Shakedowns, Proximity take rapid-fire approach to social outreach

August 12, 2013  |  Russ Martin  |  Comments

Bolthouse Farms has just wrapped a two week shoot during which the brand created more than 50 online videos. Conceived and shot by Proximity Canada, each video was created to be sent via social media to a specific consumer that had posted online about a food craving.

Based on the insight that Shakedowns – baby carrots that consumers season themselves by shaking the packaging – are a healthier alternative to snacks like chips, chicken wings and dressings, Proximity sought out influencers tweeting or posting on Facebook about food cravings and sent them a custom-made video.

On set on the final day of shooting, senior copywriter Ed Malyon was madly scribbling dialogue onto white posterboard, already writing for the next take as cameras rolled not 10 feet away. A floor below in the basement of Asylum Artists Studio in Toronto’s east end, a technician was working through post-production on yet another video, preparing it to be sent by FTP to the client in Los Angeles before getting copied onto a USB key and run upstairs to the social team, who would post it on YouTube.

By noon, the team had already shot five videos.

That morning was especially crunched because the basketball player Matt Bonner was on set and only available until noon. A former Toronto Raptor, Bonner was a last-minute get for Bolthouse Farms, which is testing Shakedowns in Texas where Bonner now plays for the San Antonio Spurs. Proximity secured a deal for him to appear in the videos after learning that Ryan Malcolm, the singer and Canadian Idol winner who appears in all the videos, was friends with the athlete.

Bonner’s final take – “Sharing is caring. I’m Matt Bonner and I approve my message.”

Breaking for lunch, executive creative director Jon Finkelstein explained that the socially driven concept forced his team to work at “warp speed” and improvise ideas based on the posts that the social team offered based on their online searching.

Because Shakedowns are a new product, Bolthouse Farms couldn’t offer rewards or content to consumers organically tweeting about them. Instead, Finkelstein said Proximity decided to flip the usual social model on its head.

“It’s the reverse of how a lot of brands have been tackling social,” Finkelstein said. “We surprise them and suddenly they’re delighted with a video response about how our production can satisfy their craving.”

The real-time approach required a lot of client approval, so a dedicated Bolthouse team was always available during shoot days to approve Proximity’s rapid-fire ideas. “It’s to their credit they decided to do something fun and different… There is a high degree of trust.”

The had some success hopping on trending topics, including a response from the “Shirtless, Mustachioed Man” who appeared in video playing hackysack that went viral. The man, whose video has over 300,000 views, responded to Shakedowns’ parody of his video by commenting on the YouTube link, “Best. Parody. EVAR!!11!!1!”

As for the brand’s own hit counts, the most popular of the videos (above) had more than 16,000 views at press time. Its numbers are sure to go up as the brand’s social buy – by MEC – on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter continues throughout the next two weeks.

Back on set, Bonner reconvened with the crew after the final take is approved. “I’ve never shot five commercials in two hours in my life,” he said. Finkelstein retorted with a hearty laugh.

“Neither have we.”

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