About a month ago I got a call from Time.com. They were interested in using me and my boats in an ad for Lincoln. They had a very short turn around time and at first it looked like I was going to be away in Wales, but they had a little slippage in their schedule and they were able to fit me in when I got back.
So one morning 2 large black vans appeared in my driveway. It looked like I was being investigated by the Secret Service, but a video crew of seven poured out of the vans along with a pile of video equipment and they immediately got to work. They started with an interview which consisted of questions that they had sent ahead of their arrival. They had me repeat some answers and try other answers, pause for planes flying overhead and changes in lighting needs.
From there we went into the shop where I had set up some forms for my Petrel. I faked working on it a bit, shooting staples and planing bits. They had me walk in and out of the shop a few times, bore big holes in blocks of scrap wood and generally made it look like I was actually doing something. All I otherwise had in my shop was the Noank Pulling Boat that needed a bit of varnish and that was apparently not interesting enough.
I then walked around with a boat on my shoulder and eventually launched a Petrel. The local swan came over begging for food and made for some good clips. Aside from an almost lost GoPro, it all went very smoothly and quickly. At the end of the day, they packed all their gear back in the vans and headed back to New York City.
I was curious to see how all these disparate bits would be pulled together into some sort of coherent narrative. It took a few weeks to come out but they did a pretty good job of representing me and what I'm trying to do, with the occasional embelleshment here and there. The result of seven crew members plus me working all day is three minute of video
While it is a great way for me to get more exposure than my limited marketing budget could manage, I am still trying to figure out how this will sell and cars. It seems to be a trend in advertising to create "documentaries" that aren't really relevant to the product being sold but attempt to align the product with a life style, image, character or value. I suppose the modern day Mad Men have decided that this association will result in some sort of beneficial feeling about their product and eventually sell stuff.
I guess this is what you forced to try when you selling something that isn't all that different from other products in the market place. You some how have to generate the perception of a difference for customers to latch on to. I guess I am lucky in that there aren't that many people making wooden kayaks, so my boats serve as a touch stone to create this association.
I prefer just making nice kayaks, putting them out there and hoping people like them. I guess this is why I'm not making the big bucks as an advertising executive. It was a fun experience doing the video and only cost me a day of my time, so I guess I don't need to figure out if it will sell cars.