The Making of the Blockbuster Old Spice Commercial

Ever wonder how they made the Old Spice commercial with the handsome guy? Owning a production company is a wonderful thing sometimes. I read how the creative team of Craig Allen and Eric Kallman who work at Wieden + Kennedy put together the commercials. The goal was to make a commercial women would like.  The research shows they do the shopping for most households. They also wanted it to be fun for men to watch. They talked about doing the creative and not worrying about how it would be made. That would be up to production team! I love this because this is the goal in any creative brainstorm on how to get the clients message across to the audience and have them walk away to do some sort of action. So you think BIG without worrying about costs. Then let the production team figure out how to produce the content.

This can be translated to any type of video, media, meeting or event. What do you want your audiences actions to be when they leave that ballroom after your conference? Watch that video. After interacting with that Media.

The first video that was the sensation was done in one shot with a little CGI (Computer Generated Imagery)done int he editing room. Basically the part where the diamonds pour out, the old spice body wash comes out of his hand and the clam. But everything else was done in one take. Well As I read it 3 days and 150 or so takes. Pretty awesome.

The video below looks like they used a stunt double

What are the goals of your next event or project? Love to hear how you thought about the goals of the project and made it work…

 The Making of the Blockbuster Old Spice Commercial


5 Myths of using In-House A/V

case studies 5 Myths of using In House A/V

I am shamelessly stealing this post from one of the smartest women in the events & meetings business Midori Connolly. Midori has been a contributor to MeetingsPodcast from the beginning and she has said she would like to do more shows with us. She is an innovator with Green Audio Visual with her company Pulse Staging and events

I seem to have this conversation all the time with clients about using in-house AV on events. When my team is already bringing in the general session Audio Visual, the breakouts fall to the in-house A/V. I wouldn’t say always but these breakouts usually have issues and our hands are tied. As we get to know our clients better and better we can anticipate issues much earlier and make the sessions about your content not about any technical issues. (like you trust us with the general sessions) Recently I spoke at a conference and walked into the venue with my laptop and was told they did not have a projector? I asked the -in house A/V if they had one for me to use and he said he would have to call the office across town? I looked at the meeting planner and she said she thought they would have one for her? Strange situation for me to be put in. I was there as a speaker but do own a production company. (no I don’t carry A/V equipment with me) icon smile 5 Myths of using In House A/V

I had to share Midori’s explanation of the many myths is so well written.But soon she will be back on the podcast and maybe some of her smarts will rub off on me.

5 Myths that could equal lost time and lost dollars for your live event…

Unlike most Audiovisual companies, we concluded that a big long list of our equipment is really not practical, useful knowledge for most Event Professionals (although we do have one, it’s quite extensive and available if you’re interested!). Instead, we present five myths demonstrating why you should always consult with an independent AV service provider when planning your event.

1. It will cost more if I don’t use the hotel AV service.

This is perhaps the most costly assumption you can make when choosing your AV provider. We can demonstrate several examples where you could save your client or your company hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of precious dollars. This might be through careful scheduling of labor, adapting schedules or even helping you shop and negotiate power and rigging charges at various venues.

2. My venue will not allow me to use an outside service.

Pulse Staging can help you manage this sales tactic and negotiate with your chosen locale. Frequently the in-house provider will attempt to charge for using an outside company, often referred to as a corkage fee. However, with the careful use of a simple red pen, you should be able to mark through these unfair, bullying practices that can be up to 40% of a final billing!

3. An outside AV company won’t be able to accommodate last minute changes.

Don’t let this deceptive statement fool you! Much of a hotel’s equipment, especially any specialty gear, is actually shipped from other sources. No matter the destination, the extensive network of Pulse Staging has always supplied the desired changes to the event, no matter how large or small.

4. The in-house AV company will know the venue better than anyone else.

This is where a fresh perspective becomes your advantage. Imagine designing the same set-up for the same room for the same audience day after day. Understandingly enough, the design might become slightly predictable. Pulse Staging professionals appreciate that meeting attendees need stimulation to stay focused; and their AV design reflects this.

5. The quality of service I receive will be the same as the hotel’s, and I know I will receive the same service no matter what city or state I am in.

Almost all “in-house” Audio Visual companies are actually independent agencies—not employees—of the hotel. While they might adhere to their own standard of service, there is no guarantee they match that of the hotel. Furthermore, the team of AV specialists you depend on will change with each location. Your dedicated Pulse team travels with you, no matter the distance. This means we will be able to anticipate that your CEO usually wears a silk shirt – and accordingly provide her with her own preferred microphone.

Besides these myths, there is the general concern of whether or not your Project Manager (not a sales representative, but an on-the-ground Project Manager) will be dedicated to your event. Will they be distracted with another, larger show at the same time? Will they be available by phone at 2am when you realize you need to make changes before 6am? And what about after the event? Will they travel to your debriefing to give you performance reports and insightful suggestions on how to improve the next event?

These are all serious and vital aspects of AV that any Meetings Professional must be attuned to. In times of minimal budgets requiring maximum impact, turning to a professional AV consultant could perhaps be the elusive piece to your almost-complete ROI puzzle.

Promotional Video Creation for The Dow Hotel Company


The Dow Hotel Company, a leading hotel investment and management firm, was hired to manage a major hotel property in San Francisco, Calif. Dow was planning renovations and a name change for the site in the coming year, however, it needed to sell the hotel rooms. Without having a fixed idea of the hotel’s new identity, Dow asked Grass Shack to develop a promotional tool to attract prospective guests and event planners and convince them that the hotel was a great place to stay.

Grass Shack Solution

Grass Shack suggested that the promotional tool focus on the neighborhood surrounding the property and on the rich history of the hotel site. We developed a sales and marketing DVD showcasing the hotel’s environs and giving guests highlights of places to visit in San Francisco. Grass Shack’s services included developing a script, casting voice-over talent, developing a logo for the hotel, shooting footage and editing a quality DVD.


Dow was delighted with the DVD and will use it as a key marketing tool to increase business and help guests discover San Francisco. “We were impressed with Grass Shack’s imaginative approach to our challenge and with the high caliber promotional tool that they produced for the hotel,” Says David Garon, General Manager, Dow Hotel Company

About Grass Shack

Grass Shack Events & Media has offices located in San Francisco Bay Area, Hawaii and New York. Grass Shack works with a broad network of specialists across the country to provide the best possible resources and ensure optimum staffing for every project. For more information call 510.595.6921.


Tell me a Story

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Came across this video and thought it was a wonderful explanation of what the rescue team does and a fantastic marketing piece. I think more companies should move to videos and real stories. Everyone loves a great story. How can you use story to explain your message?

 Tell me a Story

The easiest and cheapest way to capture event video

flipblog The easiest and cheapest way to capture event video

This little video camera player, Flip Video Mino is a great way to document, get event attendee reactions, and testimonials. You will be amazed by how easy this camera can be used. The top of the camera has a USB connector that just pops out and you can plug it straight into your camera. The software that comes with the camera gives you simple “Tom Hillmer proof” ways of capturing pictures from your videos and making simple movies with or without music. Check out Check out

Where would you use this Smart Surface Table?

I was forwarded this video about Microsofts tabletop technology by Rob Balmer of the Doubletree Hotel San Jose and I wondered how you might use it at an event. Of course the video shows the different ways business could use it but what about something interactive for an event. They say it will eventually have smart surfaces everywhere which really bends the imagination. Think about walls, tables and counters. I wonder what the rental prices will be for these tables?

One thing is for sure the future looks like fun.

How would you use it?

Also if you want more information of this technology do a quick search on

 Where would you use this Smart Surface Table?

Hosting a Pangea Day Event

On May 10 we are hosting a Pangea Day event at our home. If youa re in the area give me a buzz and come over.

You maybe asking what the heck is Pangea Day? Well, read on:

On May 10, 2008 – Pangea Day – people all over the world will come together to share a common experience: watching films made by the world for the world. We like to call it the first global campfire.
Pangea Day is a 4-hour live broadcast featuring powerful films, visionary speakers, and inspiring music that will reach millions through the Internet, television, digital cinemas, and mobile phones.
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Jehane Noujaim created Pangea Day after winning the prestigious TED Prize, which grants winners “one wish to change the world.”
Jehane’s wish: “To bring the world together through the power of film. The first step toward world peace is to meet the other.”

Pangea is the name of the landmass that existed 250 million years ago before it split into separate continents. It’s a reminder that what now appears divided was once whole.
The power of Pangea Day lies in the thousands of self-organized events, hosted by people just like you! To see the growing list of Friends of Pangea Day events, visit and click on “host an event”.

Meetings Podcast 3

The Meeting Planners podcast source for what’s new and exciting in meetings and events industry

Walmart Video discussion.
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Pangea Day videos

They are tapping film to make the world a better place. Of course it takes more than a movie festival but its a good start.

This is amazing stuff. I hope the New Media folks at KIVA and I can put something together for this.

Take a look at some of the sample videos. Powerful stuff.

Vista fun.

windows+vista Vista fun.

I just watched a micro site from Microsoft. It was a campaign for Microsoft Vista. It is very Napoleon Dynamite old Woody Allenesqe. I enjoyed the writing, the flash and video work. I wonder how this did for marketing the new Vista. Did it start a conversation? It seems I missed the whole conversation on this till now. Seems to have taken place the last few months. I must be out of the loop. What else is new. They also produced a tour where you could meet the star Demetri. I applaud them for trying something new. What do you think?
(I watched only two of the videos so far)