t need to compete. They need us to help better understand how to monetize platforms and to help brands communicate and offer value on those platforms. They are channels, and we are innovators in how to communicate across those channels. We can learn from their ambition, lean methodologies and nimbleness, and they can learn from us as to how to best provide the right ways to get people to communicate. It’s symbiotic.