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Locally filmed commercial now showing

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By Geoff Hamill

A commercial filmed in Springfield last year has finally made its way into theaters and onto the Internet.

Bluegrass Cellular, a regional cell phone company, had a commercial filmed here in October promoting it as “Bluephoria.” Now, the commercial has been completed and is airing in area theaters.

The commercial was created by the Brandy Carroll Hellige Agency of Louisville. Gary Sloboda, creative director and agency partner, said the 30-second ad not only required the full day of filming in Springfield, but also countless hours of editing and other work to get it ready for the big screen.

“The whole idea for the spot came out of some research we had worked with Bluegrass on. The main thing that jumped out of that research was that of all the cell phone companies in their footprint, or their market, including the national companies, Bluegrass had by far the highest customer satisfaction ratings,” Sloboda said. “We found that their customers were happy about all aspects of the company.”

Finding a name for the campaign wasn’t easy, and the first choice was already taken. Sloboda said his agency wanted to play off the word eutopia, which is describes a place of complete contentment. The idea to call the campaign “Bluetopia” had to be scrapped when it was discovered that the phrase was already in use. From there, Sloboda said the next option was “Bluephoria,” and it stuck.

With the name in place, the campaign was off and running. Two Popes Production Company, operated by brothers Greg and Jerry Pope of Minnesota, was hired to film the commercial, and they spent an entire day in October collecting video of professional actors, as well as some local volunteers, to be featured in the commercial. Springfield was selected as the site of the commercial after a lot of searching.

“We found Springfield and thought it was an incredible little town. When I was there the first time, I thought it was perfect for what we needed,” Sloboda said. “We scouted for a couple of days to make sure we had all the locations we were looking for to execute all of the scenes in one place, and Springfield offered us that.”

After filming, the hard work really began, according to Sloboda, who said hundreds of hours of work went into finalizing the ad for public viewing. After editing, the footage shot in downtown Springfield made its way to an animation house, which added special effects. The trick with the animation house was to get it right the first time because a bid had already been placed for the project, and Sloboda said if things didn’t turn out the way his agency wanted, it would have required paying another fee to have the animation house redo its work on the project.

“It probably took us two or three weeks to get to that point, and then we handed it to the animation house. Doing a TV spot like this is a lot longer than normal. The animation probably added another month to the process,” he said.

With the finished product ready to be shown, the next step was to determine just where it should be seen. In marketing, Sloboda said the term “footprint” is used to define the area a retailer wants to reach, and the footprint for Bluegrass Cellular showed that the company needed to reach people in areas like Louisville or Lexington, as well as surrounding areas like Springfield.

“You make cable buys based on areas within their footprint, and you also look at theaters. We thought the commercial would be something very appropriate for the beginning of movies and very entertaining, and it was the perfect way to reach the target audience,” he said.

It’s not enough to just be on TV, or even at the movie theater. That’s why it also appears on the Internet. Sloboda said in this day, advertisers have to be everywhere the consumer is, and not just on TV or in print.

“You have to be everywhere, and that includes being online. What we did in the digital environment was create a little Bluephoria town and took elements, which you can see in the spot on the Web site,” he said.

Now that Bluephoria has a presence in theaters and the Internet, there’s no telling where you might see the ad appear next. To view it now, visit our Web site at www.thespringfieldsun.com and click on this story. The commercial will appear at the bottom of the story.