Meet Donner. Since St. Nick traded in his sleigh for a Toyota Prius, Donner has put the pen to paper (or hoof to laptop) and is now a published author – almost. His first foray into the literary world is an exciting tell-all book entitled "Taking Flight – One Reindeer's Story", where he lays bare the exploits and foibles of each reindeer, the elves, and the Clauses themselves. Unfortunately, the book is currently caught up in legal battles due to an angry elf, and "elf lawyers can be very effective". But that hasn't stopped Donner from scheduling readings at various bookstores in Manhattan.
For almost 200 years, Blitzen was at the back of Santa's sleigh, delivering gifts to good little children everywhere. Then Santa bought a Toyota Prius, freeing his flying reindeer to pursue other interests. Today, Blitzen's up front, singing for his garage/glam/metal/punk band Blitzenkrieg, delivering the good gift of power chords.
Santa gets a Prius and Blitzen gets a band – looks like they've both gone electric.
To break the illusion just a bit... When we were creating the various reindeer characters, Blitzen is the one that spoke to me most. Being a musician myself, I borrowed a little from my musical past here and there. Blitzen needed a song to represent him so I dusted off an old track I recorded in 2007 – Blast Off For Kicksville – and rewrote the lyrics. When Blitzen (Ryan Shams) came in for his interview we had him lay down vocals to the newly titled song: Rein Supreme.
Here's the original Franklin Mint version – Blast Off For Kicksville
And here's the Blitzenkrieg version – Rein Supreme
We wanted to get some footage of Blitzenkrieg in concert so we planned to hijack the Saatchi & Saatchi holiday party for a staged performance – captive audience. All we needed was Blitzen's band. It was about a week from the party – short notice – so I called upon my friends Eric and Dave to play drums and bass, and I took the role of guitarist. I sent them an mp3 of the track to learn but being the holidays, there was no time to jam before the big show. I did however swing by Dave's apartment one night to work out the song's parts. The only time we did play the song as a band prior to the show was about 15 minutes before the party, during the sound check. It was a little rough but hey...it's punk rock.
If you'd like to see the whole performance of Blitzenkrieg playing Rein Supreme, check out the official website... blitzenkrieg.com
Meet Cupid. Since Santa traded in his sleigh for a Toyota Prius, Cupid's been pursuing his true passion...painting. His first collection, Impressions By Cupid, is a breathtaking series of conceptually layered pieces; combinations of social, political, cultural and animalistic statements. Some people say Cupid resembles comedian Paul Mecurio, but I don't see it.
The Greater New York Toyota Dealers are large sponsors of the New York Jets, so when the Jets made the playoffs we thought it would be a good opportunity for our "Life After Santa" reindeer to mix it up with some real New Yorkers – at the Jets Rally before the Jets vs. Patriots game. We chose Blitzen (who's now a musician) and Comet (who plans to run for MTA Chief) as our reindeer. The Jets were accommodating as long as we followed a couple of ground rules.
1.) Blitzen could not mention the name of his band: Blitzenkrieg. You know...because of the World War II association. Even though a very common football play, a "blitz", is directly taken from Blitzkrieg, the German strategy of "Lightning War".
2.) Comet couldn't mention anything about the MTA or that he was running for office of any kind. So he was pretty much stripped of his character and was back to just being one of Santa's reindeer.
It was a lot of fun running around the field of the New Meadowlands and perhaps some of the reindeer magic rubbed off, because the Jets beat the Patriots 28 to 21. Guess we should've shown up to the second rally, before the Steelers game.
Fun Fact: Comet is #5 and Blitzen is #8 because that's their positions in Santa's line-up on the sleigh (according to Twas the Night Before Christmas).
The advertising industry has changed drastically in the past few years. More and more people are turning to the internet for information and with the invention of the DVR, everyone is fast forwarding past our commercials...myself included. It's not that people are turned off by advertising per se, they're just turned off by bad intrusive advertising. Entertain them without hitting them over the head and they'll give you their time. Hopefully.
The new way to reach consumers is through what they're calling experiential advertising. It's a kind of guerrilla/non-traditional marketing that engages the viewer through live events and social media distribution through the internet and mobile platforms. Below is an introductory video for an experiential campaign, called Life After Santa, my team created for The Greater New York Toyota Dealers Association.
The premise is that last December Santa bought a Toyota Prius to replace his sleigh. For the reindeer, that meant it was time to move on. But it turns out that it was the best thing that ever happened to them. For the past 200 years they've been stuck with the Santa gig, out of loyalty and nostalgia. They all have dreams of their own that they've had to sacrifice. (Training for ChristmasEve is a full-time job all year long, in case you didn't realize.) Now that they're free, all the reindeer have moved to New York City to pursue their dreams.
The Greater New York Toyota Dealers gave us a modest budget to work with, most of which went to the talent (eight reindeer) and PR. So the production needed to be scaled down. Scaled down meaning I'm directing and editing the videos myself. Which is cool for me because I enjoy doing this kind of stuff. By the time we're finished all eight reindeer will have their own personal video, plus odds and ends here and there. This is our first foray into this type of advertising for our client, so if all goes well, hopefully they'll allow us to do more. So feel free to share all the videos.