In my view, graphic design and photography are two sides of the same coin. Herewith are some examples of design work I did as Creative Director of Hooked on the Outdoors magazine and Adventure Advertising/OutdoorFlics. For more, see my Jewelry For Men post.
Meadow Garden is a museum home in Augusta, Georgia, famous for being the home of George Walton, one of three Georgia signers of the Declaration of Independence.
In 2019 a 10-year preservation-restoration project was undertaken to return the home to a more-historically-accurate state. A capital campaign is planned for 2022, and in order to raise the property’s profile, we’ve created a marketing plan consisting of targeted weekly Facebook posts, featuring interesting stories and historic tidbits. We’ve also created a new ID and are updating their website, adding video and tidying up. The promotion will run until Christmas of 2021.
Interviews with key executives, team members or customers are extremely effective in telling your story. Above you’ll see my recently-updated interview reel that includes excerpts from documentaries (finished and in-progress), commercial clients, and work done for non-profits. I hope you enjoy it!
While it’s effective, sometimes the experience of giving the interview on camera, is intimidating. It’s our job to make folks comfortable on-camera, and that includes not cluttering up your office or location or reminding everyone that our time is expensive. That’s why we typically run a small crew for interviews, which helps the subject relax, as there’s not a lot of commotion and it doesn’t break the bank.
Talk may be cheap, as the saying goes—action is what counts. But talk can be more valuable than anything else, if you can communicate earnestly what your message is.
Instead of sending out cards and baskets every December (well, we sent some anyway), we at OF decided to create short films that celebrate the spirt of the holiday season, and send them to our friends and clients.
For 2018, we made Never Too Old For Santa, the story of a 29-year-old that still believes in the jolly old elf. She experiences a Dickensian series of events that help her to an understanding of her place in the world.
I wrote and directed NTOFS, and we used local actors for all of the roles. Josh Depaz composed a beautiful soundtrack. In the spring of 2019 we submitted it to the Southern Shorts Film Festival, where it was screened and won several awards, and scored in the top three in the Made in Georgia category. It was a lot of fun to make.
Okay, so maybe this should be on Hafodgau.com (our film site) instead of bhyer.com, but I think it’s important to showcase it here. In 2018, after showing my film End of the World Rocks at the West Virginia Filmmakers Festival, Renée Campbell, the festival organizer, mentioned that 2019 would be their 20th anniversary. My wife Cathy suggested that we shoot a documentary about it. Usually it’s me volunteering us for projects like this, but this time she did it. And so it began.
I saw this as a story that had legs, but wasn’t totally sure what direction it would go (as with most documentaries). We began by interviewing all the filmmakers we could find who had been named Filmmaker of the Year by the WVFF and went from there, and a common theme emerged.
Besides the fact that we met some really talented and interesting people, we learned that the difficulties faced by filmmakers in the state are daunting. But they persevere. There are so many tales to tell—as Chip Hitchcock put it, “You can’t swing a dead cat without finding a great story to tell.”
So Mountains + Movies was born. So far it’s been picked up by five festivals (waiting on decisions from several more); it’s a tough year for festivals.
We had been producing content for Exmark for several years, and they always liked the productions—they held audiences and provided relevant information for the target market.
For 2020, we went all-in on original content for Exmark’s Backyard Life mini-site (backyard.exmark.com), and the content became more varied, including everything from done-in-a-weekend how-to videos, to a cooking show (Prime Cuts), a travelogue of beautiful properties (Dream Yards) and even a reality show (Country Livin’ With The Morgans).
Additional videos from influencers have made the site a central hub for Exmark’s audience of rural- and outdoor-lifestyle customers.
In 2013, Lowrance asked us to produce a brand video for them. There were a lot of caveats: It needed to speak to Lowrance’s worldwide presence, the budget was very tight, and the top brass of the parent company (Navico) were watching closely as they needed a way to get the Lowrance story told in an effective, powerful way.
With the budget being so tight, we limited the live-action video to three interviews (and some stock) that our very small crew could capture in a short road trip to Florida. We started with bass pro Mike Iaconelli in Kissimmee, where he was for a tournament, then swung down to Islamorada to catch TV host and guide Rich Tudor, then back up to Titusville, where we interviewed the company’s founder, Darrell Lowrance.
It was especially rewarding to interview Lowrance. As we talked, it became evident that his interest in promoting his product, the electronic fishfinder, was to promote people fishing together. Going out on a fishing trip with your dad or friends is one of the best ways to reinforce relationships and create long-lasting memories—especially if you catch fish. We talked through several ending lines before settling on the right one. He looked straight into the camera, with his friendly eyes and said with all sincerity: “Technology makes fishing better, thanks to Lowrance. And traditions will continue, thanks to you and me.”
Post-production was equally gratifying. Still photos from photographers around the world were combined with ours, then creatively rotoscoped at Crawford Post, who also created the striking and beautiful sound design, as well as the voiceover. Quotes from Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea were added (ask me about the licensing on that!). In the end, it was a terrific and satisfying production from every perspective.
On our next trip to Navico headquarters in Tulsa, everyone told us how much they liked it. But the real validation came when Leif Ottosson, the CEO, sought me out to tell me what a great video it was. Darrel Lowrance, who passed away in 2019, talked about how fishing creates long-lasting memories; creating this video made many for me as well.
Here’s the long-form brand story video we did in 2016 for Exmark. The entire project included not just this video, but four other USP (unique selling proposition) videos, focusing on attributes such as comfort, durability, innovation and service. Exmark was eager to tell their story to a larger market (beyond commercial operators) and were building new models at more-attractive price points.
For each of the videos we produced a long-form and 30-second spot (and more recently have been updated with 15- and 6-second social media versions). We also created taggable 30s for dealers to use in local ad campaigns. The campaign was rolled out digitally, and the response really opened our eyes. We expected great things, and we were not disappointed.
My favorite thing about this production was seeing the emotional reactions from Exmark employees—we heard from everyone from boardroom execs to the rank-and-file, expressing how powerful the videos were, telling their stories in a way that was authentic, respectful and beautiful.
Actually, this post is about making commercial-grade zero-turn lawnmowers’ tires sexy. Exmark had spent years developing a tubeless tire system and continued their work while competitors and aftermarket brands were releasing theirs. As the market leader, and with a reputation for durable, innovative products, they waited until the Tractus tubeless tires were good enough for the Exmark name.
Thus, our challenge was to create a package of video-based deliverables, for distribution on all of Exmark’s platforms: Their own website, their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds, their dealers’ own marketing programs and the feeds of their influencers. And it all needed to be done as quickly as possible. Two shoots (one in Florida) and all the post-production later, we delivered a long-form video (see above), two 30-second spots, and multiple 15- and 6-second iterations for social media posts. The first video was completed and delivered within 30 days.
Adventure Advertising came into being in large part when we landed Shimano’s Fishing Division as our client, in 2004. They weren’t happy with the big-city agencies, who knew very little about fishing, and they knew that we had an outdoor pedigree thanks to Hooked on the Outdoors Magazine, which we created and published.
The question was, what we would do differently with their creative? Shimano reels are beautiful, sculpted pieces, yet no one had highlighted this seemingly obvious trait. Their reputation for quality was well-known, so how do you ignite a visceral, “I gotta have one” feeling in your customer?
And so our relationship with Shimano was born, with the “Jewelry For Men” approach in their ads and catalogs. The reels (and rods too) were featured in dramatically lit settings, as if displayed on black felt in a jewelry store.
Eventually the competition began mirroring our look, and we pivoted to a new, yet analogous tactic. While maintaining the focus on the visceral qualities of fishing (while using Shimano products), we shifted to images and headlines emphasizing the experience, and the technical advantages of the product