The Key Visual – What Is It?

March 4, 2021 | Filed Under advertising, copywriting, design, Immersion Creative, Photography | Leave a Comment 

A Key Visual is the foundation of your visual identity. It’s a communications concept that’s designed not just for one ad, but to appear in everything, everywhere going forward with your brand. So we shoot for timeless, tasteful and thoughtful.

Think TD’s green chair, Absolut vodka’s bottle-shaped ads, Red Bull’s wings.

 

Can you spot the MAD / AdBusters?

 

Think of it like a blueprint. It sets the tone for the concept, and the style. Once we articulate the Key Visual, everything else falls in place.

 

So where to begin?

We usually start with print. From there it’s simple to resize to outdoor, social media, or any other medium (vs. create a new ad each time).

First we take present a few rough sketches, and when we have one you like, we set to work on bringing it to life.

Then we need to give that visual a tone.

 

Stock is Stock

The most cost-effective route working with a stock photo that you can purchase the usage for. Stock is stock, however, so it will never be completely original or perfectly branded. Combine it with some cool illustrations though, and we’re onto something special.

 

Illustrations and Strong Headlines

If budget is a consideration, but you’re not a fan of stock, we could still make a cool Key Visual without photography. There’s a lot we can do with illustrations and even a stylish headline-driven campaign (think Economist, Ketel One, or ABC).

 

Budget-Conscious Custom Photography

Did you want us to create a print ad for you with high-end photographers, but a super simple brief? With a timeless Key Visual like this one, you could use it in all your advertising going forward, not just once. If we keep it simple, and hold the props and wardrobe and studio costs to a minimum, we can discuss a rate that works with your budget.

 

 

Why Settle for an Ad when You can have an Artifact?

We can bring in an amazing photographer and create advertising you’d be happy to have on your wall.

 

 



Creating A Radio Campaign – The Process

February 1, 2021 | Filed Under advertising, copywriting, Immersion Creative, radio advertising, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

This Is How We Radio

Most radio ads are either forgettable or annoying. Making something humorous or catchy enough to cut through the mindless din takes some planning, and the right people.

Start with the creative brief.

First, always, is the creative brief. When you fill that out, I have the background I need.

Then, I write nine scripts. My magic number is 70-80 words for every 30 seconds (although I do tend to speak quickly).

You pick the three scripts you like and then I fine-tune those.

I usually write for two characters and an announcer. But this varies.

 

Next: Production. What I like about radio is that every part of it is fast. You can go from brief to air in a couple of days.

First, I’ll send you some options for voice over talent. We pick the ones we like and book them in studio.

I’m a little bit like David Lynch in that I don’t own a comb. Also, I like to collaborate with the same artists over and again. You’ll hear a lot of Mike Daingerfield and Rhona Rees in my work because they’re awesome and they have great range and talent.

 

 

Second, we set the date and book a studio. I usually work with Paul over at Studio X. He’s an award-winning sound engineer with a golden ear, furious fast fingers and all the chops.

 

On the day of recording, things happen quick. Each actor is booked for one hour, so we might stagger their arrival in studio. Depending on the scripts, we either record one or two on mics at a time in the soundproof recording area. Paul and I sit on the other side of the glass as we mix and I patch through my direction from there.

Once we have our takes, mix-master Paul begins the assembly. We splice together our selects and send them off to the client via .mp3 “rough cuts” for approval and feedback from the client. Again, this all happens quickly in the radio world, as we usually have talent for only an hour, and studio time is a premium. Just like my man, Jack Kerouac, we’re going for a “first thought, best thought” style. Quick decisive decisions are often straight from the gut, and you can trust that feeling more than your brain most of the time. This is what makes radio unique. If print advertising is air-tight planning and control, radio is living in the moment and letting the chips fall where they may. Different styles. Different results.

I’m consistently amazed at the happy accidents you find working with talented folk in a fast improvisational environment. You can go in with three scripts, and the one you thought would be the boring one, suddenly takes on a life of its own and becomes your new favourite. You never know what will happen.

Either way, if we are efficient and move quickly we can get the talent to do their pickups based on client edits while still in the same one-hour session for each actor.

We record each actor in turn in this manner.

 

 

Once we have the rough cuts, the crowd disperses and Paul and I go to work on mixing and mastering. Paul has a huge library of sound effects that we can add, as well as free needle-drop music to add some emotion and texture to the piece.

Free is nice, but if music is important and budget allows, I always prefer to bring in a composer for an original score.

In the past we have worked with the multi-talented Marc Wild for unique and interesting compilations, such as APBC 2015 (notice the subtle variations of the song from  one ad to the next), APBC 2017, Durum, and my favourite, Sempio, which I co-wrote and he sang!

Once all the pieces are in place, we master and give it a final polish. Did you know that de-ssssing is a thing? (Think snake jazz.)

After sign-off of the finals, the ads are sent to the stations. Radio stations only need about 48 hours of notice to get the ads into their logs. And then BAM, a couple of days later, and your ad is on the radio in Vancouver, just like that.

Like I said, radio advertising in Vancouver is fast.

 

 

 

 



Being Julia

May 28, 2012 | Filed Under copywriter, copywriting, Full Circle Debt Consolidation, Immersion, Immersion Creative, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Whose opinion would you trust more: a complete stranger or an old college friend?”

You would put more value in the opinion of the person you knew, rather than a random off the street.

Writing in the first person is another option for creating web content. As a creative content writer for Immersion Creative, I have the most fun with these story articles.

For Full Circle Debt Consolidation, I took on a number of characters and wrote weekly accounts of their struggles with debt. I explained how they fell into debt, how they heard about Full Circle and how Full Circle helped them move towards financial independence.

Julia was one of our popular characters. She had amassed a considerable debt while engaged in post-secondary education. Julia graduated with a Bachelor of Education, but was unable to find work. She started waitressing to pay the bills. Unfortunately, the limited income that waitressing supplies, was not enough to pay her minimum payments. Full Circle was able to negotiate a repayment plan with her creditors that were tailored to her current income.

It was a feel good story, that was entirely fictional, but at the same time, entirely believable. Immersion Creative, Vancouver’s branding agency, had created an honest character by building a figure that the regular citizen, struggling with debt, could relate to.

By writing in the first person, I create a report with the reader. They get to know the background of a character like Julia and when it comes time to plug the company, they are all ears.



Buy Local

May 28, 2012 | Filed Under copywriter, copywriting, Immersion, Immersion Creative, Simmons Mattress Gallery, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

How do you attract a local audience? You hire a local Vancouver marketing agency to write about events that locals are engaged with.

As a content writer for Immersion Creative, I dedicate a portion of our article output to writing about current events in the City of Vancouver.

For our client, Simmons Mattress Gallery, I write about concerts, the Vancouver Canucks, writer’s festivals, art institutions – anything that has a strong contemporary tie to Vancouver.

Our articles find their way into a variety of Google search results, attracting the most unlikely customers.

Two years ago, a piece I wrote on the Vancouver Canucks caught the eye of Brent Seabrook, a professional hockey player and B.C. native. Seabrook read the article and by chance, needed a new mattress. He bought one from the Simmons Coquitlam store a week later.

The story goes, that the mattress salesman didn’t recognize his name and refused to let the young man pay by cheque. In the end, his mother came to the store to pay by Visa.

Local health issues are another subject that is often searched for. I have written three blogs on the bed bug issue in Downtown Vancouver. The amount of hits these articles receive is incredible.

Narrowing the focus to current events increases the likelihood that locals will view your content.

Just for fun:

Type in Mattress Vancouver into your Google search bar. What company is at the top of the page?

Now, type in Mattress Vancouver Canucks. How many articles at the top of that list are connected with Simmons Mattress Gallery? All of them.



Writing For a Purpose

May 27, 2012 | Filed Under advertising, copywriter, copywriting, Immersion, Immersion Creative, Immersion Experience, SEO, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

The Google machine loves content. It devours it whole, like a mother bird, and then regurgitates it back to its young in the form of search optimization.

As a content writer for Immersion Creative, a Vancouver advertising agency, I create content that will educate, entertain and inform the casual browser. I create content that Google deems appetizing; content that fits the search requests of its users; content that will lead potential clients back to your homepage.

I create this content in the form of weekly blog articles. These articles are simple, but concise pieces, that contain backlinks, key search terms and direct links to your company’s website.

The articles range in topics and formats and are tailored to suit your potential clients. They provide product information, local and global interest and perspective.

Once published, each article is tagged with different search terms that relate to that specific piece. These words are like breadcrumbs for Google. Leave the whole loaf and Google will ignore the post for something more edible. Choose the right words and Google will recognize the article as valuable.

But in the end, it all comes back to content. If the piece fits the demands of the search user, then Google will give it priority.

I write articles that match these demands.