OK, so when we last left you, we expanded our marketing budget, got some ideas down on paper for some TV spots and went ahead and secured David Clarkson of the New Jersey Devils and Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins to appear in our spots. Let’s explore what happened next……
In May & June we began sharpening our ideas for the content of the spots. This involved securing a company to handle the production and creative for the spots. I didn’t have to look far – I have known some of the guys at Neoscape for many years and I had a good sense that they understood and could replicate the visions we had. Based in Boston, Neoscape is a creative agency and houses artists, filmmakers, designers and consultants – and I play hockey with a few of them, so I know there’s a bunch of hockey nuts there. We did speak to a couple of other agencies as well, but it was clear pretty early who should be handing the production of the spots.
So we met in person with Neoscape and started exchanging ideas for the Clarkson spot, which we assumed would be done first, simply because Marchand was in the midst of a deep playoff run and we could easily communicate with David Clarkson at the time, whose Devils hadn’t qualified for the playoffs. We set the production date for roughly September 12-13 and got down to finalizing the script. I originally submitted two scripts to the guys at Neoscape – the prescription drug commercial (mentioned in our previous post) and also another one involving a Pure Hockey job fair, which ended up being the basis for what we ended up doing.
The ideas presented to Neoscape were simple – I wanted a gag with hockey gloves and typing. Originally I submitted a script where Clarkson was typing at a computer with hockey gloves on. I also wanted him jumping over something, much like a player goes over the boards in a hockey game. I also wanted something with helmets, so I originally submitted a script which had Clarkson fitting a customer with a helmet, but putting it on backwards.
As you can see in the final version, the gloves and going “over the boards” made it into the final shots. The helmet piece wasn’t going to work with the Clarkson spot, but ended up being a cornerstone for the Marchand spot, which we’ll get to later.
Neoscape took my initial ideas and really turned it into a cohesive story. They came up with the gag of Clarkson cutting boxes with a skate, which I thought was really funny (and took a LONG time to set up) and they took the glove idea and used it at a register instead of a computer. Working with them was just so easy and effortless. They brought a 7 person crew down to the Fairfield, NJ for the Clarkson spot, which was shot during training camp on September 12th – a quiet Tuesday in the store, which worked out well for us. The entire thing ended up taking an entire day – we started setting up at 8:30am and left at 6:30pm.
Clarkson himself couldn’t have been a nicer guy. He was totally up for doing a bunch of goofy stuff and pulled off the acting thing really well. Off camera, we had a lot of fun talking with him about the NHL, gear, sticks and just about everything else. He brought down his Devils game jersey for us to look at and also gave the store an autographed Easton RS stick, which now hangs above the register there. David is involved in his own charity (Clarky’s Kids) and made it clear to us that he really was impressed with the store and wanted to do more with us down the line. He was very generous with his time as well. Very cool. Amusing note – one of the first things he said was “I don’t think I’ve been in a hockey store since I was 15.”
That’s all for part two. Tune in next time as I get to some detail around how we picked the other actors and we’ll briefly interview both of the lead actors as well.