Friday, August 29, 2014

Netflix gains more momentum with Ricky Gervais - Creative Excellence Fridays

They go together like Netflix and chips. Or crisps if you prefer. Ricky Gervais is the latest A list celeb to tie his wagon to the juggernaut of television streaming. Netflix has been on a roll the last three years. Some attribute House of Cards with the beginning of the momentum. Their first original programming that garnered Emmy nominations. Since then they'd green lit several original productions including the much talked about Orange is the New Black. And  they've been a delivery mechanism that has effectively made video stores as redundant as a phone booth. Netflix is also responsible for new phrases in the English language like "binge watching" and "I'm Netflicking tonight".

And with all the momentum going their way they are also becoming a target of success with Netflix style competitors starting to line up in the wings. Amazon Prime Instant, Hulu Plus and HBO GO could start to chip away at Netflix’s ability to grow its subscriber base in 2014. In Canada, Rogers and Shaw are launching Shomi in November. For now, celebs that matter know what side their streaming bread is buttered on.  Ricky Gervais brings his brit grit to  Netflix with a series of commercials that poke fun at their two main hits.  The result is very well done and even features cast members you will probably recognize.


The outtakes are almost as good as the finished commercial.


 Netflix is the streaming monster to beat. They've cozied up to  internet providers  to make sure the tap is kept open, and they've set themselves up as a welcome port in a creative storm for many personalities and writers looking to ply their craft in less micro-managed waters. Netflix is savy enough to  enjoy the ride and keep the party going as long as possible.

 In the meantime, they are enjoying a raft of popularity. And when you're at the top you also have to have a good sense of humour. Recently Mashable featured a series of Netflix show descriptions based on what the writer saw on the show publicity shot.Creative Excellence Fridays  Dexter description - Netflix Dexter description - Netflix[/caption] It's been said, the funniest person in the room is usually the most confident. And these days Netflix is pretty funny.

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 22, 2014

Judy Greer leads up a great comedy ensemble cast in Sprint Framily Plan ads - Creative Excellence Fridays

Arrested Development achieved success by combining superb and disturbed writing and one of the best comedy ensembles of recent times. The new Sprint Framily plan commercials have been assembled with the same level of ambition, and quite successfully. Arrested Development featured obscenely talented comic actors Jeffrey Tambor, David Cross and Tony Hale, not to mention Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Portia de Rossi. There was a twisted magic about the show. Admittedly I wasn't as charmed with the Netflix revival. But the original episodes were pure fun.

 Sprint has now created something equally entertaining with their Framily Plan series. It's worth noting Sprint's creative team had additional challenges in pulling off those perfectly time moments with the constraints of squeezing it all into 30 seconds. Immediately you'll recognize a comic face you've seen all over television.

Judy Greer is the go to gal for perfect comic performances. Her resume includes playing "Kitty Sanchez" in Arrested Development and no fewer than three separate characters from Two and a Half Men. And if the top comedy producer in television, Chuck Lorre thinks that highly of her, it's only fitting that she lead the way in the new Sprint series.


 You may have recognized the voice of the hamster. Andrew Dice Clay does a nice job. Rounding out the cast is Kyle Mooney, Justin Michael and Tatyana Richaud. Here's the spot that most people think of from the series. Gor-don. And the latest in the series, "Harmon Kardan". I love that there's no mention as to why a blood relative of the family happens to look like Don King. But it's so true when they say, "True comedy is often more about what is left out then what is left in".

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.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dollar Shave Club shows online video really works - Creative Excellence Fridays

When the viral video for Dollar Shave Club came out in March of 2012, it was shared like crazy. The definition of a success story in social and online entrepreneurial success. It had already notched up 4.75 million views. Fastforward to August 1, 2014 and it's now 15,487,324. The scary part? No conventional television buy. It was all through online video ad placement and pure social shares. Just in case you haven't seen the video, here it is.


 Why was this video so popular? Humour. But comedy is always a calculated risk. But for the same reason it makes sense to buy ad space in a male demo dominated publication, it makes sense to ask the same targeted questions about your comedy positioning. Who is your key audience?
  • Men.
  • And more specifically, men who are guys guys and no nonsense.
  • Men who don't mind saving a buck or two.
  • Men who probably watch at least one sport and appreciate the camaraderie that comes with being a part of a membership, a club, a group with a common purpose.
  • Who do men laugh at and why?
Dollar Shave Club promotion

If I were to choose a comedic style that touched on the widest spectrum of this audience, I'd choose Dave Chapel.  His humour is irreverent, has an edge and is intelligent. Michael Dubin, the video's star and founder of Dollar Shave Club, did in fact want to create a brand that was irreverent. He knows exactly who he's talking to and how to reach them. More importantly, he's a natural on camera. This is very important to note.  Starting as a page at NBC, he pursued a performing career.

He attended the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) theatre in New York City. It's billed as the only accredited improv and sketch comedy school in the country. According to Dubin, "When you're launching a new business and sharing a new idea, if you can get people to remember it, there's obviously a better chance at success." During Dubin's time at UBC he met comedienne Lucia Aniello. She runs Paulilu, an L.A. based production company that has created a variety of comedy shorts for the Emmy Awards and Audi to name a few.

This history proved to be invaluable for Dubin. Where other CEO's would need to shell out probably $50,000 Dubin and Aniello were able to produce their video for about $4,500. They wrote the script together with Aniello pushing Dubin in directions he might not have felt comfortable with if he were writing it himself. And she pulled him back where necessary. She urged him to lose anything that wasn't 100% necessary so the  sell points didn't out weigh the humour and the video would remain entertaining. And how powerful was this video? Sharing is one thing, but did it actually move subscriptions? 48 hours after the video launched on YouTube, 12,000 people had signed up.

And just when you thought it was safe to go to your computer, Dubin came up with the follow up video.  Not as good as the first in my opinion.  The "buttwipe" product was begging to be exploited but it went, literally, too far into the toilet.  You be the judge.


 Are there more videos coming?  Absolutely.  You can count on it.  And with his competitors attempting to copy The Dollar Shave Club video strategy,  Dubin will have to remain true to the formula we and countless other creative shops have bowed down to; keep the bar high and compete against yourself for the best results. Here he talks about the success of the viral video comedy format and his own background.

    So far

Dubin's funny video strategy has had him laughing all the way to the bank.

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.