Video Production

Work: Sugarfire Smoke House Video Production

CAUTION: just a bit of foul language in the video

Late last year, Mike Johnson, owner of St. Louis BBQ joint Sugarfire Smoke House, received an email that made him jump out of his chair. The producers of the TV series BBQ Pitmasters invited Sugarfire to apply to appear on the show. All the producers needed was a 3-5 minute audition video that explained, with as much in-your-face attitude as possible, why Sugarfire deserved to be on the show.

Mike texted me, asking if I had any good ideas. I said, “Not off the top of my head, but let me put a creative and a film crew on this.” He agreed the opportunity was important enough to bring in outside help on, and we got to work.

Chris Reimer, our VP of Social Media (me), contacted Bill Streeter of Hydraulic Pictures. A documentary filmmaker with some amazing work under his belt, Bill would prove to be the perfect choice to concept and shoot this project.

Falk Harrison video production

Bill shot raw footage on location of Mike and his pitmaster, Casey Jovick, with help from Chris and Bill’s business partner, Gretta Forrester. Mike and Casey are, believe it or not, pretty humble guys, which presented a small problem. They’re masters at their craft, having trained with some of the best chefs in the world. However, like most of us, they’re a bit shy around a camera. Per the show’s instructions, this audition video needed to be loud and boastful. As conflict makes the reality TV world go ’round, the producers had to ensure that Mike and Casey could hold their own. So they had to be quite a bit louder and more boastful than normal. After a slow start, Bill kept shooting and providing advice as Chris and Gretta jumped up and down in the background, imploring Mike and Casey to get crazy. Eventually, they got warmed up and began explaining their smoking process, talking trash about Memphis BBQ, and basically claiming the $50,000 prize before even appearing on the show.

Bill got what he needed, chose a great musical track, and added a nice little message to Memphis at the end. With a final video in hand, Mike submitted his application to BBQ Pitmasters. Within a week, he had received the good news: they were going to Tampa at the end of January to be on the show. Tune in to Destination America on April 26th for the Season 6 premiere!

What’s the ROI of this expenditure? Prospective clients ask us this all the time. In this case, it would be a tough calculation. Mike didn’t ask that question; he just knew that appearing on television would be a huge break for them. Since opening Sugarfire in 2012, Mike has generated amazing publicity via sandwich giveaways during the government shutdown, winning awards like Best New Restaurant in St. Louis and Best BBQ in St. Louis, making a Sweet Baby Cheezus sandwich for famed NYC PR man Peter Shankman, and the list goes on. Mike knows that such publicity adds up over time. Mike and his team are very thankful and honored to be mentioned among St. Louis’ best barbeque joints after less than a year and a half in operation, but they’re not resting on their laurels. They’ve built a social media machine (check out the post they did on Facebook, announcing their appearance on the show – over 500 likes). Mike uses this ever-growing marketing asset on a daily basis to drive traffic to the restaurant. They also employed Falk Harrison to build their website, which was a substantial investment for them.

Mike and his team are taking a long-term approach to social media and brand building, and the lines out the door are evidence that it’s paying off.

Falk Harrison has been helping organizations with marketing and communications since 1971. Believe it or not, we don’t specialize in making 3-minute reality TV show audition videos; we simply apply great thinking to whatever communication challenge stands before us. The storytelling mediums have changed over the years, and video is the latest (and one of the greatest) ways to communicate with your key stakeholders. To star in your own video production, customized for your organization’s specific needs, contact Jon Falk at (314) 531-1410.

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Work: Recruitment Website and Videos for Benjamin F. Edwards & Co

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. (BFEC) is growing by leaps and bounds, spreading new locations across the country. To both spur and continue this growth, the organization reached out to Falk Harrison to design and implement a messaging strategy.

The organization does benefit from investors placing their trust in and their assets with a Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. financial consultant (FC). However, after conducting research, we determined that accelerated growth would be realized if financial consultants working at other full-service broker-dealers decided to make the move to Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. The book of business they’d bring with them would be the new clients BFEC is seeking.

Falk Harrison built a microsite designed to highlight how easy it is for FCs to move to BFEC, what the core values of the organization would mean to them should they decide to make the move, and how great the move worked out for the FC and his or her clients.

Benjamin F Edwards & Co Website

Our assignment started with three recruitment videos, focusing on the three core values the organization relies on every day. The values are integrity, trust and mutual respect. A video was concepted for each core value, and shot on location in St. Louis and Chattanooga, TN.

Benjamin F Edwards website

We shot photography of six current FCs, and solicited testimonials from them. Future potential Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. employees now have a website they can peruse while trying to make a very important life decision for themselves and their clients. BFEC wants to make it easy on FCs to figure out if the firm is going to be a good fit for them, and they want to make it easy to join and work at the firm. Falk Harrison’s job was to make this abundantly clear on the website. The site is rich with information and presents the organization in a fun, yet professional light. And our client reports that it’s working, as they continue to expand across the country.

To get Falk Harrison thinking, designing and implementing solutions for you, contact Jon Falk at (314) 531-1410.

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How Important Are Blog Comments?

When measuring the success of your blogging effort, should you be concerned if your blog posts receive no comments? We’re told by experts that engagement is key – we need to have a community of blog readers commenting and interacting with each other and the company. But what if blog traffic comes in via search? Are they part of your community? And if they read your post but don’t comment on it, have you failed? With a hat tip to our corporate clients, watch the video for our take on the importance of blog comments, and let us know what you think in the comments. (an ironic request, isn’t it?)

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We Call It Home – Video Production for Mayor Francis Slay’s Reelection Campaign

Falk Harrison was contracted by the reelection campaign of Francis Slay, Mayor of St. Louis, to concept and shoot a one-minute television ad. Sometimes St. Louis gets an unfair rap, both locally and nationally. All cities have challenges before them, but the complaints St. Louis often hears don’t really register or resonate with St. Louisans who love their city. We’re a better city than we’re often given credit for, and the last 12 years have seen major progress come to Washington Avenue, Cherokee Street and elsewhere throughout the city.

The mayor’s team had two requests: set a tone for the campaign, and don’t create the same old political ad. This may seem atypical, but the mayor’s campaign hired Falk Harrison specifically because of our lack of experience in doing political TV ads. They said, “We’re talking to you because you’ve never done this before. Look at our challenge from a different angle.”

After considering their request, our chosen direction was “uplifting, with a tone and message similar to a PSA.” The goal was to have St. Louisans feel proud of their city, with the understanding that the mayor has done much to contribute to the city’s progress. After deciding on creative direction, we drafted four different ad concepts and presented them to the mayor’s team. The chosen concept, “We Call It Home,” featured four St. Louisans that are proud to call St. Louis home. After a week of shooting (including several bouts of inclement weather), we had the footage we needed. We identified and focused on four key concepts that deserved attention: the improving school system (especially the charter schools), our cultural attractions, small business, and cooperation between St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

We took the reelection team at their word and looked at the campaign and the city’s issues from a fresh perspective, resulting in an uplifting message that was unlike most political ads. Our challenge was to create an ad that would set the tone for the campaign, and the client reports that we hit the mark. Quoting them, “It was excellent work, and it both introduced and ended our primary campaign.” It was our first – and may be our last – political TV ad, but the work proves that strategic, thoughtful communication and design can be applied to almost any endeavor.

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Annnnnnnd ACTION!!

Canon 60D Camera

On a recent video shoot, I actually said “Annnnnnd ACTION” and it felt kind of strange … and cool, all at the same time. In the past few months here at Falk Harrison, we’ve been doing a great deal of video work and frankly, it’s fascinating. I finally understand what “motion pictures” means. I’m not suggesting we have any budding Scorseses over here, but in composing shots and picking locations, you really are taking pictures that move. It’s a new medium for us, a new process, but our clients are loving the results and we have other clients lining up for us to do similar work for them.

So whether you need training videos, product demonstrations or want to introduce yourself on a Social Media channel, YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES!

Some examples of our work:

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