The Client: The Food Innovation Center is a unique business incubation and economic development accelerator program, which is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The Center provides business and technology expertise to startup and established food and value-added agriculture businesses in New Jersey and the surrounding region, and they utilize their outreach capacity to reach the food industry throughout the world.
The Project: With a restricted budget, the FIC wanted to promote their core services and their Farm-to-School program which is a statewide nonprofit that works with schools, students, parents, state agencies, other nonprofits, farmers, produce distributors and communities to change the food system choices in New Jersey schools through school garden education promotion and local purchasing. The first shoot was scheduled for early September and a deadline of October 29th, 2014 was set for a key presentation to celebrate their agricultural sector award at the Annual Bridgeton Area Chamber of Commerce Salute to Business and Industry Awards ceremony.
The Approach: The SMS Media Center understood that much of the footage would be collected from the center’s location in Bridgeton, NJ, as well as cooperating farms and processing plants within the region. However, due to a decision to break the project into two distinct videos, it was important to capture images at all locations that could serve both. The script would follow once all shoots were completed in order to best match what would be shown, and specific interviews would be used as both on-camera content and resources for the outline. From a production standpoint, single camera shoots were selected for all locations due to the ease and speed of single setups. Since the majority of footage would be captured in live process of the selected activities covered, careful attention would be required to stay invisible and get the shots “first time”. Natural light was to be the main source of illumination at all locations, with soft boxes used mainly for lighting interview subjects. All footage would be shot in HDV with lavalier mics for audio recording.
The Result: Through the careful coordination of several shoots lasting only a few hours each, enough footage was collected to write the script for both videos and begin editing. The efficiency of the shoot schedule left room in the budget for several stock footage clips that added dramatic production value and both videos were completed on time and extremely well received.
Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC)
New Jersey born Melissa is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and her digital media degree perfectly meshes her love of Internet technology and the arts. She’s also passionate about photography and enjoys listening to underground hip-hop music. Melissa was told about SMS by a friend and she found the company’s high-tech industrial clientele and small, close-knit structure to be both a welcome challenge and professionally comfortable. She says, “The variety of clients always keeps things interesting. I would have never expected to be managing websites for producers of glass components or tilt sensors.”
Next door in the art department, Massachusetts native and kayaking enthusiast Caitlin combines her accomplished collegiate lacrosse and catalog design backgrounds to keep SMS work competitive and creative. She, too, likes the family-style structure of the agency. Having joined only three months ago she says, “I already feel at home. Cheryl is my work mom, Anita and Angie my work sisters, and Dave that weird neighbor boy who seems to never go home,” adding, “Dave is a great teacher…this has been such an awesome place to learn everything.”
Everyone at SMS is excited to have both Melissa and Caitlin on board.
Yellow Horse Productions & Publishing, the in-house entertainment company headed by SMS writer/producer Scott Norton, has soft-launched a psychological thriller web series on the video-sharing website Vimeo titled “Every. Drop. Counts.”
Shot in live public settings at various horror and special interest conventions at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ, as well as popular Cape May Point, NJ tourist attraction Sunset Beach, the series (previously edited into a feature film titled HorrorCon) tells the story of a young memorabilia vendor who meets a celebrity author at a horror convention. Both are suffering the lingering effects of tragic loss, and come together to heal in an eerie, supernatural pact of sorts.
Norton, who wrote and directed the project, has been using a little well-earned marketing nous to find the right audience. “The story itself is very unique…aimed at genre audiences but delivering something new at every turn, so we fall somewhere between a lot of the festivals out there, which makes reaching an audience tricky. But the story of how it was made is also unique in that we used public settings to give it a big budget look. It required a lot of reassuring emails to gain the trust of the hotel and everyone involved, as well as a lot of guts from the cast and crew. Our hope is that information regarding the process garners some additional attention from various media outlets who will then spread the word about the series, our company, and what we’re doing here at SMS studios. We want to grow into the indie entertainment market, and the huge amount of experience gained by such an ambitious venture has given us the critical tools needed to address many different projects across multiple mediums.”
The series has reached the 11th of a traditional 13 episodes, with the finale airing on Halloween. “We hope it’s a nice bit of synergy,” says Norton. “The series has plenty of spooky elements, and also some bizarre yet believable twists. It’s more of a mystery wrapped inside a story of two people trying to reconcile their tragic pasts in this chilling and provocative world. At the same time, we wanted to place the horror of fantasy next to that of real-life to see how they compared in terms of audience expectation. We wanted horror and thriller fans to question their obsessions but in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. We’re hoping we pulled it off.”
If all goes well and a large enough audience wants to see more, Norton says he’ll look into a second season. “The series ends with a new start for some of our characters, but one that comes with a lot of potentially horrific complications. In many ways, we’re just getting started, and there’s so much more to tell on both sides of the camera. We’ll sit down when the release is finished and go over our numbers and coverage. So far we’ve got a couple of great articles and the channel has been pretty busy. Ideally, we’ll get to continue the story and learn more about the process of digital entertainment production and Internet marketing. That way we can not only keep going and try new things, but also share our story with others and help them achieve similar or better results.”
To watch and/or learn more about the project, refer to the links below.
Vimeo Channel: https://vimeo.com/channels/810588
We’ve all been there, and it’s terrifying: you arrive at work, place your coffee on your desk, make the computer chime, watch the screen glow to life, open your email…and notice your server is down. The morning that was supposed to be about answering important inquiries from valued clients has suddenly become one of frantic phone calls and unsatisfying answers.
SMS hosts a number of company websites and we take great care in protecting their up time. Unfortunately, circumstances aren’t always in our hands. Still we want to make those phone calls far more pleasant. We want to give you the only answer you want to hear: “We’ll have you back up before you know it.”
The SMS “Back-Up” Plan is simple: for no extra charge we’re adding precious value to our hosting services in the form of a second, separate back-up server. That’s an extra 100% assurance that your business communications will suffer only the barest minimum of interruption due to unforeseen server stoppages. That means a hot coffee that won’t go cold while you’re on the line.
The SMS “Back Up” Plan gets you back up before you know it. We work hard to keep our hosting costs reasonable, and this no-charge back-up is just another way to add more value to our service.
It’s hard to believe it’s now October – where do the days go? Obviously, we can’t do anything about time flying with regard to our lives but that is not always true in choosing how we market our products and services.
As you know, the internet has brought new opportunities and capabilities for marketing and selling into a variety of markets, both domestic and international. But we should not forget about or discount a very reasonably priced marketing tool that may seem old, but is still effective in print and online for marketing old as well as new products – the PRESS RELEASE.
Press releases are still highly effective tools that can breath new life into older products as well as introduce new products to emerging or established markets. They are the ideal vehicle for getting information on your established products to prospects that are new to the market.
What you might not know is that if a product has not been the subject of a press release for a period of 6 months, most magazines consider it to be newsworthy and it qualifies to again be sent out as a New Product Release. That makes the release a low-cost tool to spotlight important, mature products that have the potential to be purchased on an ongoing basis. New people move into your markets all the time, and they need to be made aware of both NEW and OLDER established products that can significantly impact your bottom line.
What you also might not know is that once the release is picked up in print or, in the case of an online publication only, it remains in the publication’s online Products and Services area with a 4/C photo for up to a full year or longer at no additional cost to you – making the release work even harder for your initial outlay.
If you feel re-releasing older money making products is equally as important as to trying to find and establish markets for newly released products, please drop me a quick note and I will be in touch to discuss which products you would like me provide a copy draft for and we’ll get going!
– Rod Fisher
From time to time we’ll share our experienced perspective on how to get the most out of your marketing efforts in the most cost-efficient manner possible. We’ll highlight trends, and revisit ideas that work. We’ll also be looking to hear from you, so we encourage our readers to comment as often as they like. As always, it’s by combining our years of experience and accumulated knowledge that we can best achieve our common goals.
Scientific Marketing Services has been serving the hi-tech, industrial and manufacturing markets for thirty-five years, and thanks to continuing advancements in technology in both the markets we serve and the manner in which we communicate their achievements, it feels like we’re only getting started.
Short web videos are inexpensive marketing tools that attract and keep more visitors, and are often used to quickly illustrate and/or demonstrate special features and benefits of a product or products. Produced with live footage, existing still imagery, clever graphics, 3-D animation – alone or in combination – they get your website moving and offer an important up-grade to your corporate image.
One of the SMS SmartTools focusing on this area are the SMS VidiShorts™. They’ve been reported to offer key benefits such as increased conversion rates (50-75%), more views (75-100%), higher click-through rates (by 30%), and significant boosts in search engine rankings. Used in conjunction with a well-built social media network, they can also increase views and shares while collecting valuable feedback.
In short, VidiShorts™ are highly affordable website traffic builders. The below example is one of the videos produced for client Heyco Products, Inc. utilizing an animation of their company mascot “LT Heyco”.