Autodesk’s design software is found behind physical projects of all kinds, from architecture and engineering to construction and manufacturing, but its media and entertainment tools might go unrecognized. That changed in a fittingly entertaining way during the 2023 Academy Awards, which featured a tongue-in-cheek homage to the artists behind the scenes of Hollywood’s blockbusters. In a series of faux documentary-style commercials, Autodesk is personified as “Otto Desc,” an underappreciated filmmaking legend. Of course, by the end of the series, Autodesk is revealed as the true star, its products behind award-winning visual special effects from the last 25 years or more.
The clever marketing campaign came courtesy of Maximum Effort, the creative agency co-founded by actor and tech entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds. Autodesk found the Oscars the perfect opportunity to make its own media debut, as well as to reveal the fitting tag line, “Make Anything” in addition to visual effects for films such as “Avatar,” “Inception,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Dara Treseder, Chief Marketing Officer at Autodesk, brought Maximum Effort on as a creative and strategic partner when she joined in 2022, giving the company the kind of advantage usually reserved for the silver screen’s favorite underdogs.