Matt2 creates “Endless Summer” for Lagoon & Coca-Cola

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Endless Summer”—  Part 1  by Matt Hodgson  Director / Writer

There’s always a lot of excitement around the launch of Lagoon Amusement Park’s yearly ad campaign and this season is no exception. In fact, as Lagoon begins to celebrate its 125th year in business and launch a new, one-of-a-kind surf-themed coaster named “BomBora,” the feeling around Lagoon, Matt2 & Vineyard Productions is down right heady.

We really dig this new campaign; we’re giddy about our creative approach and the team we assembled to bring it to life. Nothing was left to chance; everyone on our team really worked to finesse every detail from pre-production through post and you can see it in the final commercials. They’re nostalgic, they’re hip, they’re a lot of fun to watch and when they’re over you want more.

Pretty amazing when you consider that we brought the campaign to life in three short weeks, including idea development, pre-production and shooting in Utah and Southern California.

A Change of Direction

From early August 2010 to the second week of September we had been developing and prepping a completely different campaign for 2011 that was heavily steeped in visual effects. But when I received the news from Lagoon that they would be launching a new surf-themed coaster for 2011 and that they wanted it to be the focus of their campaign, I had to scrap everything and start over. With only three short weeks before the weather turned from a balmy Indian summer to chilly fall temperatures and rain possibly snow, we had to move fast.

I remember telling Lagoon’s Marketing team that I’d be back in three days with new fleshed out creative campaigns that we would need to decide on immediately, with Coca-Cola’s approval, or we would miss our shooting window. We were really in a tight spot. To make things more difficult, no one at Lagoon could show me what the new ride was going to look like, because it was still in development. I was charged with creating a campaign around a new, one-of-a-kind, surf-themed coaster that no one knew anything about.

The Ideas Flow

For a day and a half I immersed myself in everything “surf,” trying to get a handle on how to mesh the Lagoon experience with the surf vibe, and do it in a way that would result in compelling messaging for Lagoon while communicating the essence of this new, one-of-a-kind surf-themed coaster.  Amid a flurry of really cool ideas, I kept thinking that this campaign needed to focus on two things: 1) what affect would this cool new surf-themed coaster would have on this 125 year-old park, and 2) how would it make Lagoon attendees feel?  With those questions in mind it didn’t matter what the ride looked like… because it wasn’t really about the hardware at all. The new campaign had to connect the fun free-spirited vibe of surfing with the non-stop fun of the Lagoon experience, and it had to do it in an engagingly hip, memorable way—that’s when it hit me. I wanted to create a campaign of classic looking surf movie-like commercials that captured the nostalgia of classic surf films, that also had a cool stylized 2011 vibe—all choreographed to a tune that would convey the idea of sun-drenched days on the beach, surfing and riding roller coasters. A tall order to be sure, but we did it!

After sketching out some rough concept swatches I called Matthew Williams (Cinematographer) for his initial impressions and he was totally into it. Matt grew up in So-Cal surfing and making 8mm surf movies, so this was a concept that hit close to home and he saw the potential immediately. Cameron Gardner (Art Director) had the same enthusiasm for the concept and together we dove in to designing the look of our custom surfboards and concept frames. Then our amazing association with Vineyard Productions began as Jeff Miller (Executive Producer) and Brooke Redmon (Producer) bought into the creative whole-heartedly and began assembling what can only be described as an all-star production team.

The Perfect Solution

Three days later, as promised, I returned to Lagoon’s Marketing team with a super cool campaign direction, an ingenious way of executing it, and a perfect little tune by (the then little known group) the DRUMS, titled “Let’s Go Surfing” to tie it all together. Both Lagoon and Coca-Cola loved he idea and approved it on the spot. Our “Endless Summer” campaign direction was now a reality, and we had about two weeks to pull it off.

Over the next 10 days I will be posting the entire story behind the production of Lagoon’s 2011 “Endless Summer” campaign. It’s a story worth telling because it highlights the genius, talents and efforts of some amazingly talented filmmakers, artists and musicians who I feel privileged to have worked with.

Finally, all of this would mean nothing if it weren’t for the incredible team at Lagoon—Dave & Kristin Freed (Lagoon’s Owners), Terry Capener (Lagoon’s Vice President/General Manager), Dick Andrew (Lagoon’s Vice President/Director of Marketing & Group Sales) and Adam Leishman (Lagoon’s Advertising Coordinator/Go-To-Guy) are truly the genius behind the success of this campaign. Their vision, trust and willingness to empower me and my team to craft this campaign is a reflection of their passion for fun and an amazing business acumen that has guided Lagoon to the success it has enjoyed.

Thanks to all of you!

Tomorrow’s Post:             The All-Star Team Behind  Lagoon’s “Endless Summer” 

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