Algorithmic Art: U.S. Treasury Yield Curve

The Situation

What is the best strategy for making money in the stock market right now? Shhhhhh… it’s a secret. When we embarked on consumer-research for this project, we discovered a chamber of secrets darker than any found in the Potter universe. Because of the opportunities to make money – and beat others to it – there isn’t much knowledge-sharing about tactics or software. But we persisted and discovered that the relationship between a trader and his software isn’t as tight as you might expect. Off-the-shelf-software is becoming more common in the industry, it’s perceived not as a competitive advantage, but simply as a tool for the trader to execute their own strategy, and this strategy is the secret sauce. This is where good traders rise to the top.

Today, these traders are armed with PHDs and sophisticated tools. Since these tools make millions of trades faster than a human can blink, the rewards – and the risks – are high. While traders continue to look for an edge, firms are investing more heavily in risk management tools to protect themselves from the unexpected.

The Rival product ecosystem empowers both traders and risk managers to implement their strategies with the real-time data and sophisticated calculations not found in competitor products. How can a marketing campaign break through the veil of silence and make people care enough to consider a new brand? How can we demonstrate that a smarter tool will actually lead to a smarter strategy?

The Solution

After conducting user-testing sessions, it was clear that feature-oriented messaging just wasn’t going to cut it. So instead of being all-talk, our strategy for the campaign was to demonstrate Rival’s value in an unexpected way. To do this, we hired a digital artist to create an algorithm. But an algorithm – like a trading strategy – is only as good as the input it’s given, so we provided troves of data from key events and facets of the trading industry.

The results were unexpected and beautiful. These one-of-a-kind works of art helped us capture the attention of a skeptical target audience and demonstrated the value of Rival’s best-in-class data collection and strategy simulation. The message is clear: real-time market data plus big-picture thinking enables smart strategies to come to life. We call it “The Art of Smart.”

Algorithmic Art: Covariance Matrix, Volmageddon, The Rise of Bitcoin

“We are surrounded by information. While it can be easy to focus on individual data points, smart decisions require perspective. We hired an algorithmic artist to create unique works of art based on important events and facets of the trading industry. The results are a reminder that there is beauty to be found in complexity. When you take a step back, patterns emerge, clarity is found, and the bigger picture comes to life.”

– Rival Systems “Art of Smart” campaign introduction

The first four works of art were commissioned to help us launch the campaign in October 2019 at the FIA Futures & Options Expo in Chicago – one of the industry’s largest trade shows – with attendees from all over the world. These artworks were called “Volmageddon,” “The Rise of Bitcoin,” “Covariance Matrix” and the “U.S. Treasury Yield Curve.”

Rival’s booth at the show featured an eight-foot-high LED screen featuring these works of art accompanied by text explaining the data and what can be learned from it. Additionally, the campaign was supported by PR and digital marketing efforts directed to the “Art of Smart” landing page, the destination for audiences looking to learn more about the project. Here, curious users found more works of art and Rival’s expertise regarding what can be learned – and gained – from real-time data and analytics.

Art of Smart landing page – Covariance Matrix detail

“Our existing messaging wasn’t doing enough to penetrate a crowded market and make deeper connections with traders and risk managers. Stone Ward’s brand positioning process helped us to think about our company as an innovator in the space, so we knew our next campaign needed to be bold and unique to show audiences that Rival is a step ahead. When they shared the idea for “The Art of Smart,” we knew we had it.

– Rob D’Arco, CEO, Rival Systems

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Looking for an eye-catching advertising campaign design? Reach out to our creative director, Kyle Floyd, at for help with your next big idea.