Friday, August 23, 2013

Fan Expo and Adam Berg - Creative Excellence Fridays

Fan Expo is on in Toronto. A celebration for everyone who has ever tied a towel (aka cape)  to the back of his or her t-shirt and jumped off the picnic table (aka soaring at the speed of light).

Fan Expo was created in 1995 originally as a celebration of comic books. I used to call it "a Trekfest on Steroids" but it has since grown considerably and now includes film and pop culture with a who's who of invitees. And for those who follow fantasy, sci-fi and horror films, this truly is the one convention not to be missed.

Fan Expo has also become a part of the genre of influence for creative types the world over including director Adam Berg.

Swedish born Berg (say that three times fast) started off shooting zombie films in his parents' back yard. His love of film and fantasy led him to the Stockholm Film school. He went on to produce a number of attention grabbing promos and commercials including an online spot called Carousel for Philips 16:9. That spot was featured in 50 Cen'ts 'OK You're Right'' promo and was blogged about by Kanye West.



He then produced the most successful ever Nike football campaign, 'Write the Future'.



Film schools should have every student sit down and watch "Write the Future" and study the edits and transitions.  A beautiful piece.

Adam Berg is now one of the most sought after directors in the commercial industry and recently just completed a CG film for Sid Lee Paris.
Currently Adam is working on a remake of David Cronenberg's film Videodrome.



With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What are the most useful social media platforms?

Where to post your content to achieve your goals? That's the biggest question in social media today. Social media has evolved exponentially in the last three years.

But common sense still prevails. You need to step back from the pinterest, instagram,vine-sanity and ask a few simple questions.

  1. Who is your market? It's the same question you asked when you started your business and social media was the furthest thing from your mind. 
  2. What social media platforms appeal to my audience/market/demographic? 

You're a skateboard company. You should be all over Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and as many social video platforms as possible, Youtube etc with video demonstrations of your product in action. You're a consulting company offering business to business services. You should pour yourself into Linked in and learn as much as you can about all the ways it can help you reach your target.

Goals

What are your goals/objectives? Don't just start pinning and uploading blindly. Determine what you're trying to achieve with social media. Is it to: increase traffic to your website? increase exposure/awareness to your brand? improve your seo? customer brand engagement? Okay, so you want to jump whole hog on to the social media band wagon. 

Tools

What tools do you need in your tool kit? A wise man once said, don't try and be all things to all people and play to your strengths. Be honest with yourself. If you're handy with a phrase and can write your own copy, that's a huge plus out of the gate. You'll need graphic design (photoshop wiz), videography, photography and a keen eye for trends (thus the term trending). Social media is as complex an undertaking as being your own advertising agency in the days before SM. It's not impossible, but demands a lot of your focus. Are there social media platforms that are more popular? Absolutely. 

Here is a list of some of the most useful and how they are used most effectively.







With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Actors who do commercials - Creative Excellence Fridays

From the beginning of celebrity, actors have looked at ways of supplementing their income. Let's face it, in the acting business it can be feast or famine. And Armani and lear jets don't just grow on trees. So today, we look at some of the resourceful celebs who have reached out to the advertising world to top up their monthly moolah.

First up, an actor who has given his handlers a few bumps along the way in the past few years.  John Travolta has taken some hits for not coming out of the closet.  Whether there's a closet or not is irrelevant.  Unless you live in Russia of course.  Critics have more of an issue with him hiding it.  He may or may not be.  In this day and age the surprising thing is that anybody cares.  He's always had an element of cool dating back to Welcome Back Kotter.   Pulp Fiction firmly reestablished him 20 years ago and he continues to still have it with this offering from Vamos brasilizar.




Salma Hayek has done the odd commercial along the way. This is a cute commercial for the Milk Marketing board.



Reaching back into the gold vaults, Maclean Stephenson stars in the last offering today. Younger generations wouldn't be familiar with him but anyone who grew up watching Mash knows he played the loveable Lt. Colonel Henry Blake. Prior to his first break with a part on the Doris Day show, he was a professional pitch man. His warmth and perfect comic timing was used in commercials for Black Flag, Dolly Madison, Kelloggs and this one for Libby's.



When a commercial is over 40 years old and still holds up, you know you did something right.





With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Great Back to school commercials - Creative Excellence Fridays

Summer is more than half over. Every year, at least in the Toronto area, we have the occasions that mark the passing of summer. The Molson Indy in July. The Jazz Festival. The Taste of the Danforth in August. The CNE with the Tiny Tom donuts and the airshow officially sounding the buzzer for the beginning of school.

Dating back to the mid nineties, Staples has used August as the launch pad for back to school marketing with a Christmas campaign. Christmas in August. Each year deliriously giddy parents sale through the aisles at Staples singing "It's the most..wonderful time... of the yearrrrrrrr." School supplies mean no more mopey teenagers wondering around the house saying "I'm bored. There's nothing to do!" Short of showing them where the traffic is that they could genuinely play in, the back to school Staples campaign is a celebration of renewed adult freedom.  This is one of the early entries from 1996.




Fast forward to the summer of 2013, and Maclaren has offered an updated version of the campaign. Two Staples employees watch the clock tick to the official beginning of Back to School Shopping Season.



It's a fun spot, but it doesn't have the same magic as earlier campaigns like the opening spot from 1996. Granted, it's difficult to take the same idea and squeeze out magic from an almost 20 year old tube. There are few campaigns that have carried on with a concept built around the same song for such a long period of time.


I have to confess I'm more partial to this campaign for Meijer. The performances are great. And the announcer's snide comments cap it off.



I can guarantee if these kids really did get this excited about school supplies, it's because they were not just admiring the glue, they were sniffing it.


And finally, this one from Old Navy.  Warning, some teenage screaming occurs.  But if you've survived the kids in the house since June, this isn't unfamiliar territory.


I love the sound design and the homage to horror films in this one.  Nice job Old Navy. And does anyone know the desk's agent? There may be hope for me yet.



With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.