How Website Hosting Actually Works

April 5, 2021 | Filed Under advertising, Vancouver advertising, websites | Leave a Comment 

Owning a website is like owning a car.

It’s a big investment up front. It’s essential for business. We trust it with the most precious things in our lives. Yet we tend to stick our heads in the sand when it comes to the mechanics.

Like it or not, your website is important. It’s the kind of purchase that’s going to require your full attention from time to time, starting with: “Where exactly is this thing parked, right now?”

If you see yourself in business in the next two years, you’re going to have to know how these things work. You know what? We’re here right now. So let’ do this. Put your phone in a drawer and kick off your shoes. It’s going to take us five focused minutes to demystify what website hosting actually is, and why it matters. Something that you have been avoiding—up until this very moment.

Sure, let’s park here. Good enough. And it’s cheap, kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Park This Thing?

If you own a car. You need parking. Same goes for a website.

If you’re trying to wrap your head around what ‘parking a website’ looks like, just visualize the different types of parking out there that you already know.

First up is the classic cul-de-sac carport with the sliding garage door.

Enjoy Secure, Private Hosting in Your Suburban Garage

Your site is self-contained, with its own private entrance. It’s tucked well away from all the other sites crammed in towers by the freeway. It’s an independent option, and that’s reflected in the price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do you want this? You’re not sharing keys. You’re the only one with access to the garage, so it’s safe and private too. If there’s a virus going around, you’re in the clear.

The only downside? The buck stops with you. You’ll need to pop the hood and get familiar with the machinery.

I know this is a beauty, but price is a consideration. Also, only owners have hobbies like ‘home repair.’ So let’s keep looking.

Secure and Cheap but the Privacy’s Weak. Hosting At The Underground Parkade

The average city car lot is big on gates and cameras and uniformed guards.The intimidating security presence is more a deterrent than anything. It has its function though. So no one’s in there that shouldn’t be—for the most part. As for the vehicles, it’s tight. You know the drill, don’t leave your valuables in plain sight, or bring any attention to yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why would you want this? It’s cheap and secure from the outside world.

The downsides?  Everyone is sharing the same keys. All it takes is one bad apple. It’s not like they are doing background checks down there.

Okay Mr. Human Error. Mister Misanthrope. Mr. People-Are-The-Problem. I get it, you want a spot and then you never want to deal with it again. And you certainly don’t want anyone in there. There’s another word for this, it’s called a tomb.

Cheap, secure, out of sight, out of mind: AAAARGGH-SO-EASY STORAGE

The model is simple: Build a fortress with impenetrable walls, and state-of-the-art locks, and keep it cheap by stacking it high with thousands of cars, slotted away, and clients without access. It’s just parking. Not comfort. Pile in.

cars stacked one on another

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything’s Alright Until Something Goes Wrong

Thing is, when you wall yourself off from intruders on the outside, your problem becomes your neighbours. Viruses spread like fires through a shanty. If your neighbour gets it, you’re getting it too.

Why would you want this? You like cheap, you like safe, and you don’t give a rat’s ass about access. Websites should be seen and not heard.

The downsides? Be prepared to wait weeks to get the keys if you need them. You’re not supposed to come back here, remember?

Still too dear? Well, the world has discount parachutes for a reason.

Not Secure. Not Private. But Cheaper Than Hell:  Dystopian Overnight Parking.

You know that creepy old lot by Kingsgate Mall with the one flickering streetlight and the barbwire fence, and the distinctive lingering scent of old skunk. This is where abandoned sites go, when no one cares where they’re at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what cheap hosting is. Exposed, barely secure, and as neglected as it gets. You never know who’s in there. You want access? Over there. The gate’s still bent up in the corner from the last time someone crept in.

Why would you want this? You don’t. This is the last thing you want. If you’re paying next to nothing, though, then this is what you have.

The downsides? All of them.

The fog is starting to lift a bit, isn’t it? Aren’t you glad you’ve stayed with us this far? Web hosting isn’t that complicated. It’s just out of sight. That’s no excuse though. If you wouldn’t leave your briefcase in the backseat of your car at any of these spots, are you sure you’d like to leave your keys with them too? Now, let’s get you out of here.

Back Home At The Garage

Remember this place? The private garage with sweeping views that lets you get away from it all? Chances are you loved everything about it—except for one thing—you don’t like to pull weeds or wires or change your own oil and you definitely don’t subscribe to Littlest Coder On The Prairie.

So we’ve found you one better. It’s the perfect fit for the city type who loves to be remote as long as there’s wifi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s exactly the same as our first suburban garage, but this time it’s in a gated community of twenty or so business owners like you. Everyone has their own private access. Plus, there are only two keys, one for you—and one for me.

Come again?

—–

Enjoy Your Stay At Immersion’s Gated Community 

We liked our garage so much be bought the whole community. Now, we have twenty detached garages in all. So if you want a secure and private place where you hold all of the keys but none of the responsibility that comes with it, then this is it.

If your email lags, don’t waste your day playing IT. Get on the horn and I’ll send somebody down. That’s what landlords are for.

If you’re trying to hang a picture, and end up hammering through the wall—we can fix that for you. We have a maintenance retainer set aside for stuff like this. If something compels you to dig around the foundation and you hit a water main and the water won’t stop spraying until the city comes to turn off the the block—We have an extreme response troubleshooting retainer set aside for thing like that as well. Also every Daylight Saving Day, we make the rounds. We check the units for bugs and mould, uneven floors, and broken links and things to fix.

gated community

I have a ton of space here. Over the years, some of my clients asked if they could  park here too. Sure. I’d rather them be safe here, than in some sketchy tower crawling with abandoned sites that don’t use any protection. Crammed conditions, sharing keys with strangers, leaving the door wide open on some nights—you know where this leads if they don’t start to taking better care of themselves.

When a client has a kit with me, their sites is my responsibility, so I move their vehicle into one of my garages where I can keep an eye on it.

Now, I’m not saying that we have private valet service that will rotate your tires while you’re off at Saint Martins. What we do have, is a nice little gated community though. Everyone has a pool. And a nice big garage. And a Bow-Flex in the corner under a quarter-inch of dust.

It’s got all the privacy and security you could ask for. The front gate of the community keeps out the traffic, and the your own parking spot ensures you always look respectable.

Your Secure, Private Carport Keeps You Asleep

Is this the kind of place you’re comfortable leaving your briefcase in your car overnight? Sure. You don’t give it a second thought.

And if, god forbid, your neighbour has a fire, it won’t spread to your house too.

You know everyone who lives here. You’re already friends with some of them, in the Facebook sense, the rest, they all pop up as “Mutual” suggestions. So there’s one degree of separation at most and that’s comfort enough, that even if you leave your front door open, the worst thing you might find is a plate of cookies.

It’s a friendly place. You’re welcome here. To find out more information, just shoot us an email at mike (at) immersioncreative.com

Beyond Just Hosting, Here’s What We Offer.

Extreme Response (Troubleshooting)

Maintenance

Tutorials

Creative, Branding and Design

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have  or refer to Immersion’s Frequently Asked Rhetorical Questions

 



Frequently Asked Rhetorical Questions

March 27, 2021 | Filed Under clients, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

HOSTING WITH IMMERSION

  1. Regular rates are $19.99/month. How amazing is that?
  2. Minimum contract is one year with one-year extensions. Who has time to keep changing web hosts anyway?
  3. Where else can you get maintenance at only $15/month?
  4. It get rolled into the bi-annual checkups if untouched. How about that?
  5. FREE HOSTING FOR A YEAR when you buy anything off the new rate card? You can’t be serious? Wait, you are?
  6. There’s an Extreme Response Retainer.  It’s one hour, for emergencies only. If things go awry, you jump the queue and waive any rush fees as well. Well isn’t that special?
  7. You’re saying you can give me a one-hour tutorial on how to run my WordPress backend? You’re saying it’s free with a new website, and only $140 if not?
  8. Why in the world do you require immediate maintenance (0.5 hr) for returning clients? Sure my site has been out of your care for a little while, so why would you need to look inside at your first opportunity to make sure everything is safe and running smoothly?
  9. Maintenance! Uh. What is it good for? A well-oiled website will save you time and money in the long run. Say we did two updates a year (one at each Daylight Saving) with a $15/month retainer, or one checkup a year, on the Daylight Saving of your choice, for $10/month? Not bad, huh? You can opt out of maintenance when the the one-year trial period ends. But why would you want to do that? If you’re returning we only need an hour. How do you like them apples?
  10. Either way, who said that price is the only consideration here? There are a few types of hosting: you might want to double check you’re not currently in the bad ones. (What we offer is the Gated Community Garage.) Here, take a look. What do you think?
  1. More questions to come later? Who knows?


How To Use Our Rate Card

March 20, 2021 | Filed Under advertising, Immersion Creative, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

 

When you come across a patio with crisp tablecloths on picnic tables, wildflowers in chipped Royal Doulton tumblers, and steaming lobster served on cafeteria trays—what do you do when they offer you a seat?

 

You check the menu of course. Not just to see what they have, but to get a feel for what they charge.

 

People want to know, ballpark, what kind of pricing to expect before making any kind of commitment. That’s natural. Even if you’re not ordering right now. You’re just seeing if it’s in your budget for later. And getting a sense of league you’re (Batting? Swimming?) in.

 

It drives me nuts when people won’t give me a straight answer about their pricing. Sadly, you see this a lot in the creative realm. Can you imagine calling a plumber and saying, I need my sink fixed, what’s your hourly rate? And he pauses and says, “How much you got?”

 

I understand that complicated projects require complicated quotes, but a ballpark “here’s roughly what you’re in for” is all most people want when they’re kicking tires. That’s why we have the rate card.

 

I know I leave a lot of money on the table with this rate card. I don’t care. I make up for it with less time dancing and more time actually doing my job—at a rate that works for both of us off the bat—no negotiations required. That’s what happens when you have a client that knows good value and an agency that knows its worth.

 

There’s only one way to land on those numbers and that’s by constantly working for the numbers you set.

 

Will other agencies copy these prices? Again, I don’t really care. And I’m looking right at you, (redacted). You don’t work like me. You have a different product. Different overhead and expenses. I provide a different service that you do. So don’t steal my pricing. Make your own.

 

My rates are low beside the big tower juggernauts. Probably a third, I’m guessing, because my overhead’s low.

 

So that’s where the real value is.

 

Our studio rates and hourly billing seem dear by freelance designer standards. Because we are not just one designer, we’re a synchronized and organized team that can handle everything from the design, to the execution, to the strategy and media buy. We’re a one-stop-shop comprising a regular crew that’s worked together and worked out our flow for over a decade now. That cohesion is The Studio in the studio rates we have. You’re paying to keep the ball moving by career creatives, not dropped mid-way by a realtor moonlighting as a producer.

 

If you have $1000 to spend, we might seem expensive. If you have $10k, we are affordable but only for the below-the-line items.

We can take you from an idea to everything you need to be a company for less than $15k.

$25k and we are talking high-end branding.

If you have $50k we can do a truly next level B2B campaign.

For $100k we can blanket a region.

$300k: Blanket with broadcast.

$500k: Can’t miss, province-wide for a season.

 

So take a look at the rate card, let me know what you think, and if you want to really drill down on the numbers, we have the Bento Box for that. Just give us a shout.



Lürzer’s Archive 

March 20, 2021 | Filed Under advertising, Awards, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

It only took us eighteen years, but we finally did it. We cracked Lürzer’s.

Lürzer’s Archive is known for being the ultimate compendium of the most creative advertising in the world. It’s a celebration of the craft. I’ve been thumbing through its pages since 2003, wondering if I’d ever have my work in there. So making ads of that calibre has always been my ambition

 

When I first started out, I used to obsess about the ads in there and my number one goal was to get in the compendium one day. It’s the go-to for the best work out there.

Almost twenty years ago, I started asking myself: what makes good advertising? What kind of work are the big agencies hiring for? What kind of work do the smartest clients want? What kind of work just works?

 

 

 

Back then, I realized that there are a few paths to take. You can latch on to the style that the biggest brands use. You can mimic the advertising that’s winning awards. You can go through life just giving people what they want. Or, if you’re like me, you toil in the long shadows of the world’s most selective creative advertising publication, until its standards align with your own.

 

We were featured in the latest Lürzer’s Archive (twice). So that long eighteen year wait may have been worth it after all. Six ads total.

One of the campaigns was for Homeless Veterans in Canada, the other for Shearwater’s Peregrine dive computers. Both campaigns were with made with the extraordinary Vancouver advertising photographer Peter Holst.

 

 



Vancouver Print Advertising: Our Process

February 17, 2021 | Filed Under Immersion Creative, Uncategorized, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Print is a great place to start your campaign.

Once you have a visual that can tell the whole story, the rest just builds from there.

The process for producing a print advertising campaign goes a little something like this.

We put a law firm on horseback

 

PRE-PRODUCTION

 

  1. Rough Sketches

The first thing I do is present three or so rough sketches.

Now, I admit, my drawings are pretty terrible, but they get the idea across.

Here are some examples of how we take a rough sketch from concept to completion.

Every sketch contains a concept, which tells a story, because ads that tell stories are memorable. The more you elaborate on an idea, the more likely it is to embed itself in the long-term part of your brain (recall memory). Take a journey down the rabbit hole to the Intersection of Elaboration and Memory, just past 303 PSYC, and the cluster of trees.

Rough sketch to show the layout

 

  1. Mood Boards

Next, we present a page or so of imagery to give the idea of tone and feel.

When you are happy with the art direction, we move forward with production. This begins with a photographer that fits that style.

 

PRODUCTION

 

3. Pick a Photographer

Each one of the photographers we work with introduces a unique style to the production. Peter brings the epic. Matthew has the gift of stylish fashion (and sports). While Christoph brings a professional, more corporate/governmental feel.

Here’s a mood board of some of my best work with the talented advertising photographer Peter Holst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was from a beautiful, award-winning shoot I did with the always-stylish Matthew Chen.

 

Chistoph Prevost, the consummate professional, was the eye behind this uplifting campaign for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Peak 102.7 Host for Celebrate Everyday Victories

 

4. Casting

Picking the right talent is huge. It will make or break an ad. We find our fit though a few channels: casting agents, our social media, even just talking to people on the street. Our criteria is that we start with experts where experts are needed (martial artists, acrobats, stuntmen, etc.) then we go for character over glamour (unless the spot specifically calls for glamour). For bigger shoots, we’ll do auditions. The client is welcome to come along (they’re pretty fun). Then the photographer and I make a short list of our favourites, and together we pick the best fit.

Vancouver print advertising

Continuing Education Advertising

 

5. Location Scouting

I love location scouting, and I am always keeping an eye out for interesting places for shoots. If I didn’t work in advertising, I’d try to be a location scout for big budget film productions. It’s one of my favourite hobbies.

Location scouting Vancouver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are also some great studios in town that we like to use depending on the size and complexity (read: COVID safety measures) of the shoot.

Here are some places we have shot on-site:  FishSafe – Steveston Pier, MS – Muddy fields in Langley, CMHA – A high school in Surrey

Here are a few in-studio shoots: Miller Titerle – Post-apocalyptic lawyers, CCE – Experience Transformation, Shearwater – Scuba diving ninjas

Sometimes it’s a mix of both: RCABC – Father / Son. (Finding the right perch to shoot Vancouver out of a balcony with no glass was no easy task.)

 

6. The Plate

If we’re shooting in studio on a white screen (or green), we’re going to need a dramatic plate (static photo) for the background. Sometimes we shoot this. Sometimes we hire a retoucher to artfully assemble a beautiful post-apocalyptic wasteland. Shearwater is a good example of this. Miller Titerle too. Once we have sign off on the plate, then we build on top of it.

 

7. Props

In the past, I have tracked down a real ball and chain, had a blacksmith forge an iron trident, built a giant, green, fuzzy YES, (with Snuffalufagus-like fur), found a grappling hook, had a real armourer build a functional set of chain mail armour (he had never built armour as a film prop before—the idea was completely foreign to him). He built functioning, historically-accurate armour for… battle I guess? I don’t know, I tried to stay on his good side.

Vancouver magazine advertising

 

8. Styling

Wardrobe is a huge component to any shoot. And if you are doing a bigger production and the costuming is key, it’s always best to bring a professional stylist onboard. A stylist not only brings the eye, but they also find whatever clothing options are needed (from leather and spikes and sporting goods a la Road Warrior to marching band uniforms).

A stylist is also key on set. It’s one thing to dress your talent, and another to dress them professionally, and be on-hand for any eventualities, be it wardrobe malfunctions, popping collars, or steaming and tapering shirts.

 

MT Apocalypse BTS

 

ON SET

 

9. Catering

People gotta eat. There is also always an abundance of coffee on set. And sushi. Always with the sushi.

Legendary adventures ad.

 

10. Hair and Make-up

I’ve worked with a bunch of HMU artists over the years, most notable among them has been Marie-Helene Babin, the artist body-painting wizard behind some of our best work. Hair and make-up takes it to the next level as you can see here, and here, and here.

Marie Helene Babin at the CCE shoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Creative Direction

I work with the photographer to get the best shot. There are a lot of moving parts on a print advertising shoot, when the talent is in front of the camera, though, that’s all that matters. We take the attitude, “anything for the shot.”

 

12. Assistants

I wouldn’t dare do a bigger shoot without an assistant behind the camera, helping with gear, setting up the skrim and lights, and being an extra set of hands. Sometimes you get out there and you’re missing a cable, or a battery, or (most commonly) duct tape. Instead of shutting down the set, you have someone to run to the store or back home without losing any time. Also, getting the right lift to billowing hair is better done by a human waving a large piece of cardboard than any fan out there.

 

Shearwater Peregrine will light the way.

 

13. On-Set Photography

This is the photographer’s time to shine. They set the lighting just right. They coach the model. And they bring their vision to life. After working for weeks (sometimes months) closely with a photographer in the pre-production stages, I’m always amazed at how the image I had in my mind is suddenly materializing before my eyes exactly as I saw it. That’s the sign of a good photographer. Intricate prep, good communications, and a mastery of lighting. We try to rely on post as little as possible, so we get it all right there and then.

Peter Holst behind the scenes

 

POST-PRODUCTION

 

14. The Selects.

The photographer and I will comb through the thousands of shots we take, and find the gems. We’ll assemble these as our best ‘selects‘ for use to choose from. These are un-retouched, straight out of the camera shots, usually still unmasked from the green screen.

Law firm advertising in Vancouver

 

  1. The Layout

Once we have our best shots of each talent picked out, it’s time to lay them out on the background. We will do a rough ‘mock-up’ first, to get an idea of how the spacing looks, then once that is agreed upon, we move into the polishing.

 

Mock shearwater

 

  1. The Retouching

We work with high-calibre retouchers that add that final, final layer of polish. It’s one thing to look at a website at 900×600 px and think, yeah, that looks great. Retouchers get right in there at 5000px and straighten every wayward hair and uneven hoodie string to make the final product look immaculate. It’s all in the details.

Shearwater Esme

 

  1. The Design

Once we have everything looking great from a photography perspective, we move into the graphic design. (Realistically, I usually have design working on this from the layout stage, sometimes even earlier to keep the train on track.) Font choice is huge. Kerning. Tracking. Serif (or Sans)? Wingding. You’re into a whole new language with designers. As with every other professional on this list, I usually let them do what they do best and leave them to their Wacom devices—with minimal interference.

Advertising for Roofers

 

  1. Final Edits

With every job that we do, the client gets one round of free revisions at each stage. As you can see, there are several stages in the production of a print ad, so there’s plenty of room for the client to have their say if they are concise and organized in their feedback. By the time we get to the final edit, there are no huge surprises, but it’s always nice to see the final outcome of something that we have been working so hard at for so long.

Post-apocalypse

 

  1. Voila!

The final artwork is now ready. We can resize it to whatever mediums we like, and send this thing off into the world. It’s always a proud and slightly melancholy moment, like sending your kids off to school, or finishing the last page of a good book.

NOTE: We can move through this process in as quickly as two weeks (I think 10 days is our record), but ideally we like four to six weeks.

Let’s make some print advertising. Let’s do this!

Tug of War ad for the MS Society - BC and Yukon Division

 

 



The Process of Making A TV Ad

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

Making a good TV commercial can seem really daunting and complicated. Just like anything else in life, the trick is to break it down into simple, smaller steps and do them one at a time.

 

TV ad for paramedics with a stunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE: Timing

I like working backwards from deadlines in just about every area of my life. If I need to be up at six, I work backwards from how much sleep I need to be functional. So bed by midnight. Therefore, last tea at noon. It’s how I organize my life and it’s how I organize my shoots.

So first things first is we look at when it’s due at the stations, and then take away a week for clearing censors at TVB and any last-minute tweaks they might require. Then, working backwards, another week for post-production and colour correction. Then, back, another week and a half for editing. So if you’re doing something on a fairly big budget, like we did for the Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia, you want the shoot date to be about three to four weeks from the launch date.

Once we have the shoot date in place (ideally as far as possible from the day you receive the brief), then we start moving.

 

STEP TWO: Murphy’s Law

If you are making television advertising in Vancouver, you’ll need a rain date or two around it.

 

STEP THREE: The Concept

Nothing kickstarts the creative process like a deposit and a deadline. I like to have about two weeks to get together with my Art Director, Designers and Director Of Photography to start fleshing out the ideas. Usually my first pitch is just me talking to the client. Nothing fancy, just a discussion. Sometimes a cave drawing or two, but usually we just talk about what we plan to do. I’ll present about three or so ideas, and the one that gets us all excited is the one we make. We sign-off on a concept we move forward with storyboards, scripts, and the production of the thing.

 

We wrapped the front cover of the Metro newspaper and had a two-page advertorial inside. These were distributed at Skytrain stations by people in paramedic jackets.

 

WHAT’S A DOP?

The Director Of Photography (aka a cinematographer) is responsible for the visual aesthetic. They work closely with the director in every stage of the planning and production. A DOP will work out a shot list and help with storyboarding each shot.

They are key in assembling a crew and gathering gear as they will want the right grips and lighting technicians to give the production the look they are envisioning.

 

STEP FOUR: The Casting

Talent (the actors) bring an idea to the next level. So once we know all the characters, we reach out to casting agents to help find the best people to bring them to life. We often hold auditions either at my office or at the studio with the client. (We get sushi and make an afternoon of it.) When we have our final list of selects from the audition, we pass these on for discussion with the client. When we are happy with the talent we’ve picked, and they fit our schedule and budget, we move ahead with booking them and making sure they know their scripts. We get their sizes from the casting agents, and then we move ahead with wardrobe, props and styling.

STEP FIVE: Wardrobe, Props and Styling

For a bigger production, we often bring on a professional stylist at this point. Their job is to find the costumes and wardrobe (clothes) that fit the era, style and budget of the piece. They have the measurements of the talent to work from, and they know where to source items from all over the city that will fit the vision of the ad. We might also bring in Set Decorators and Art Directors, who help us find props, and items that will add to the reality of the shot and reinforce the concept.

When we shot the scene with teenagers doing drugs in a suburban basement, our set dec team had crap scattered all over the room: skateboards, bags of chips, video game consoles, magazines, backpacks, etc. At first I was like, this is way too unrealistic, no one hangs out in a room this messy, but they assured me that teenagers are in fact that disgusting, and sure enough, when I actually started looking at rooms from a set dec perspective from then on, I realized how right they were! A good set dec, is constantly taking in all the little details of each room, and bringing those observations to life by adding another layer of believability to a production.

STEP SIX: Location Scouting

I love location scouting. I am always running around the city as is, and I have a huge database of places I think would make great spots to shoot an action sequence, or a classy photoshoot, or a dream sequence. That said, there are also professional location scouts I work with as well when when do big productions. They help find everything from homes to shoot multi-day productions to places to park, bring in trucks, store gear and set up tents for the crew. Some of my favourite location moments have been shooting a terrifying traffic jam sequence in an abandoned parking lot in Burnaby and blocking off traffic in North Van to shoot an overhead crane sequence of a car accident, complete with an upside down vehicle, glass everywhere and a lifeless body.

We recreated a traffic jam with a few cars in a parking lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN: Permits

There is an enormous amount of paperwork that goes into doing a production. The biggest headache though, is getting all the right permits to shoot everywhere. You can find the best locations, but you need to jump through all the necessary hoops to film there. There are a lot of rules to follow. For instance, when we shot this ad, we were awfully close to CN Rail, which meant that we had to be super careful not to get too close, and we were just on the line.

You know you’re serious when you break out the 70-foot crane.

 

STEP EIGHT: Stunts

We once had a stunt man fall off a tall roof and onto a concrete walkway forty feet below for the opening scene of one of our ads. It was a super fun stunt to do. I was amazed when the stunt coordinator used a stacks of cardboard boxes as opposed to crash pads. Our stunt man had to do the fall three times, but it looked great on film.

 

APBC paramedic commercial stunt.

 

We flipped this car upside down for our haunting texting and driving ad for the paramedics.

 

flipping car upside down for paramedics ad

 

STEP NINE: Gear Rental

This is the DOP’s territory usually. My attitude is, if they want special gear (like the anamorphic lens we used in the APBC 2017 ad), or a Steady-cam to shoot the entire ad on one continuous shot—by all means. They want a scissor lift? Sure. I’ll even throw in a 70-foot crane to get a fantastic overhead shot of our freezing model down below. If that’s their vision, I make sure they get what they need to do just that.

 

TV ad for paramedics BTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP TEN: Keeping On Time And On Budget

For smaller productions, I do this myself, but once we are doing larger television commercials that have 75 people on set and a lot of moving parts, like the APBC TV ads, we’re going to need a Production Manager and a 1st AD.

The role of the director (usually me) is to focus on the here and now. The action. What is going on in front of the camera, and nothing else. There should be no other distractions in the back of your mind around the other great variables in the world of film: time and money. There are two people who’s jobs are specifically to deal with those two things.

The 1st AD handles time. He makes sure that everything is happening when it should be happening and that all the shots are being done, in the order they need to be done. He takes on the stress of herding the cats so the director can breathe.

The production manager handles money. They makes sure that we are keeping on budget. They can foresee the traps and dangers, and know all the rules, from labour laws, to union requirements to common sense. They say “no” to me a lot, and that’s what keeps the production from going off the rails.

 

STEP ELEVEN: Assembling A Crew

There are a lot of unique skill sets that go into making a piece of cinema, even if that piece is only 30 seconds long.

 

Hair & Make-Up

For a bigger production we’ll source maybe 2-3 HMUs, and they will often bring assistants, depending on the size of the cast and the complexity. Sometimes we will order prosthetics such as gills or severe wounds. Special effects makeup is a specialty for some artists that we bring in. My rule of thumb for a regular shoot is one hour in the chair per character, so we have to build the production schedule on the day of the shoot accordingly.

Even after the actor has left the chair, out makeup artists help behind the camera, catching and covering shines from the light, flyaway hairs and making touch ups.

LE Dye Pack TV ad

 

Catering

For a bigger production, we’ll bring in a professional caterer. They coordinate everything to do with feeding the crew, including snacks. Actors are notoriously fussy with diets that range from vegan to paleo to keto and more. They’ve heard it all and they find a way to keep everyone fed and happy. I keep out of the food part of things. Realistically, whenever I’m on set, I barely eat anything but gum as I’m too busy.

 

Craft Services

When sets reach a certain size they need Snack Land, and that’s where crafty comes in. If you need a quick veggie, nuts or candy fix, this is where you go.

First Aid

Every crafty I’ve ever worked with has also been our first aid on set.

Stills Photography

Print is one thing, but it’s also nice to have a behind-the-scenes photographer to get some stills for social media and the website.

 

Location Manager

This guy handles everything from traffic to security, to neighbours and parking and permits.

PA

An invaluable human that helps in every way possible on the day of the shoot. The PA could be doing anything from directing traffic to running for tape or batteries, to fending the public off set.

This is not to mention all the other specialized talents on set: the lighting crew, the sound crew, the grips and ADs, set dec, art directors, and production managers and more. There are a LOT of moving parts.

 

STEP TWELVE: Shoot Day

This is the day the magic happens. These days are long and drenched in caffeine. But always fun. The client often comes out to the big shoots to observe. I’ll have a million things going on in my head on shoot day as I’m directing. The First AD is there to help with TIME and free up that space in my mind. The Production Manager is there to help with MONEY, and he takes that component off my plate so I can focus on the shot in front of me, and nothing else.

STEP THIRTEEN: Editing

I like to do all the editing ourselves with our own designers. Usually they work from the notes made from my DOP and myself, and piece them together in the format that is more stringent than any big budget Hollywood production: the thirty-second ad. It’s amazing we can create an emotional arc in such a limited amount of time, but it can be done, and that is what makes television advertising such an interesting medium. It has so much potential.

 

STEP FOURTEEN: Colour Correction, Sound Design and Close Captioning

This is one of the best cities in the world to make film and television (and television commercials). Because of all the movies we make here, we’ve got it all. There are separate studios for everything: sound, audio effects, colour correction, special effects, close captioning, you name it.

 

STEP FIFTEEN: Media Buying and Launch

Once the ad is ready it’s time to buy your media. I’m a big fan of Sports and News because no one PVRs it. We can discuss the media buying process in more detail in another post.



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.

 

 

 

 



Consulting – Our Process

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

When communications are organized, everything is more efficient.

Immersion Creative Consulting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEEKLY CONSULTATION CALLS

I like to do set, weekly calls with clients. Say 15-20 minutes every Wednesday at ten. This gives us the opportunity to stay focussed without wasting time on multiple emails back-and-forth.

On the production front, we can make sure that everything is running smoothly and check in at where we are at with ongoing projects.

On the media side, I keep you up-to-date on how our media buy is looking, as well as the latest sales and opportunities in the market from TV to transit.

On the creative side, we have the chance to throw around some ideas about upcoming campaigns.

On the strategic side, we can discuss everything from how to handle changes in the market from an operational perspective to what’s going on with your competitors.

On the research side, we can examine how campaigns are being received and how to fine-tune them going forward to generate greater results.

On-call SEO consultation is included with Social Media Kit #3. Clients can call up at any time to discuss how their campaign is going, evaluate content, and strategize next steps.

Having a fresh set of eyes on a problem that you have been over-thinking can be a huge benefit. Through Immersion, I’ve been consulting clients for over 12 years now, and I’ve helped with everything from speech writing to courting advice to counter-surveillance. Never a dull day in the ad game.

I’m a problem solver by nature: advertising and otherwise.

An in-house consultant with a crew is essentially the crux of what Immersion is.

So let’s set up your first free consultation, and then go from there.

Immersion Creative Consulting

Twelve years in. Same jacket. Same tie. New wrinkles.



Our Website Design Process

January 27, 2021 | Filed Under advertising, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising, websites | Leave a Comment 

We’ve streamlined the website process into a few steps to make it simpler.

FIRST OFF – WHAT DO YOU LIKE?

We ask you to send us samples of websites you do and do not like and the reasons why. That gives us a good starting point. Also, it’s good to see your current advertising materials to get a feel for the main message you are trying to convey.

NEXT – YOUR KEYWORDS

What words do you want to best optimize for search engines? We have been doing SEO in Vancouver since Immersion began in 2008, and we know from experience that it’s the best advertising you can do for your business. In the first six years or so, it’s how Immersion got every one of its clients, by being number one on Google for Vancouver advertising agency and Vancouver advertising.

Properly optimizing for keywords begins with a best-practice internal optimization. In fact, the words that you pick as you main keywords are so important, they guide the architecture of the entire website.

Don’t know what the best keywords for your business are? Then let’s go on a FISHING EXPEDITION on Adwords to find out. (Click the link to find out more about that.)

Either way, once we have your keywords determined we can start structuring how this thing is going to look.

NEXT, NEXT – SITE SKELETON

Now that we have signed off on the best three keywords for your site, we need to lock down the skeleton. This is basically how the site will be structured. The architecture, if you will.

It usually looks something like this:

HOME

ABOUT

WHAT WE DO

PROJECTS

FAQ

NEWS / BLOG

CONTACT US

That’s a pretty simplified version, but you get what we mean.

NEXT, NEXT, NEXT STEP – COPYWRITING

Once we have the skeleton locked in, we move onto copy. Note, whenever I talk about copy, ever, I’m referring to text. All the words on this page are copy. I started off in advertising as a copywriter. I still am a copywriter. But I do a bunch of other things too. I edit copy too. But I never copy copy, copy? (I couldn’t help myself.)

Either way, copy is the words. In the world of advertising (or website) copywriting, it is making the words interesting, easy to understand and persuasive. Some clients like to give me a list of things that they want to say on each page (or copy points, or bullets) and I take these points and give them some poignancy and panache.

Examples of Copywriting:

I turn features of your product or service into benefits.

FROM

We only offer our services online.

TO

Our services are available to you anywhere, anytime, night or day.

I also edit, simplify and clean up redundancies and make it easy for your clientele to navigate.

Another component of copywriting for the web is SEO copywriting. Again, always cognizant of your keywords, we make sure to pepper in just the right about of keywords, link appropriately, and tag and build around those words to best optimize you on search engines.

Some people think this is just a matter of repeating the same keyword over and over again in the copy because the same keyword multiple time is all you need to do with that same keyword and Google’s search engines will love seeing that same keyword in your text. Don’t do this. This is a bad idea. You’ll get flagged and possibly even banned.

There’s a proper way to pepper keywords.

There’s a proper way to frame content.

There’s a proper way to utilize URLs (ie somekeyword.com).

Domain names (URLs) used to be a gold mine (for instance business.com sold for something outrageous like USD$350 million). While it helps, it’s not the be-all-end all of SEO. There’s a lot more to it.

It starts with internal optimization of your site through Keywords, Architecture, and Copywriting. Which brings us to WEBSITE DESIGN.

Oh yeah, and if clients would rather provide the copy, that’s fine too. (A lot of law firms prefer this for some reason.) We can always optimize and edit client-provided copy without changing the nuance. Sure. I have to say though, most legal copy is as dry as dirt, and if you are a law firm, I strongly recommend taking your hands so firmly off the wheel when it comes to communications copy and let us add some flavour, otherwise you’re just like every other law firm out there with copy that will never get read.

NEXT, NEXT, NEXT, NEXT – WEBSITE DESIGN

Once we have the copy doc signed off, we move onto the look of the site itself. Usually what we’ll do is present you a couple of options for the first couple of pages. You pick the one you want, and we use that as a template to build out the rest of the site.

With site design, just like everything else we do, you get one round of revisions per stage, for free. Just please keep them all in one place.

NEXT, NEXT, NEXT, NEXT, NEXT – PROGRAMMING

Okay, so once you’ve signed off on the look, we move into the mechanics of the thing. At this point our developer goes into his programming cave and makes sure that all the wires behind the scenes are set up properly.

In the old days, we gave clients the option of either a website with HTML or a WordPress backend for content management, our new thinking is that every site needs to have the capacity for the client to run it on their own if they desire. So all sites that we make are fully turn-key, once we are done, you can edit the copy, images, pages, etc. on your own.

 

CUSTOM WEBSITE VS. OFF-THE-SHELF THEME WEBSITE OR WIX?

In regards to websites we can do CUSTOM sites like this:

 

https://snrc.ca/

 

Or super simple THEME ones like this:

 

https://www.mariahruschak.com/

 

As well as everything in-between.

 

THEMES

 

Keep in mind, it’s built around a theme, so we don’t have any flexibility in design or functionality.

 

It’s basically a ‘what you see is what you get’ option.

 

 

CUSTOM

 

If you want a custom site, it would be built to whatever look and functionality you want, exactly the way you want it.

 

Custom looks professional because it is professional. As they say, buy cheap, buy twice.

 

 

 

NEXT, NEXT, ETC. – PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Now we are ready to show you a Beta Version of the whole website and all we need to do at this stage is test it. We’ll do one last pass over the site on both sides. We’ll check that all the links are working properly, do a final copy-edit. We make sure that the photos are all correct. You, know, quality control before launch. We check mobile versions, iPads, iPods, iTouches, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Internet Explorer 8 (shudder) and all the browsers and devices we can think of to make sure everything is just right for launch day.

FINALLY – THE LAUNCH

Now, we’re ready to deliver our baby to the world. We press a button, hold our breath and shed a little tear as she spreads her wings for the first time and takes flight.

———

———

WORDPRESS CRASH COURSE

It’s one thing having a site that you can have complete control of as a client and another thing to know how to do it! So we offer a one-hour workshop with our developer to teach you everything you need to know about WordPress. In no time, you’ll be adding your own photos and captions and copy and then, you too, will be off to the races.

We made this website in 48 hours.

 

THE NEXT STEPS

Your website is the storefront of your business.

You want it to be easily accessible (fast load times and ranked well on Google), interesting (well designed) and intuitive to navigate.

We build websites that are best-optimized for search results (SEO). This is only half the battle, the rest we can provide for you with ongoing content. Our social media kits will provide you weekly blogs to post, daily tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram images and whatever else you need to climb to the top of Google and drive traffic to your site.

We build websites with WordPress backends. This allows you turnkey access, so you can change photos or text, and manage the content all on your own. Of course we are always available for technical support if need be.

 

 

 

 



Our SEO Process

January 23, 2021 | Filed Under Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Vancouver SEO

This Is How We SEO

If you type in Vancouver advertising agency, Immersion Creative is consistently at the top of Google for organic and Places.

About 17 years ago I figured out how to optimize keywords to the top of search engines and I utilized this to great effect.

I got a job as a copywriter in Hong Kong by optimizing the names of the creative directors I met and linking them back to my blog.

When I first started Immersion, I did the same thing to optimize my company website so that I’d have the top spots for Vancouver advertisingVancouver advertising agencyVancouver marketing company, etc.

When people first came to me, that’s all they wanted. 

Hey, Mike, you got Immersion to the #1 spot for Vancouver advertising. Can you do the same thing for my business, but with these keywords?”

Sure enough, I did. For the first six years or so of Immersion, all of my clients found me through my SEO. 

To get clients organically to the top of Google, I have kits. It takes a while to get results. 

Everybody and their carpet cleaner thinks they know how to optimize now. Everyone’s a lawyer these days as well. And a doctor. Google and the Dunning-Krueger effect have created an entire generation of overzealous keyboard ”experts.”

Until they’ve had a highly contested term like: Vancouver advertising, Personal Injury Law or Vancouver real estate, I’d take their advice with a grain or eight of salt.

Either way, here’s how we do it.

FIRST: You Pick Your Keywords 

These are whatever you want to move to the top of Google for your search.

One of the first things we’ll ask you when doing website design is what are your keywords? We build the whole site around them, properly, so it’s important.

TWO: We Optimize Your Website Internally 

Despite what Wix and all these off-the-shelf themes will have you believe, there’s a lot more to SEO than just filling out the SEO section of a DIY website, or tags. We get down into the weeds and rewrite everything from page architecture to captions and copy to make it work with the right keyword weight and frequency. We do the proper linking. Basically, we just do it right. 

If you want a copy edit and internal SEO overview of your website, that’s where we start. If we are building your site from scratch, we just do it right the first time from the beginning.

THREE: Pick Your Kit 

Internal optimization is for best practices only. Basically we will take your as far as you can go, and you will be prepped as well as any professional with expert help can be without the necessary ongoing maintenance to keep you on top. 

With Kit One we’ll take one keyword to the top at a time. My favourite way to do this is by writing blog posts. Blog posts are great content and they provide many benefits beyond just SEO.

We have our professional writers to write these for you. They are all local, highly-educated Vancouverites. We don’t farm out content overseas. It’s quality content over volume that works 

There are two ways to do weekly blogs for content.

We can either give you a list of topics in advance that you can sign off on and edit, OR you can provide the content and we edit and fine-tune it for SEO best practices and post. Just as a heads up, everyone who was ever opted to write their own blogs has ultimately let it fall by the wayside and it just never seems to get done. 

You’re better off having it written by a pro. You wouldn’t believe his much time you can waste procrastinating before just getting down to write if you’re not in the habit of writing every day. You have a business to run. Focus your attention on that and leave the blinking cursor to us. The other things we do is manage your social media channels. We put these articles up on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc.

 We can also build lists and put you on them (I was doing this way back in 2009). Now everyone with a keyboard is doing the same thing. My gut tells me that all these directory sites are going to get de-listed soon though.

So what’s the next big SEO bandwagon everyone is going to jump on? Well, you can either follow the followers to find out—or get back into the lab with me. 

 



Doing It On The Cheap – 4 Pitfalls That Might Haunt You Later

January 22, 2021 | Filed Under advertising, design, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

There are sites like Fiverr and Looka where you can get your branding for offensively low prices.

I get it, you’re starting out and money is tight. I’ve been there.

Now, you get what you pay for in terms of quality, obviously. However, even if you accept that compromise, there are a few other pitfalls that you might want to consider that might not be obvious out the gate.

First of all, never go through Fiverr or Looka. Just don’t.

You can get a cheap, but half-decent logo for $300-400 if you roll the dice with a third party site like 99designs.com (this is what I did with Immersion, it’s true). Sometimes I even point thriftier startups in this direction. What I do for some clients is just book a few (3-5) hours to help them with the setup and creative direction, and then we build a ‘contest’ and guide the entries towards what you want.

Holden’s first stab at the Immersion logo when he was 7. Kid’s got promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Pitfalls of Being A Cheap Ass

1. You might end up with a logo that’s already out there. 

That’s a big expense and a potential lawsuit down the road. You can’t count on dudes churning out logos for contests overseas to put in the any degree of due diligence.

2. You are playing designer vs. having a professional designer do the job.

Sure, you can represent yourself in court, or you can remove your own appendix, but is it really a good idea?

3. Buy cheap, buy twice. 

Chances are you’re going to want a better logo, website, and overall branding down the road. So the money you are saving in the beginning just gets tacked onto the expense at the end. Rich people buy better boots and they save money in the long run (it’s an interesting read). Your brand is your boots, so you better make sure it fits right.

4. You’re wasting your equity.

I liked my logo, but when I ask professional designers what they think of it, I get a lot of eye rolls! I probably should have done it right the first time, being an ad agency and all, but you live and learn. We are remaking it now for my new website launch (2021 Year of the Phoenix Holla!). Reprinting everything (especially metal business cards at $5 a pop) can be expensive. Not to mention all the signs, stationery, pens, mugs, collateral, and all the wasted years building equity in brand that’s no more. So take that for what you will.

 

I’m the Ghost of Advertising Yet To Come, do not make the same mistakes as me, Ebenezer, for it is not too late.



Cruise Comp: Tired Of Counting Trees The Hard Way?

August 7, 2019 | Filed Under advertising, clients, design, Vancouver advertising, websites | Leave a Comment 

CruiseComp is a timber cruising software created by Industrial Forestry Services. It is designed to make the timber cruising process easier and more efficient. To highlight the program, we created a website, a trade show kit and made a series of videos to explain how it works. A favourite was our homage to Subterrania.

 

IFS Cruise Comp Website Design by Vancouver Advertising Firm- Immersion Creative

 

IFS Cruise Comp brochure Design by Vancouver Advertising Firm- Immersion Creative



Summit International Awards

June 8, 2016 | Filed Under Awards, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Yay, we just won a Silver and Gold at the Summit International Awards for these two campaigns.

FishSafe BC Ad 1 - close up of a fishermen - Vancouver Advertising firm

FishSafe BC Ad 3 - fishermen and flares - Vancouver Advertising firm

FishSafe BC Ad - hands and rope - Vancouver Advertising firm

Photo credit: Peter Holst

 

Umbrella Store Ad 3: Woman opening up lit umbrella -Immersion Creative - Vancouver advertising agency

Umbrella Store Ad 1: Man and woman with lit umbrellas - by Immersion Creative - Vancouver advertising agency

Umbrella Store Ad 2: Man and woman under an umbrella - by Immersion Creative - Vancouver advertising agency

Photo Credit: Matthew Chen

Project Credits: Fishermen helping Fishermen
Creative Director: Mike Catherall
Photographer: Peter Holst
Graphic Designer: Seann Einerssen
Copywriter: Suzanne Pope
Make-up Artist: Marie-Helen Babin
Client: FishSafe, BC

 

Project Credits: It’s Your Turn To Shine
Creative Director: Mike Catherall
Photographer: Matthew Chen
Retoucher: Steve Pinter
Stylist: Crystal Martines
Makeup: Tianna Tran
Models: Emmaline Zien & David Chin
Copywriter: Emily Louie
Graphic Design: Flora Leung
Client: The Umbrella Shop

 



Laser Eyes!

May 31, 2016 | Filed Under clients, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

This crazy billboard shot to the first page of Reddit worldwide and was featured on CBC Adweek, Buzzfeed, the CHIVE, and Mashable generating enormous buzz for the client.

 

CBC article

Adweek article

Reddit Post

Buzzfeed Post

The CHIVE

Mashable

It also made into: Adweek June 6, 2016 – Ad of the Week !

Lasers-02

Lasers-03

Lasers-04

Laser Beams  -Fun Real Estate Agent Ad by Immersion Creative

 Reddit users having fun with the ad:
fun-version-houlihan-ad

(Imgur)

fun-version-of-ad (1)

(Imgur)

fun-version-of-ad

(Imgur)

 



Vancouver Real Estate Advertising

May 28, 2015 | Filed Under Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Some of the work we have made for developers includes:

For Zenterra Developers

We did a creative campaign with custom photography for Hyde Park. We wanted to articulate their main point of differentiation, that being you had a whole forest to enjoy as an owner there. The campaign was featured on the backs of buses in the Lower Mainland.

For Bonds Group of Companies

Print, transit shelters and billboards for their Tate Downtown development.

New-Condo-Guide---Full-Page

 

 

For Genica Development

Print, TV, postcards, web.

http://immersioncreative.com/work/auburn-integrated/index.html

For Greci Development

Social media, website, print, outdoor signage.

This print ad ran in the Georgia Straight to attract a young and hip demographic. The website was great but unfortunately it’s down now. We also made a giant wrap on Scotia and 6th.

We ran a social media campaign that included a Twitter feed and a weekly blog.

Copywriting

I used to write ads for Sun Hung Kai Properties while in Hong Kong, working for Ogilvy & Mather.

Also, I have written copy for high-end real estate brokers Manhattan-Miami – helping them to sell properties just north of USD $80 million in New York.

http://manhattanmiami.com/blog/manhattan/page/4/

Real Estate Agents

We have also done work for several REALTORS including Anthea Poon and Patricia Houlihan.

Anthea’s campaign was featured in the Georgia Straight’s Best Of Vancouver.

 

Anthea In Transit

This is one of my all-time favourite campaigns. It ran in the interiors of buses and Skytrains as a spoof on Poetry In Transit. The Poets were livid! They kept writing us to complain – in rhyme! The campaign was mentioned on the famous comedy Podcast ‘Stop Podcasting Yourself’ .

Anthea In Transit

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are not your average real estate marketers. We take a different approach with conceptual and outside-of-the-box ideas.



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.



Using Google+ To Affect Search Results

December 7, 2011 | Filed Under Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

One of the advantages of Google+ is that it puts the articles you write on the first page of search results.

If you write about Vancouver, you’ll be on the first page for a Vancouver search amongst your followers.

The repercussions of this are huge.

Follow these 4 Steps to see what I mean

1. Go Google.ca and search for advertising.

There are over 2,480,000,000 results.

NOTE: Advertising is just one example. Some of the topics my clients have written about have been: loans, debt, mattresses, Vancouver, etc.

2. Now, log in as: Jon Smith with Gmail

immersioncreativetest@gmail.com

immersion11

Jon is just a test account. He is an example of any one of the followers of my clients’ Google+ accounts.

3. Search for advertising again.

The first page results have changed for Jon Smith. He is friends with my clients, and I have written about advertising. Because of that, we are on the first page.

4. Repeat the process for Vancouver, loans, debt and mattresses.

These are things we write about – but it could be potentially anything you want.

Everyone Jon follows affects his search. He follows Harvey Wipp (Alpine Credits) and Dorian Blinko (Full Circle) and Neil Wurst (Simmons). So any search for loans, debt or a mattress related matter will go to the first page.

Before

After

Whatever you write about will get put to the first page of your followers.

It is the consistent content that makes the difference.

We post 3x per week. We write about BC Sports. So any sports, ie Canucks related search will put them first page too.

We also write about Things to Do In Vancouver – so searches for that will find us first page too.

This will affect the search of all of your followers.

Unlike Twitter, your followers on Google+ will have a direct affect on search.

Google+ the new way, but it’s still in its infancy. So it’s easy to get mass followers early on (ie they let your follow up to 250 people at a time through Circles).

The trick is to get as many followers in Canada as possible. You can do this through Region-specific Circles (ie Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, etc) which I have already created.

The Caveats

It only affects the people who follow you.

They need to have a Google+ account

THESE RESULTS ARE GOOD.

SO WHY SHOULD I GET IMMERSION CREATIVE TO HELP ME?

  1. Time. It takes a lot of time to write blogs, post updates, build followers and build a Google+ account. Most business owners just don’t have the time to do this. It’s easier to outsource to a company like Immersion.
  2. Quality control. We have professional writers on staff to ensure that your columns and articles are to journalistic standards.
  3. Building followers. You will need thousands of region-specific followers to make the most of these search results. It takes time, and expertise to build these groups properly.
  4. Innovation. The search landscape is constantly changing. Immersion is not worried about sharing its latest findings (such as this) because there will always be more. The Internet is always changing. So your agency must be as well. We are constantly innovating and adapting, and providing your account with the latest expertise.

To find out more about how to put your business on the first page of Google search, contact mike@immersioncreative.com



The Lion’s Share

April 24, 2010 | Filed Under CRNE, Immersion Creative, PRIMED, SEO, Simmons Mattress Gallery, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

The Internet is all about territory. If you have a claim on the first page of Google, you will command the highest traffic to your site.

If you are not near the top of Google on a search, you will most likely never be found.

It’s a constant, ever-evolving jungle, but SEO has also been one of our strengths here at Immersion Creative.

For whatever reason, only a few Vancouver advertising agencies are interested in playing the game.

Our clients have asked us to take them to the top, and so far we have, to great success.

Here are a few of our most recent accomplishments:

We took Simmons Mattress Gallery to the #1 spot for mattress Vancouver.

We took DF Psychological Services to the #1 spot for Toronto Psychologist.

We took Alpine Credits to the #1 spot for Home Equity Loans.

We took PRIMED Educational Associates to the #1 spot for CRNE Prep Vancouver.

We even took Immersion Creative to the first page for Vancouver advertising, and this has been an ongoing struggle against some worthy and knowledgeable competition.

In each case, these were the exact search terms they were gong for. We determined most people search first for the product, and then refine their search to the region.

In the wild unruly world that is the interwebs, only those that play the game, and adapt and fight their way to the top can claim the lion’s share.

Rar!



Internet Gurus vs Celebrity Chefs

April 20, 2010 | Filed Under clients, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Everyone can cook. But just because you can cook well – that doesn’t make you a chef.

To be a top-notch chef, you need to devote years of your life to one thing : running an immaculate kitchen.

Same goes with the Internet. Notice how every second person is an Internet guru these days?

They set up an inane twitter account and blog laced with typos and grammatical errors and nonsense, and they call themselves an expert.

Then they try to charge you for their services.

I’m running across these guys every direction I turn. All of my clients want SEO. No one reads the Yellow Pages and if you aren’t on the first page of Google, you don’t exist.

The way these ‘Internet gurus’ get you is that they put you on the first page of Google, but for terms that no one ever searches for.

Say, you’re a mattress store in Vancouer.

You need to think like your audience.

They are going to search for either “mattress in Vancouver” or “mattress store in Vancouver.” If your Internet guru is as good as they say, they should be able to snag these words, through months of hard work and labour – producing quality content.

Anyone who says it is easy, is lying, or cheating. It takes up to six months of constant, steady optimization.

However, if you are with a company and they’ve told you that it’s going to be a year, you just need to be patient. Then I would move on.

Everyone claims that they can optimize your website and get you to the top of Google.

Maybe they can, for some five-word sentence like: “Mattress store on 8th Street in Vancouver”

That is not impressive.

What you need are the exact words you want.

These so-called Internet gurus won’t be able to get them for you.

Leave it to the chefs. The experts that have spent years of their lives and tens of thousands of hours optimizing sites.

Recently, I won mattress Vancouver for Simmons Mattress Gallery – the exact two words he wanted. It took six months, but that’s how long it takes to cook up a masterpiece.

Gordo only makes it look easy



A look inside a Vancouver advertising agency

April 20, 2010 | Filed Under Immersion Creative, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Immersion Creative is a different kind of shop.

I’m basically one guy, a writer, who immerses myself in my clients’ environments to help them put together communications solutions specifically tailored to them.

I don’t do off-the-shelf stuff. Everyone has a different style and a different sense of humour, so you need to cater to that. Every market is different. Sometimes only the owners of businesses that have been selling to one group for years understand this.

Either way, what I would like to illustrate with this blog is the inner-workings of Immersion Creative. To see how I tick, and how it operates.

If you are thinking about hiring a Vancouver advertising agency – this blog is a good place to start, as it hopefully will show a little bit about the process that you would go through, with me, anyway.

I will post here as often as I can, to give you a better look what it is like switching over from doing it yourself, to putting your campaigns in the hands of a professional crew.

This is me.