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.



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.

 

 

 

 



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.



If You’re Not On Page One – You Don’t Exist

April 30, 2010 | Filed Under advertising, Immersion Creative, SEO, Vancouver | Leave a Comment 

Don't disappear into obscurity.

Find out how Immersion Creative can get you on the first page of Google.

Read our Spring newsletter here: Vancouver newsletter, or, sign up at mike@immersioncreative.com



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.