Mekanism recently worked with the Sierra Club to create a campaign exposing the dangerous and deadly effects of coal through a series of hilarious viral videos. In the videos, clips of iconic television personalities in shows from the 80’s are recycled and dubbed over by a mischievous executive, The Coal Baron (played by John Ennis of Mr. Show) to derail any bad press about coal.
Mekanism Art Director Greg Dalbey reflects on his work as a first-time Copywriter:
Hi, Greg. These videos are insane and are made even crazier by the voice-overs. When you were writing the scripts, how did the existing footage influence you?
The footage usually dictated the plot of the story. We chopped the footage up into what seemed like a cohesive edit and then wrote based on what it looked like they said. There was a lot of time spent staring at actors’ and actresses’ mouths with no sound.
Tell us a little about how you recorded the original scratch tracks.
It was me in a super hot sound booth screaming into my SM57 (that’s a microphone). I did all of the original tracks and created the characters on the fly. It was a really funny process, because it was me flying off the handle in the middle of a serious advertising workspace.
Tell us a little about your experience on the set.
The set was awesome. It’s always amazing to see something come to life after months of concepting. John Ennis was super into the idea and helped us form some of the scripts during the shoot. He really owned the character of The Coal Baron. It was also awesome to work with a director like Tommy (Mekanism founder, Tommy Means). He knew exactly what he wanted out of every scene but also understood the importance of improvisation.
What was your goal for the Sierra Club videos?
We saw an opportunity to create a video series that appealed to a younger audience and a wider demographic, rather than just the hardcore environmentalists it seems like the organization usually targets.
Any lessons or ways this experience might affect future projects?
Yeah, I think when I approach the next project I’ll do so with a lot more patience. I had no idea what I was getting into and how in-depth and crazy the process of creating content can be. It’s kind of like running a marathon and if you aren’t ready to do it… well, it can be painful. I have a supreme amount of respect for people who do this all of the time. It’s not an easy job to make people laugh!
Watch out! There’s a new jerk in town, and his name is The Coal Baron.
Check him out here.