Winnipeg corporate video production studio Tripwire Media Group won four international awards, including the top award for best online promotional campaign for a series of comedic television ads for Dufresne Furniture and Appliances.
The four Dufresne spots were targeted at millennials and first-time buyers of new furniture playing off the concept of a young couple who are "suffering from adulting" and spoofing off pharmaceutical commercials with various tag lines saying the side effects of buying new furniture include "swelling with pride," "increased napping" and "dreamier dreams."
The 42nd annual Telly Awards honours video and television across all screens receiving more than 12,000 entries from around the world each year, with judging input from big-name industry players including Netflix, Dow Jones, Hearst Media, Nickelodeon and ESPN Films.
Doug Darling, Tripwire’s CEO and executive creative director, said while they don’t produce the work they do in order to win awards, this one is "a super big deal."
"I’ve known about the Tellys for years but in previous years I wouldn’t even have thought to submit because I have seen the names of those who’ve won and I didn’t think we could compete," he said.
With a staff of 16, Tripwire does all sort of video and animation work with about 20 per cent of their work outside the province and about five per cent internationally.
"I’m hoping to leverage this recognition and use it is get a foot in the door to add some credibility to who we are (especially outside the regional market) when we are otherwise just a little hard-working video production company in the middle of Canada," he said.
The spots feature a young couple who are practising adulting "almost every day" and finding out the pleasures of new furniture and appliances. The spots end with a voice-over similar to those which are deployed in U.S. pharmaceutical ads. But instead of migraines and stomach aches, the potential side effects are more desirable.
Kelly Saunderson, senior marketing manager at Dufresne, said the spots, which aired on CTV stations in Winnipeg and Ottawa last year, generated an unprecedented level of feedback.
"We have built a very loyal customer base and with these spots we wanted to welcome a younger demographic, the next generation of furniture shoppers," she said. "What better way to do it than with a kitschy, cheeky commercial."
She said they generated a high volume of anecdotal feedback with customers commenting to employees in the stores and on customer service lines.
"We never get that kind of volume of feedback," she said. "Not everyone loved them, but hey, they remembered them."
And she said the ones who didn’t love the ads were typically not part of the demographic they were targeted at.
Although she said the return on investment was not so easy to quantify, what with a lengthier sales cycle for furniture, she said every time they aired there was a spike in traffic on the website and in the stores.
There are always some who dismiss the value of these kinds of awards that charge a fee to submit making some believe it’s not all about the quality of the work, but Darling said, "Regardless of what people think about the Tellys, there are so many submissions that getting a gold is a pretty good feather in our cap."
Tripwire also won two silver and one bronze award for some internal promotion videos on Tripwire’s animation process.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.