It’s midnight on January 13, 2016 in Ironwood, Michigan.
Average temperatures here can get down into the negative teens, though record books tell of a 1982 winter that battered the 5,180-person population with temperatures in the -40s.
This time of year, it’s a desolate and unforgiving place — far removed from creature comforts like small-plate dining and VIP IMAX screenings where they bring craft cocktails right to your plush, cozy recliner.
It’s cold and it’s dark and it’s not much else.
To Scott Rivera, Miles Cooksy, Jordan Hahn and Scott Leiphart, it’s paradise.
The day’s shooting has wrapped, and while grueling all-day shoots find most pros retreating to warm rooms or dimly lit hotel bars, these fellas haven’t had their fill just yet. They have an idea.
Though, not exactly a new one.
In 1937, marketing expert Elmer Wheeler said, “Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle!” For our four heroes, that translates to one thing: do you want to hear about the 1.25″ center pin on the HDV™ v-plow or do you want to see this thing kick ass and take names?
Scouting locations and staging dynamic angles, the crew gets to work filming footage that cuts to the chase of what it really means to plow. They use crank shots and slow-mo that grab hold like barbed wire. The maddening weight of the snow is physically felt in every push. The blade connects with the pavement and sings. The cold of the night permeates every visual they capture.
And even when they’re done, they’re nowhere near complete. Operating on pure passion, they edit, sun up to sun down, and then a little longer until they’ve created something unlike any video before it.
You won’t find any VOs here. No technical specs or callouts either. No animations. No slates or supers — hell, there isn’t even a script! Just a product, right at home in its environment, doing (and demonstrating) exactly what it was built for. Pure mechanical perfection at work, all set to an ominous, yet triumphant track.
Flash forward three months later, this project generated tremendous results. A :30 teaser posted on Facebook captured hundreds of thousands of impressions (285,387, to be exact), pushing record numbers of people to the SnowEx® website to see the full video at the cost-per-view of a penny.
But more than anything, it’s a magnificent representation of what can be achieved when you step outside the confines of marketing, jargon, mandatories and calls-to-action. Far too often we get so close to a project, we lose sight of what we’re truly trying to say or sell.
Sometimes you just need to let the cameras roll.
Because when you boil a brand down to its most pure, raw and concentrated form, and mix it with four passionate professionals, the result is an undeniable emotional connection.
That’s the sound of steak sizzlin’.