Often the unique challenges involved in bringing together all of the elements of a video project can seem overwhelming. With experience and the right tools, a good video producer knows that the best solutions to the challenges of logistics, budget and deadline can also provide the best inspiration for the creative look and feel of a video presentation. This has never been more true than with our promotional video work for the Chicago American Marketing Association’s (AMA) annual one-day “Brandsmart” events.

“I’m Going to Brandsmart”

For all of the promotional videos we’ve done for Brandsmart, the goal has been to create a series of short testimonial spotlights that include a wide variety of past attendees and influential CMO’s, as well as the industry luminaries that will be speaking at the event, explaining why Brandsmart is THE event to attend if you are a marketer in Chicago (because, it really is).

Our target list of potential interviewees are from all over map – industry-wise, and physically. So, the the biggest challenge for producing the series is coordinating all of our busy subjects into separate interviews in a timely and economical manner, scheduled into a tight window optimized to have strongest impact on attendee registration. For the 3 series we’ve done, we solved the problem in 3 very different ways and each solution informed very different creative approaches for the finished product.

For Brandsmart 2010, we realized that most of the people on our interview target-list would be coming together for a separate AMA gathering a few weeks before the Brandsmart event. We made arrangements to pull each one aside during that preceding event to discuss on video about why Brandsmart was important to them professionally. As luck would have it, the only space available adjacent to the gathering was very small, and not really attractive enough to offer a suitable background for our subjects. A white psyche backdrop, a fast paced interview style, and close, intimate photography, answered all of these challenges and created very effective series.


Here’s the rest of the series, including an and amusing spoof of the concept preformed by Megan Gaus who proved to be a very knowledgeable professional, and very funny too.

More recently we produced two short video promotional series for Brandsmart 2012. We wanted to spotlight some top executives that had previous organizational involvement with the event. For these we were able to coordinate a more traditional and sophisticated one-on-one conversations with AMA committee members using part of the Chicago skyline as our backdrop.

Ted Souder, Google:

“Ted Souder: Google”

The second series we did for 2012 required interviews of Brandsmart key-note speakers to tease their topics and give an impression of their unique outlook on the industry. The AMA invites speakers from all over the country, but flying out or hiring local production crews for each 2 minute piece just wasn’t in the budget. To save time and money in the face of a looming deadline, we suggested that we interview the speakers via video conference over the internet. We experimented with several on-line services and found Skype to be the most accessible for our needs. This approach allowed an extremely flexible interview schedule, and was conducted without the expense of fully-crewed video shoot.

Because of the limitations of streaming live video over the internet, video quality was pretty compromised in the raw interview footage compared to what we have gotten from a traditional shoot. After getting the messaging just right, we needed to “dress it up” a bit so we tracked the footage into a 3d-modeled desktop computer (strategically including the Brandsmart 2012 branding as a backdrop). As a result, we had leverage the “streaming quality” of the footage to imply the immediacy and power of social media in today’s marketing space. We turned the unique challenges of the interviews into an even stronger statement about it’s subject.

Marc Klein: Clean Energy Fuels & Vehicle Production Group

Click here to see the entire series.

You can learn more about the Chicago American Marketing Association by visiting: http://www.chicagoama.org/