Category Archives: Advertising

Master Videographer Rosanna Peng Keeps Viewers Engaged

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Videographer Rosanna Peng shot by Noah Kendal

 

Living in an age of information overload brands need visual content creators who are able to create images and videos that strike a viewer on an emotional level and quickly tell a story. Videographer Rosanna Peng is one innovative visual storyteller who’s managed to leave a lasting impression on audiences with the stunning projects she’s created for brands such as J.Crew, New Balance, Canon Canada, Etsy, MTV FORA, The Creator Class and many more.

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Peng’s artistic approach to visual storytelling draws viewers in and elicits an emotional reaction within them. Last year she was hired to shoot and edit the J.Crew on Film: J.Crew X New Balance® 997 Butterscotch video that launched the collaborative J.Crew x New Balance 997 sneaker. Featured on popular online platforms such as High Snobiety and Hype Beast, the video Peng created takes viewers inside the New Balance factory and reveals the making of the new shoe in a way that humanizes the brand and gives personality to the shoe. Through her ingenious videography and editing, Peng managed to make the inside of a shoe factory look visually stunning, something not many people are capable of achieving.

“I was trying to take the viewer through the journey of seeing the shoe being made by real people then worn in an editorial environment. I wanted to show the craftsmanship of the shoemakers,” explains Peng. “I colored the video tones to compliment the shoe’s tones and textures. The pace of the video was intended to build up the excitement for the viewers to when the shoe is revealed in the final setting.”
 


Her methodical approach and visual artistry definitely nailed the mark; and considering the viral success of the video for the New Balance 997 Butterscotch shoe, it’s not surprising that Peng was tapped by the companies once again to direct and edit the video for their collaborative J.Crew X New Balance 997 Cortado, which was released shortly after the Butterscotch. With the term ‘cortado’ referring to a coffee drink made of equal parts espresso and warm milk, Peng connected the process of the making of the drink with the new shoe.

She says, “I wanted to convey the art of coffee-making and parallel the creation of a cortado to the beauty of the Cortado shoe. I did this by capturing every step of the cortado-making in a creative and beautiful way, then editing in footage of the shoe to emphasize the textures and tones to the shoe. The pacing and jazz track for the video is a modern spin to the art of espresso.”


From the rattle of the beans being poured into the grinder all the way up to the desirable and creamy finished drink, the precise shots, angles and cuts she used create a feeling of anticipation, a brilliant strategy that effectively connected the anticipatory feeling elicited within the viewer over the coffee to the upcoming release of the Cortado 997.

Capturing the personality of the brand while making the videos relevant and visually appealing to viewers, Rosanna Peng’s work for the J.Crew/ New Balance collaboration is the perfect example of how a master videographer can make the difference between a brand’s message actually breaking through the saturated digital market and making an impression, or being passed over by consumers without a second thought. Clearly Peng’s work lands on the side of the former.

Aside from being exceptionally skilled when it comes to shooting and editing videos, Peng’s international success as a videographer is due in part to the versatile nature of her creativity combined with her keen knowledge of current trends and the understanding of what will pique the interest of specific audiences.

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Rosanna Peng shot by Jennifer Cheng


As a lead videographer for MTV FORA, a hip daily blog from MTV Canada and Clean and Clear that covers fashion, beauty, lifestyle and the best of MTV, Peng created a diverse range of videos focusing on everything from fashion and beauty tips to giving viewers a behind the scenes look at photo shoots.

“I enjoyed the freedom the FORA team gave me. They really trusted my creative vision and gave me the opportunity to expand their potential on their youtube channel,” says Peng.

Thanks to her ability to create edgy visual stories that appealed to MTV FORA’s predominantly female millennial audience, the quirky and upbeat videos garnered thousands of views on the popular blog, as well as their YouTube channel. Accompanied by short blog posts, the videos she created, such as Becoming FKA Liz 101, #WCW: Phoebe Dykstra and Audrey Kitching and Natural Beauty DIY: Pumpkin Facial, add a fun and youthful flare to the FORA site that effortlessly keeps viewers engaged while telling interesting stories.


Peng says, “During shooting and editing, I would capture funny and offbeat moments that would make the video more unique. I was able to draw from my graphic design background and edit each video to pair with the accompanying article’s look and feel. The unique combination of design with videography is the merge of my previous experiences as a graphic design student and a videographer.”

For the 30 Shades Of Lips with Liz Trinnear video Peng shot model Liz Trinnear in 30 different shades of lipstick from makeup brand Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. While the idea of watching someone try on 30 shades of lipstick might not sound all that interesting, Peng’s shots of Trinnear doing silly poses in each shade combined with her edits and the music she chose made the video incredibly fun and engaging.


She explains, “I laid out the video timeline for every shade and paced the video so the pacing would go from, in regards to Liz’s poses. This spaces out the video and makes it engaging to watch as it has a pulse to it as well.”

One of the aspects of Peng’s talent that makes her such a rare and impactful videographer is her tremendous editing skill. From the New Balance videos to those for MTV FORA, it’s easy to see the way her edits affect the mood and style of the visual story being told. While her cuts on the New Balance videos are virtually invisible and the shot transitions flow seamlessly creating an almost visceral romanticized feeling, those for MTV FORA are the polar opposite. Her inclusion of bold and brightly colored graphics and the often abrupt and in your face nature of the cuts creates an energizing feeling that perfectly supports the cutting edge style of the MTV FORA brand.

“Video editing is more than just telling a story, it’s using certain footage to make a viewer feel a certain way,” explains Peng. “Anyone can point a camera and start capturing footage, but being able to communicate an idea through video editing is a certain skill not many people possess.”  

In a world where people are bombarded by so much content day in and day out, it takes a videographer with more than just technical skill to cut through the fat and actually touch viewers. It requires someone who is able to tap in and drive home an emotion that resonates with audiences, and Rosanna Peng is definitely ahead of the pack on all fronts.

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EVGENY TELEGIN: EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS IN THE COMMERCIAL INDUSTRY

The difference between good and great is most easily revealed when the pressure is on. One’s true abilities rise to the surface when instinct and “thinking on your feet” is all that is afforded. If you want to be considered the best of the best you need to possess these skills as well as surround yourself with professionals whom also embody them. Dmitry Venikov is CEO of Trehmer CGI and the in-house director of this elite Russian production house that specializes in design and three-dimensional work. When Unistream (money transfer company) needed to create nine commercials in a very immediate time frame, Venikov was relaxed knowing that expert producer Evgeny Telegin was at the helm. Telegin’s work with many international brands such as Nike, IKEA, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and countless others gave him a proven record to handle any situation with all global and domestic clients. His respect and countless international connections in the industry reinforced his ability to insure his productions were received with high praise. Telegin’s reputation as welcoming obstacles was an attractive attribute as well. The Unistream project would test this as it required nine commercial spots to be filmed in one day! When the person in charge is relaxed and confident, this demeanor trickles down to the entire production team. As proof, Evgeny and his team delivered their work ahead of schedule and with the high level of production imagined by Unistream. With apparent pride in his voice, Venikov professes, “, It was a saving grace to have such a legendary producer as Evgeny at the helm of the production. The Unistream commercials were a triumphant success due in large part to Evgeny’s ability to handle multiple things at once while still performing each task at the highest level of skill possible. Given the strict deadline at hand, Evgeny was a lifesaver by hiring an outstanding crew and cast, which included the celebrity host of Russia’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, along with coordinating set construction and the preparation of the shoot. The commercials called for finding representatives of different nations, who could speak their language fluently while acting on stage.  This task was not easy to approach in such a short amount of time; however, Evgeny found everyone at a rapid pace, and they all turned out to be the perfect fit for the client’s needs.  As a result of Evgeny’s producing, the commercials aired all across Russia and CIS countries, driving Unistream’s sales up 300 percent.”

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When dealing with advertising, casting is always important. For a production discussing finances, trust is paramount. Telegin needed a star for the Unistream commercials who embodied both of these traits. Everyone in Russia knows Dmitry Dibrov; not only for his work as the host of “Who wants to be a millionaire” but also as a journalist, actor, director and musician. Highly detailed planning and preparation made the filming occur smoothly, while Evgeny credits Dibrov’s high level of professionalism (delivering everything in almost the first take each time). This highly respected and recognizable celebrity, coupled with a delivery of the message in each geographic area’s authentic language, allowed consumers to feel comfortable in a number of ways.

The communication between Dibrov and the other actors in these commercial spots reveals a truly Russian (and areas surrounding Russia) scenario. It’s quite different from what many American advertisers or even American citizens experience. It also further reinforces the challenges which Telegin and his team faced in preparation for the production. Evgeny notes, “Unistream is very popular for money transfer within the country but mainly targets post-Soviet countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, etc. It’s not a secret that many neighbors of Russia come to Moscow seeking jobs. They send money that they earn back home to their families. That was the target audience for this campaign. Our goals for the commercials were to be easy to understand and informative in terms of benefits. We came up with the idea of Dmitry Dibrov doing his own small investigation about why is it that every second Armenian or every third Kazak sends money back home through Unistream. He is asking at the Unistream “random” customers why they choose Unistream. They all say in their native language what they like about it: fast service, broad network, and low rates. In the end of every story Dibrov repeats “low rates” the way the customers just said it in their language. It also adds some familiarity and comfort with Dibrov saying words in the customer’s native language.” To help create the “everyman” feel of these commercials, many first time actors were cast to interact with Dmitry. Instead of an overly polished and slick feel to the performances, viewers felt that those seen in the commercials were just as believable as themselves, which transferred the message that this was an appropriate service for them to us in their own lives.

Talent, experience, and connections are a requirement of every producer, but Evgeny points out one attribute that is often overlooked…awareness. He confesses, “I think a good producer has knowledge of what is popular, what is trendy at the moment. For example, there was a time in Russia when viral videos were very popular. If you know these kind of tendencies, you can come up with interesting and fresh ideas for great productions. No doubt that all the world looks closely at productions done in the US. I would say it’s the main course of style and techniques. You might want to monitor this direction if you want to succeed. Another direction would be international festivals. You see who wins or is nominated so you can find some young and unknown talents to offer to your clients. These young talents are fired up to work and extend their experience in other countries while the clients/agencies are happy because you bring something new and fresh to the productions. It’s a win-win. You must be sure that this young director will be able to produce the results you expect. You have to use your ‘6th producers sense’ based on your experience. Being an effective communicator allows you to tell if it will work out or not.” Telgin requires the same traits that Dmitry Venikov attributed to him. His achievements give increased validity to the professionals he works with, bringing those with a similar desire for exceptional work cultivates greatness at all levels. Delivering greatness is what drives this exemplary Russian producer to get up and face a new challenge every day.

 

BIRDMAN BRINGS SCIENCE FICTION TO REALITY

Akane Inada Millar loves electronic gadgets. Honestly, who doesn’t? While there might be a few who don’t embrace the constantly evolving change which electronics bring to everyday life, most of us are waiting with baited breath for the newest and most innovative of these products. Luckily for Millar, she is ahead of the curve. As a member of the interactive design agency Birdman (based in Japan), Akane is part of a creative team that is at the forefront of promotional campaigns presenting a variety of products to the public. The core of Birdman’s approach is the use of technology to interact with the public in ways never before seen. Virtual car races, running against your own life-size avatar in an LED stadium, and many other innovative campaigns have resulted in Birdman’s notoriety as one of the most successful and forward thinking companies in the world. Akane and her Birdman team members have received more than 200 international awards for their work including: the Grand Prix at Spikes Asia, Silver at Cannes Lions, Gold at Adfest, Grand Prix at Code Awards, and countless others. Birdman approaches each project as no other. While many are fixated only on metrics, Birdman appears to sometimes create presentations simply to prove that they are possible. One distinct example of this is the Nissan Intelligent Parking Chair production. This campaign literally appears to be inspired by the Jetsons cartoon and makes viewers feel as if we have reached the space-age future. It was recognized at the Cannes Lions 2016 “PROMO&ACTIVATION” with the Bronze Award as well as the Code Award 2016 “Jury’s Special Award.” Upon viewing the seemingly aware and self-mobile chairs in this presentation, one feels that the title of Visual Producer is a very accurate interpretation of Millar’s skills.

Millar views modern electronic gadgetry as another form of fashion; that’s a unique perspective to say the least. This perspective serves to further reinforce Akane’s positive contributions at Birdman. She embraces both the “techy” excitement and discerning aesthetic approach to the companies many presentations. For the “Nissan Intelligent Parking Chair” production, visuals were of the utmost importance to communicate the impact of this technology. Nissan wanted to exhibit the auto-park technology in a unique and outstanding way. The team at Birdman used the “Intelligent Parking Assist” function as a way of tidying workspace from its unused rolling chairs. With a simple clap of one’s hands, unused chairs would leave an untidy environment and go back to their “parking space.” This demonstrated the ability of using the technology in a very familiar scene, making it both approachable and practical. The system organized the parking movement of the chairs by using the automatic steering device included in each wheel; allowing them to roll by themselves and make a full rotation of 360°. Motion capture cameras monitored the spacial information from the room’s four angles, transmitting a “top view” of the room and wirelessly creating a system that moved the chairs to the previously decided “parking space.” Birdman joined the project from the planning stage and was in charge of the chair development and realization as well as the demonstration display. Upon viewing the presentation Takahiro Hosoda (Creative Director for Nissan Intelligent Parking Chair) commented, “Arthur C. Clarke once said, ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ To me, Birdman is a team of sorcerers.

They take my out-of-this-world imaginations seriously and bring them to real life. The intelligent Parking Chairs could not have been built with such durability without the Birdman team. Because of them, we can challenge ideas with higher hurdles. I am excited to see what magic they will come up with next.”

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Birdman’s “thinking outside the box” approach applies to hiring the professionals who make up their team as well as their promotions. While Millar is known for her successful career in fashion before joining Birdman, her talent and perspective have added many components that have strengthened this Japanese company. Roy Tsukiji of Birdman confirms, “As founder, CEO, and creative director of Birdman, it is essential for me to find professionals who are not only creative and forward thinking but those who also add something unique to our team. Birdman strives to always be at the forefront of promotion and brand awareness for our clients. To enlist team members who are any less than the most elite in the industry would weaken us and is therefore unthinkable. Akane Inada meets this criterion in every way. Akane came to us after an already successful career in the fashion industry. That might seem like an odd fit for a company such as Birdman which focuses on such an intensive use of technology; but this is exactly what makes Akane so valuable to us. She understands the changing avenues of promotion and brings her own unique perspective that has served to strengthen our company. As a leading creative force behind promotions such as the Nike Unlimited Stadium, Nissan Intelligent Chair, and Shiseido Red, Akane’s ideas and implementation of these ideas were essential to their creation and success. I can directly attribute the overwhelming success of these brand awareness campaigns to Ms. Inada’s talent and vision. Her achievements at Birdman speak for themselves. Birdman has become so successful that we are now opening an office in New York City and Akane’s mastery of the English language is just another example of how she continually adds to the strength of our company. The possibility of having Ms. Inada be a leading force in our New York location would be of great benefit to both Birdman and the clients in the US that we would serve.”

Akane’s connection to New York is just another example of the positive attributes which she brings to Birdman. Birdman’s entrée into the international market is almost unthinkable without Millar’s involvement. Akane was originally born in Osaka, and moved to Scarsdale, NY with her family when she was only three. She recalls, “Back when I was living in NY there were quite a few Japanese expats living in our neighbor. I went to the local public school and all the Japanese kids tend to gather up but I wanted to play with different group of kids. I spoke Japanese at home but when I was at school I spoke English and hung out with kids with different backgrounds.” Her exemplary talent and ease with both languages and cultures makes Millar the keystone for Birdman’s success as a member of the New York City promotional industry. Contemplating her position as a Visual Producer for Birdman’s NYC office Akane comments, “I think it is necessary to have the experience of actually moving your hands to create something. I admire Visual Producers who not only know about the design but also have knowledge in the technical part. I feel people have more respect for producers and directors who have been in their shoes. When I first came to Birdman it was because I wanted to widen my view of promotion. I had no idea that it would affect me so profoundly. I am so thankful that they want me to have to opportunity to use my expertise to help them with this new growth potential for Birdman. Every time I am stopped in another country by someone who knows Birdman and their innovative promotions, it’s a reminder that I made the right decision.”

 

NEW ZEALAND’S NATALIA GORELOVA ISN’T ALLERGIC TO FAME…OR THE HARD WORK NEEDED TO GET THERE.

What do the people on this list have in common: Angelina Jolie, Sofia Vergara, Cameron Diaz, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Connelly, and Amanda Seyfried? They all started their careers in modeling. In this day of YouTube stars, this and that Idol, and “Top (insert profession here )”, it’s easy to forget that there was a time when professionals in entertainment took the path of working slowly to gain the experience to make a career last for life. That’s not to say that there aren’t many highly talented individuals in the aforementioned productions, just that there is something to be gained through gradually experiencing the many opportunities and scenarios that a developing career bestows. Sometimes the factor which allows creative types to develop as an artist is the ability to learn from the challenges and inevitable mistakes that come their way in less obvious ways. Natalia Gorelova has been travelling this path and successfully making the move from magazine covers and the catwalk to the TV screen. The wide variety of situations she has been called upon to perform in have resulted with her becoming a model who understands all of the subtleties of using verbal and nonverbal communication to portray whatever her role requires. While you might previously have seen her on the cover of Idealog or Headwave magazine, you’d more likely see her these days on TV doing a spot for Jaguar or Green Giant. Taking risks, doing the hard work, and believing in herself is the MOD for Gorelova. She grew up in Russia, then moved to New Zealand and was discovered. Going to unfamiliar places and jumping in the deep end has always been an attribute well exercised by Natalia. It has served her well giving her new opportunities and granting her access to other professionals who empowered her vocational pursuits.

Most models have to learn to make peace with the idea of auditioning. It’s an essential part of the business that most people accept as necessary in order to gain access to the opportunities they desire. In strong contrast to shying away from this, Gorelova describes a recent international TV spot for Zyrtec stating, “I decided that I had to play it very confident and warm. In one scene I was a member of a couple so I just went for it. Spontaneous intimacy with a stranger in a room in front of a camera can be an awkward experience. The key is to make it look like this is real and commonplace; you are in love with this guy you’ve never met before but you’re happy cuddling. It has to happen instantly. I made the point of talking to my casting partner before we got inside the room to break the ice a little. It worked and the audition went well. We felt at ease with each other which made the casting director happy, of course. I got a callback right away.”

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An important reason for Gorelova’s casting was the director on the project, Gregor Nicholas. Nicholas in an Emmy Award finalist with international awards (at Cannes Lions for example) with films in the Permanent Film Collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (Pacific 3-2-1-Zero) and was called “One of New Zealand’s hottest directors” by the Hollywood Reporter. He communicates, “Natalia demonstrates an extraordinary range, both comedic and dramatic. Her versatility as a performer allows her to handle any theme or attitude, whether in a movie, television, or a commercial. Rarely have I collaborated with an artist who has worked so consistently with so many leading commercial and fashion brands. It is clear that Natalia is a truly gifted model with exceptional abilities.” Gregor was in the room during the casting session and recognized her talent immediately. His praise was particularly poignant for Gorelova as she had been aware of his work since first moving to New Zealand. She reveals, “I remember the time when I just moved to New Zealand from Russia and I was watching a lot of TV to help me learn English more quickly and I saw a Telecom commercial about a guy who travels a lot while his wife is back home pregnant and missing him. The man scans his hand and emails the image to his wife. Upon receiving the email, his wife touches the screen with her palm against the image of her husband’s. It was so emotional and cinematic. From casting, to music, to lighting, to the idea; all of it was wonderfully detailed and elegantly filmed. I never got sick of watching that commercial. Later, when I started working in the commercial world, I hoped that I would get to make something that beautiful and cinematic. When I realized that Gregor was directing this Zyrtec project, I became very nervous because I wanted the part so bad!”

The commercial aired frequently to great response, making Zyrtec quite happy. Gorelova admits that although she should focus on this, it is hard for her to get past enjoying the work so much because she works alongside professionals whom she respects. Having made a successful career in and being well-received by brands and customers alike is an achievement she is quite happy about. Of course, the fact that the Zyrtec campaign and her performance was successful is a happy outcome. Natalia confirms, “Working with the entire cast and crew, and learning from Gregor was incredible; but also, working for a huge American brand was really exciting. To me, it meant that I am marketable in the U.S. and that started giving me hope that I could one day end up doing what I love in the country that I also love.”

 

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TV COMMERCIAL EDITOR PAVEL KHANYUTIN IS A MASTER OF THE 60 SECOND EPIC

Small is beautiful—the economy and discipline of the short form, whether a haiku poem or one minute television commercial can be as rewarding, in its own way, as a feature length project. But that spare intimate moment also poses a tremendous creative challenge, one which only an acutely capable craftsman can master, and Pavel Khanyutin epitomizes that nuanced, subtle skill.

The Russian-born film editor-visual effects supervisor’s instinct, delicacy and precision have allowed Khanyutin to build a solid professional reputation as a master of both thirty second TV spots and feature length films. Navigating such a broad spectrum takes a very special gift, and the ease with which he manages it only underscores Khanyutin’s natural talents.

Khanyutin’s earliest experience was cutting documentaries, a genre where the straight expositional narrative succeeds largely due to how the editor frames and delivers that information.

“I started doing advertising at the beginning of my career in 2000,” Khanyutin said. “At that time I already had experience in editing documentary films and I’d been working with computer graphics for several years.”

“Advertising, of course, can’t be compared with films in complexity,” he said. “Time spent in the editing room and the tasks differ a lot. However, advertising is strongly connected with film. To my thinking, this goes both ways and dozens of techniques move from ad to film and back, improving and gathering sensibility along the way.”

Khanyutin soon found himself working for all the top Russian ad production companies—DAGO, Bazelevs, Robusto, Action Film , Park Production and international agencies like Instinct (BBDO Group) and Leo Burnett Worldwide.

“These gave me fantastic opportunities, within a short time, to edit dozens of TV promotions in many genres, to work with different directors and studios, for various brands and in different formats.” Khanyutin said

The ability to infuse cinematic qualities into a television commercial gained Khanyutin a great advantage in the field and he has done successful spots for such major international clients as Mars, P&G, Garnier, Pepsi, Toyota, Google, IKEA, Tele2, Megafon cellular and many others.

“The skill of editing commercials has a lot to do with one’s ability to pinpoint the soul of a story and convey it in the most economical way possible,” commercial director Rachel Harms said. “Pavel’s brilliance is evident at every stage of the editorial process. He’s a master at uncovering the choice moments, shaving them down to their essence, establishing rhythm and musicality, and finally juxtaposing images in a way that achieves maximum impact.”

Khanyutin relishes the challenge television ads present. “During editing, I consider a TV ad to be like a short film,” he said. “There are many possibilities in spite of the very restricted format, but you also face a limitation of possibilities. As an example, there are ads with a lot of dialogue or an overload of text information, and you must always consider the strict time limit of 30 seconds to one minute.”

“Another type is the ‘branding’ or ‘mood’ ad. These have a much less strict structure. The characters do not speak much or don’t speak at all. Here you almost unlimited possibilities for editing, with many variants on how and where to put focuses–to solve the task rhythmically. All small details are of great importance. One flash of half a second may finish the composition in full, if you find its right position in editing.”

Khanyutin’s focus, dedication, comprehensive vision and innate knack for conceiving and presenting the ideal cut on any given assignment has kept him in demand as a TV commercial editor for more than fifteen years

“I’ve worked with countless editors across the globe in the course of my career as a commercial director,” Harms said. “It’s rare to find such extraordinary intelligence and insight wrapped in such a collaborative heart. Pavel listens well and quickly attunes to a director’s vision, yet he never loses his own strong point of view.”

“After a shoot, I know that my material will either live, die or thrive in an editor’s hands. This is the final critical stage where everything will either come together or will be derailed. With Pavel as my editor, I’m always confident the finished product will be exceptional.”

Kate Mahon’s Work Connects With Millions of ‘Real’ Women

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Kate Mahon’s work Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign lead to international success.

It can be easy to forget, when admiring something, who is involved. When reading a book, you are consumed in the story and not who published it. When watching a movie, you are wondering what happens next and not who was behind the camera. When looking at an advertisement, you connect with your need for the product and not who was in charge of the campaign behind it.

Kate Mahon, an advertising art buyer, knows this well. Mahon has had a successful career with many achievements, and millions of people have been impacted by her work, but not many know it.

Mahon worked on one of the most successful advertising campaigns of the decade. The Dove campaign for Real Beauty aimed to celebrate the natural beauty of women and inspire them to be a confident about who they are. Many young women’s lives were changed and tens of millions were impacted by the emotional and enlightening adverts. Videos from the campaign went viral, some receiving over 60 million hits on YouTube. It was named by AdAge, the leading global source of marketing and advertising communities, as one of the three “Ad Campaigns of the Century”.

“I wish I could say that I predicted the massive reaction the work would get, but in truth I imagined a couple of strong campaigns would be created and then the client and agency would return to producing more conventional work,” said Mahon. “Yet twelve years after its launch the Real Beauty campaign is still producing work that opens up yet more discussions about what is considered beautiful and the constraints placed both by society and women themselves.”

Mahon worked as a lead creative producer and art buyer for the campaign, essential to both its commercial and social success. She was in charge of all photography, design, print production, as well as commissioning the casting agents who had to find the women that would represent “Real Women” and resonate with so many people.

“Being part of this campaign makes me extremely proud. Advertising in general is often accused of being morally bankrupt. It is edifying to be part of work that truly opens up serious debate. I look at the ads now and they still look groundbreaking,” she said. “Campaigns such as ‘Real Beauty’ only come around once every few years or even decades, so when it does become apparent that they have broken the boundaries between commerce and social dialogue they take on a life of their own. Whether people like or loathe the work, they begin a discussion that is worth having, about conventional rules of beauty and women’s self-image in general.”

“The initial function of advertising is simple: to sell and raise the profile of a client’s product,” she continued. “If it then extends beyond that into serious social commentary then it is a rare thing which takes it beyond the norm.”

Mahon was essential to Dove’s Real Beauty success. Many of those she worked with remark at her ability to network and her creativity.

“She proved herself to be a valuable asset to the overall project and to the agency in general,” said Susan Pratchett, the Account Director of the Dove Campaign. “Kate’s lead creative role was responsible for much of the project as it created the public image for our campaign.”

Mahon was also in charge of recruiting A-List photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, David Bailey and Rankin for the campaign.

For Mahon, it’s the collaboration that she loves.

“In the fine art world it is all a very personal and solitary process but in advertising every part of the creation of a campaign is a collaboration between the clients brief, the creatives idea and the photographer or directors vision of bringing the idea to life,” she said. “My job means I get to work with a huge range of image makers from all genres and I have to work with an equally diverse range of budgets. Complacency is not possible with the ever changing industry. During my career I have seen a seismic shift in my role and over the advertising industry as a whole which is incredibly exciting.”

Mahon says she never expected the reaction the campaign received.

“The agency and client knew the strategy was a break from the conventional notions of a beauty campaign, but I don’t think anyone expected the massive reaction we received from the outset,” she said. “It is not often that one gets to work on an advertising campaign that ends up being covered in national and then global media. Once the first couple of posters and print advertisements were launched to such universally positive reviews it allowed the creatives even more freedom to push the boundaries of the clichéd notions of beauty.”

Mahon’s work proves that a simple ad can be more than just a small sales technique. Her work shows that she can change lives.

From the Australian surfing scene to the Pinnacle of Filmmaking, Australian director Luke Farquhar Shares his Story

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Luke Farquhar has directed standout spots for Fox Sports, Channel [V] and many more. 

For Australian director Luke Farquhar, it all started with a dream to become a pro surfer. He grew up on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast, south of Brisbane, with inspiration to make his mark in the subtropical region that’s home to some of the most popular surf breaks and beaches in the world.

“I wanted to be a pro surfer,” he said. “I was super competitive and tried my hand at Air Shows, but I just could never perform when I needed to I guess. I got sponsored and was able to free-surf instead, which I enjoyed more because it allowed me to make videos with my friends and take pictures and be creative. The Gold Coast is the best place in the world to learn your surfing craft. There is so many good surfers there so it pushes you to surf good…or else you just get pushed to the side!”

Parlaying his wave riding experiences, Farquhar gained momentum and the sense of his foremost passion – filmmaking. At the age of 19, he began making surf films. “They began getting some traction and I was asked to make them properly,” Farquhar said. “I decided to focus on my love of film and have never done anything else since.”

The career decision resoundingly turned out to be the correct one.

Farquhar, known for his stylized, unparalleled and imaginative execution, has directed his way to a coveted position at the pinnacle of filmmaking. He’s directed commercials, spots, promos and outstanding branded videos for Fox Sports, Land Rover, Channel [V]’s hit music video show “The Riff,” Billabong, Schweppes, Insight51, and the Brit Music Awards, to name a few. Talent Farquhar has directed includes surfing icons Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning, Australian football star Callan Ward and MMA legend Ronda Rousey. (Check out Farquhar’s work here: http://www.vimeo.com/lukefarquhar)

Farquhar’s metamorphosis into a directorial auteur was a journey that saw him attend the Gold Coasts’ Bond University, a period during which he directed short films and TV commercials for a year and a half.

Leaving academia behind prior to graduation, Farquhar went on to direct for Oyster Magazine, a leading quarterly Australian publication that covers pop culture, music, fashion and beauty. His freelance appointment with Oyster was fruitful as Farquhar was nominated for the Harpers Bizarre/Peroni Creative of the Year Award for his 8mm short fashion film.

Riding the success, Farquhar assimilated into directing for FashionTV, a fashion and lifestyle broadcasting channel that airs to global audiences spanning North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Farquhar engaged his talents for the network for two years and directed a bevy of content including televised and esteemed fashion week events.

His services were then sought after and acquired by Channel [V], an Australian MTV equivalent for music enthusiasts with a nationwide cable audience. Farquhar directed the rebrand for Channel [V], which spearheaded the repositioning and marketing strategy for the channel. His animated spot – “For the Love of Music” –artistically shows a story that begins in the depths of hell and scrolls up vertically to the heavens, intermixed with live action placement of music figures such as Marilyn Manson, Daft Punk, 2pac, Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, and others, finally ending with the Channel [V] logo.

“This was one of the most stressful jobs I have ever been a part of,” Farquhar said. “Overseeing an army of talented designers can be incredibly tough, but in the end, we did a lot of great things in capturing the spirit of Channel [V].”

It was during Farquhar’s four and a half-year tenure with Channel [V] that he met his girlfriend, Carissa Walford, who hosted for Channel [V]’s “The Riff.” The pair would collaborate on promo spots for the show with Farquhar directing and Walford lead acting. Farquhar exercised his profound creativity and demonstrated an uninhibited, sublime directing approach within his spots for “The Riff.” The director dispatched in the spots an array of sensory components including narration, bold imagery, grainy cinematography, dark undertones and striking messages that resonate with viewers.

“Luke’s directing is characterized with a grandiose, epic sensibility,” Walford said. “It’s a bold style that pushes the boundary, while also being representative and effective. His messages are original and memorable, and drove viewers to our tune into our show.”

Farquhar thereafter directed for a period for Television New Zealand, a 36-year government-owned national broadcaster, and later advanced to directing for Fox Sports Australia, including the network’s expansive “I AM” rebranding. Fox Sports is the foremost sports broadcaster in Australia featuring six sports channels and a dedicated news network.

Keeping true to his surfing roots, Farquhar directed the Fox Sports “I AM Surfing” promo, along with other inspiring personal narrative tales from Fanning, Ward, Rousey and boxer Jeff Hornet, as well as “I AM UFC” and “I AM a Fanatic” spots. The “I AM” campaign was recently selected into the Promax Awards in June in New York City.

“The ‘I AM’ spots were a tremendous opportunity to champion the Fox Sports rebrand,” Farquhar said. “My goal for directing and working with our featured talent subjects was to present their personal stories of triumph, in their own words. The campaign collected multiple awards and we achieved our goal for the extreme sports banner.”

Most recently, Farquhar has directed spots for Necro Surf and is currently working with DD8, a creative international company that designs, produces, directs and shoots incredible branded content. Farquhar and DD8 co-founder Jean-Christophe Danoy are planning forthcoming expansion of the firm with a Los Angeles based branch.