6.27.2011

What's in a Commercial?


We love commercials that grab our attention, make us laugh, or make us think.  We actively participate in commercial-watching during the Super Bowl.  Have you wondered about the creative side? Marketers have thirty seconds to tell a brand’s story.  They develop scripts as road maps to ensure quality and consistency and to make sure that everyone involved with making the spots has a clear understanding of the story. 

As a way to demonstrate what goes in to this process, below are two commercials that I have reverse-engineered.

Spot 1
Volkswagen and Darth Vader. 










 Video
 Audio
1.
Wide Shot (WS) from behind of a small child wearing a Darth Vader costume walking down the hallway of a home. Walls are white, focusing the viewer’s attention on the child in the middle of the shot
 The Imperial March from Star Wars (also known as Darth Vader’s theme)
2.
WS of the child in the laundry room attempting to give “The Force” to the washing machine

3
WS of child and the family dog. The dog is laying on a dog bed. The child has both hands extended out again in the same way, attempting to give “The Force” to the dog

4.
CU of the dog. The dog’s expression changes slightly as he tries to understand what the kid is doing

5.
WS of child in what is presumably his sister’s room.  There is a doll on the bed sitting upright.  The child becomes more dramatic with trying to impart “The Force” onto the doll by using his left hand first, then dramatically raising the right hand and “throwing” energy at the doll.

6.
CU of the doll sitting motionless on the bed.

7.
WS of child and doll in the room. The child again drops both arms at his sides in utter defeat at the lack of his ability to impart “The Force”

8.
CU of child sitting at kitchen counter with left hand on his head, still feeling defeated. When the child hears the car pull in, he perks up, as if given one more chance!
In addition to music, the dog barks off camera, signaling the car’s arrival
9.
WS of dad getting out of car
Car door closes
10.
WS of dad walking towards house. Child is running out to driveway.  Dad (briefcase in left hand) extends both arms out, thinking the child is running out to greet him.

11.
Child motions for dad to get out of his way and runs over to the front of the car. Dad shrugs shoulders as if to say, “hey buddy! Don’t you want to see me?”

12.
CU of car’s interior, showing the VW logo on the steering wheel.  Through the windshield, we see the child in front of the car.

13.
WS of child in front of car trying to give the car “The Force”.

14.
CU of child trying to give the car “The Force”

15.
Medium Shot (MS) of child in front of car. The car’s engine starts!

16.
The child is astounded and stumbles backwards a few steps.

17.
CU of the car’s remoter starter with someone’s finger being released from the starter button

18.
MS of mom and dad. We see the back of mom’s head as dad looks at her with a mouth-opened grin as they both play along with the child’s fantasy. Dad raises eyebrows slightly as if to say, “Did you see that! Got him!”

19.
CU of child in the driveway looking at back the parents. He is astounded as he believes he gave the car “The Force”.

20.
Black Screen with white copy. ”The All-New Volkswagen Passat.” VW logo in bottom right corner.  Very small copy reads: “*Available Summer 2011. MSRP. Base Model $20, 590; V6 SEL as Shown $32, 950; taxes, title transportation, options and dealer charges; Dealers Set Actual Price.

21.
White copy reads: Coming Soon – Starting Around $20,000*.

22.
WS of child still in driveway. He looks back at the car one more time.

23.
End
Music Fades



Spot 2
Tough Questions About Vegas
 

 


 Video
 Audio
1.
WS of young father and young daughter in the kitchen shot from behind the child The child is
Sitting at the kitchen counter. The dad is standing on the other side of the counter.
No music for entire spot
2.
Dad is holding two stuffed animals and says, “And basically that’s how babies are made”

3
He shakes his head affirmatively and his proud of himself for handling this tough question

4.
Child says, “Ok”

5.
Dad say, “ok!” again, proud of himself

6.
CU of child eating a bowl of cereal.  She quickly moves on her to next question while looking very
Contemplative at her cereal

7.
Without looking up, she says, “So why do grown-ups go to Las Vegas?


8.
CU of dad. Still holding two stuffed animals.  He is no longer looking her in the face, but instead
Is looking off into the distance. He fidgets with stuffed animals nervously

9.
He cannot find words.  He simply utters, “Uh…oh, uh…”

10.
He giggles nervously and nods at the child

11.
He looks up, looks all around, searching for an answer

12.
He stumbles again, “uh…”

13.
CU of child. She is now looking at him. Waiting impatiently for his answer.

14.
CU of dad. He says, “Well, uh…” then he yells for his wife, who is presumably in another room
In the house. “Honey!”

15.
Wife does not answer

16.
He looks at the child and says, “This is kinda her thing…she…uh…loves the questions”

17.
CU of child. She is irritated that he will not answer her.

18.
CU of dad.  He personifies the stuffed animals, he is still fidgeting with them. In an animated stuffed animal voice he says, “we have questions too”… he is very fidgety and laughing nervously

19.
Screen goes black with white copy: “what happens here, stays here”

20.
Vegas logo
Dad’s voice, “Answer forth coming”
21.
End


6.20.2011

Why Wheeling?


Concept Paper For:
Later Alligator and The City of Wheeling

The first part of this Blog is a concept paper as if I were telling Later Alligator’s story.  Who, knows? Maybe one day I will! The second part of this Blog is a concept paper for the City of Wheeling as I prepare to tell her story.    

Later Alligator
Focus
Later Alligator is a restaurant located in the Centre Market district of Wheeling, West Virginia.  It is as trendy and hip as the neighborhood it calls home.  The most interesting thing about Gator is its story.  And everyone has a story. 

The purpose of a campaign should be to call people to action to patronize the restaurant. Visiting this restaurant is an experience and telling its story with video and images is a great way to get people in the door.  The most appropriate option for focus is a commercial in which they are asking the audience for their business directly.  Video should be hip and trendy, like the restaurant itself. One set of commercials should be :30 in length.  They should run on the local NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox affiliates to reach the local market.  The commercials should run or “flight” during the morning, evening, and night time news broadcasts in order to reach the broadest audience.  They should begin during the third quarter of 2011 and run through the second quarter of 2012.  This will ensure they are running during the fall festival season, the holiday shopping season, and into the spring.  They should also be housed on Later’s web site (www.lateralligator.net) and Later’ s Facebook page.  Additionally, an audio commercial should run on local radio stations – particularly AM radio stations (WKKX, WVLY, and WWVA) during their morning talk shows. The FM stations which are most suitable are 97.3 FM and 98.7 FM because those stations’ demographics are in line with Later’s target market (25-50 year old professionals).  The restaurant should also advertise a print ad in InWheeling magazine and the Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper.  The main focus of this campaign should be to get people in the door by telling Later’s story.  This is a hip, trendy, and unique eatery located in a cool part of town.  If you’re not eating at Later, you’re missing one of the highlights of Wheeling!   

The Brand
The brand of Later is that it is a hip, trendy place to eat with a unique menu.  The experience of being in the restaurant and the type of food they offer – crepes – are the essentials of the brand. The brand should also delve further and talk about the ambience and the overall experience the audience gets – it’s not just lunch or dinner, it’s an experience.  The strengths of the brand are the menu and the environment.  The menu is unlike any other in the entire region.  It features savory crepes, most of which are healthy.  It also features artisan sandwiches, salads, and desserts.  The soups are well-known and are available for carry-out in quarts. Other strengths of the brand are its outdoor seating and its location in the area of town known as Centre Market. This area is trendy and is home to unique small businesses including two community theaters, an interactive science center, a wine shop, and an artist’s co-op. The weaknesses of the brand include limited seating, limited parking, and low volume at dinner. 

The Audience
The target audience for Later Alligator is people in and around Wheeling, West Virginia who are interested in healthy eating in a unique atmosphere.  Their songbird is healthy food in a cool part of town. This is a hip, trendy place and they want to ‘be seen’ here.  The digital story should appeal to both men and women, who are either working professionals or stay-at-home parents, between the ages of 30 and 55. They have an overall healthy and active lifestyle and enjoy the Centre Market area. For lunch, the appeal will be to people who work Downtown.   For dinner, the appeal will be to people who come to Centre Market for wine, art, or the theater.

Content Points
What we want the audience to take away from this campaign is:
  •   Later Alligator is a unique restaurant that offers healthy food
  • Crepes are an interesting alternative to home cooking or short-order style restaurant
  • The location is the chic Centre Market district
  • You can get in and out during a lunch hour
  • A great place for dinner 
  • Outdoor seating
  • It’s not just a meal – it’s an experience
  • Eat. Or We Both Starve!
The City of Wheeling
Focus
The focus for the City of Wheeling is that of an image-building piece.  Unlike a restaurant, there is nothing tangible to ‘sell’ but rather a quality of life.  Wheeling has myriad of cultural and entertainment amenities, which appeal to a wide range of demographics.  There are multiple golf courses and parks; arts; theater; science; music; restaurants; a casino; and recreation such as an award-winning bike trail, water sports like kayaking and boating, and snow skiing. Another important area of focus is Wheeling’s location.  It is perfectly situated along Interstate 70, which makes it the main through-fare between Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Additionally, proximity to Pittsburgh International airport, amusement parks, and other cultural activities are within a one-hour drive from Wheeling. 

The best way to tell Wheeling’s story is through images and video.  A series of :30, :60, and long-format videos will be created highlighting the quality of life features.  The commercials will air on the local affiliates of NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox as well as on the cable channels HGTV, Travel, Discovery, History, ESPN, USA, and TBS. The long-format videos will be housed on the City’s web site (WheelingWV.gov), the City’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/WheelingWV) and on YouTube.  Additionally, the videos will be listed under the “Spotlight” link on the City’s iPhone app.   An audio version of the commercials will be played on AM radio stations WWVA, WVLY, and WKKX during the morning and afternoon talk shows.

Brand
The City’s brand is its unparalleled quality of life.  There is always something to do in Wheeling! From young children to seniors, there is truly something for everyone here.  For a city its size, the amenities are remarkable.  There is a symphony orchestra, a casino with Greyhound dog races and major concerts, the historic Capitol Theatre that features national and local talent, Oglebay Resort, Wheeling Park, The Wheeling Heritage Trail, The Centre Market, Historic North Wheeling, and championship golf courses.  Additionally, there are youth sports and activities such as tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, and a skate park.  There is ice skating and skiing in the winter and water sports in the summer.  The Heritage Port is home to nearly 100 outdoor festivals and events annually including a half marathon, ethnic heritage events, and a nationally-ranked blues music festival.  Wheeling is also the birthplace of West Virginia and Independence Hall, located Downtown, is literally the site of West Virginia Statehood.  These things combined with educational institutions and nightlife make Wheeling a brand that should be experienced. 

Wheeling’s biggest weakness is a low morale among current residents. That being said, it is believed that the low morale is the viewpoint of the vocal majority.  This campaign hopes to the build morale among the vocal minority and increase the participation of the silent majority. 


The Audience
There are several potential audiences for this campaign however it is recommended to stay focused on just one – the current residents of Wheeling.  While marketers usually focus on a specified demographic, this campaign is focused on all current residents.  West Virginia, as a State, is targeting retention of young talent, and Wheeling will be partially segmenting this campaign to young talent; however, the entire population will be the audience. As mentioned above, the goal is to build Wheeling’s image as a great place to live.  The audience will be the central character in Wheeling’s story as we highlight the positive attributes of this City. 

Content Points
The content points for this campaign are:

  • Quality of Life
  • Entertainment
  • Arts & Culture
  • Restaurants
  • Education
  • Location

Everyone Has A Story
While Wheeling’s history is abundant with the stories that created her, her future is still unwritten.  Leave a comment on this Blog about what Wheeling means to you; not what is was or what it could be, but what it is right now.  Why Wheeling? Why do you live in this place called Wheeling? Why now?     


6.13.2011

An Offer They Can't Refuse


Eat. Or We Both Starve.
Later Alligator is a restaurant located in the Centre Market district of Wheeling, West Virginia.  It is as trendy and hip as the neighborhood it calls home.  The most interesting thing about Gator is its story.  And everyone has a story.

Owner and creator, Susan Hadaad, saw an old building that was on the brink of ruins.  She put her own blood, sweat, and tears into the building’s rehab to create a unique eatery in a unique part of town.  With little more than twelve tables inside and a hand full of tables on the outside patio, the ambience is only superseded by the limited, yet artfully designed menu. 

As soon as the remodel was done and the place finally opened, the economy took a nose dive. Susan began telling people she was going to close; she set January 2009 as the date.  Then an outcry from the community began. A Facebook page was started to garner support. The community came together to save this little place.  It worked.  Later Alligator remains open today and has even expanded its menu. Later Alligator is the little restaurant that could. 

The City of Wheeling and the Wheeling Chamber of Commerce
The City of Wheeling and the Wheeling Chamber of Commerce each have a story to tell. While the stories they must tell are similar, the audiences are different. The City’s story revolves around the quality of life; the Chamber’s story revolves around business.  But quality of life and the business climate go hand-in-hand.  The strength of the quality of life is attractive to businesses and the strength of the business climate is attractive to the workforce; and the people who sustain the businesses.

If the City and the Chamber join forces to tell the story of Wheeling, everyone wins. As the Chamber works to build relationships for business retention, then places like Later Alligator have an army of advocates.  As the City tells its story and what it makes it unique, they can make the audience the central character in the story by touting places like Later Alligator. 

An Offer They Can’t Refuse
Later Alligator’s story is parallel to the City’s story in many ways.  It once was great, then it stumbled and almost failed, and is now on its way back up.  People talk about when Later “almost” closed in the same way they talk about what Wheeling “used to be”.  Later is the place to have lunch but struggles with the dinner crowd.  The City’s Downtown is vibrant during the day but struggles with nightlife. 

When telling a story for the purposes of marketing, we have to give them an offer they can’t refuse. When telling Later Alligator’s story to the internal market (the locals), we can relate the allure of the restaurant to the audience’s desire for a hip eatery.  When telling the City of Wheeling’s story, I say to this to the businesses and the people of this place called Wheeling:  Remember when downtown rocked? Well, some things never change…