Call it Canadian pride. The knowledge that CGI, an American media company, had started producing promotional videos for Ontario municipalities rubbed an Ontario based multimedia company, VCM – Visual Communications & Marketing, the wrong way. It motivated them to initiate a different breed of promotional municipal videos. In the past VCM has worked with several municipalities including Toronto, Oshawa and Brampton on traditional video projects, but wanted to present something fresh and out of the box. After analyzing the work done by CGI and the slew of traditional municipal videos of the past, VCM saw an opportunity to find the essence of each municipality and bring it to life through brilliant cinematic storytelling techniques and creative concepts that retain the character of the municipality while exploring the economic development strategies that are being initiated.
Spearheaded by Paul Nandrajog a young, award winning, passionate, talented, and motivated Producer, VCM went out with a mission to revamp municipal videos to be fresh, edgy and fun using an out of the box approach. Doug Hodgson, VCM’s Sales & Marketing Executive was on the front lines speaking with Ontario municipalities.
In May 2010, VCM approached the quaint town of Meaford Ontario with the idea of a fresh and edgy video campaign with an out of the box approach. At first Frank Miele, the CAO of Meaford wasn’t too receptive to the idea. After a little persistence by Doug Hodgson, VCM’s Sales & Marketing Exec., VCM was able to lock down a meeting with Frank. The goal was to discover what Meaford’s economic development vision was and how VCM could help expose it through video and other media avenues. VCM walked away from the meeting feeling inspired and with a lot of great creative ideas that could be explored. VCM quickly went to the drawing board with its creative team and wanted to come up with a campaign that would highlight Meaford’s economic development strategy – Tourism, Agribusiness, Arts & Culture, and Retail in a fun and creative way. VCM won the pitch with the “Toss the Apple” concept, which was inspired by the opening credits of Guy Ritchie’s film, “Snatch”.
The Apple Tree Concept:
Meaford, Ontario is a progressive quaint town situated along the Georgian Bay. Agribusiness and the Green movement are thriving in this small but growing community. In fact, Meaford is known as the “Apple Capital of Ontario”. The apple tree is a beautiful and majestic tree in its prime symbolizing the value of life legacy, stability, sustainability, growth, grassroots, clean and above all GREEN. In essence, the apple tree stands for everything Meaford is, thus the apple tree can represent the core of the municipality. Expanding on this, the apples from the tree symbolize the community members, goals of the municipality and in general all of the components that make up Meaford. Therefore, this concept was the basis for all of the stories VCM developed for Meaford and reinforced the 4 pillars of Meaford’s economic strategy – Tourism, Agribusiness, Arts & Culture, and Retail. The promotional video campaign consisted of one main 90-sec intro video with four 60-sec videos.
The intro video served as a gateway video or “table of contents” for the main videos (vignettes), highlighting the focus for what’s to come. The four main pillars for Meaford’s economic strategy (Agribusiness, tourism, retail and green business) are the core of the intro video. An apple was used as the unifying element in the video. For instance, the video opens with an Apple orchard focusing on a Grandfather and his grandson fetching an apple from a tree. Then the grandson tosses the apple off frame. Subsequently, a grocer in the Meaford’s Farmers’ Market catches the apple as they tend to their store and so on. Throughout the intro video, each key aspect of the municipality is captured through a stylized sign that animates in over a freeze frame. Each pillar of the economic development strategy is highlighted in this fashion. Subsequently, the four videos that follow show a specific story, aspect for each pillar ie. Agribusiness, Tourism, Arts & Culture, Retail.
The aim is to expand on these pillars with more fun and informative videos and mini-documentaries in the near future.
Subsequent 60-sec Videos:
1. “Community Agribusiness” – highlights agribusiness & Meaford’s Farmers’ Market
2. “Unique Quality of Life” – highlights the healthy economy, community and lifestyle in Meaford touching upon recreation, tourism, retail, etc.
3. “Making It Happen” – highlights Tourism, Agribusiness, Green industry, retail through beautifully shot images.
4. “Tomorrow begins in Meaford” – shows the progression of the municipality of Meaford from its roots to where it is now.
“It was truly an exciting two days for us and we enjoyed every minute. The VCM crew was organized, very detailed, professional and appreciative of our participation. They came with a plan, followed their schedule, were fun to work with and produced five fantastic videos. Even though they had time constraints, they accommodated suggestions. Thanks for the opportunity.”
Doug & Brenda Dawsons – residents of Meaford & avid boaters