Creating a buzz: Yvon of the Yukon
Whether you are trying to sell a show in development or launching your first episode, creating excitement around the property is critical to its success. For one of the first series I produced, Yvon of the Yukon, we created a buzz by having a big launch party at the Banff World Media Festival. Broadcasters, distributors and other production companies from all over the world were invited to watch the first episode air live on YTV at a local rustic restaurant, Buffalo Bill's, which matched the theme of the series. It was a huge success that put us on everyone's radar. The show was funny and irreverent and became the talk of the market. Broadcasters wanted to see what else we had in our back pocket, distributors wanted the rights to our next show and other studios wanted to work with us. Not bad for a few thousand dollar marketing spend! I created this event, designed invitations, hired a PR firm to do press releases and create the buzz and even emceed the night. We had a trivia contest afterwards where we gave away show-themed merchandise, including Yvon of the Yukon's famed Y-front underwear.
Cross-platform innovation: Clancy with the Puck
A friend of mine gave me a short story he had written called Clancy with the Puck a few years back. It really deserved to be animated, but producing a short is expensive and the revenue stream is hard to identify. I came up with the idea of packaging a DVD with the kids’ book. I pitched the idea to Raincoast Books, publisher of the Harry Potter franchise in Canada, who agreed to coproduce, package and distribute the product in bookstores across Canada. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box!
Killer promos that deliver: Ricky Sprocket
Bejuba Entertainment came to me with a great series called Ricky Sprocket created by the talented Academy Award-winning team of David Fine and Allison Snowden. They had a Nickelodeon worldwide deal but still needed the Canadian broadcast relationship. Teletoon was interested, but we had to pitch the idea to the Teletoon creative and marketing teams. It was a very competitive market at the time, so we had to create a reel that would make our show stand out from the pack. We pooled our resources to create a killer promo, blew their socks off and secured the Canadian deal and hence a good 40% of the global budget. The promo was also used to sell the show internationally.