By GREG STILES
A soggy week in November hardly is the time you might expect to shoot video footage promoting tourism — especially a video built around cycling in Southern Oregon.
Yet the folks from Portland public relations firm Wieden+Kennedy found themselves right at home dodging raindrops in Southern Oregon this past week while filming material for an Oregon Tourism video.
“We haven’t got a lot of rain on film, I think we’ve just been lucky” said Mira Kaddoura, a Wieden+Kennedy art director. “If we had a choice, we would’ve shot a little earlier, but by the time everything was ready it was already November. If it rains, it rains.”
An eight-person crew and two cyclists spent the past week in the Rogue Valley, videotaping tourist hot spots and taking a few treks in between.
The resulting finished product will be posted — along with two other regional videos — on the Travel Oregon Web page next spring (www.traveloregon.com).
The tour video is built around places cyclists can visit. The video highlights a Central Oregon couple — Michelle Ruber and Klaas de Jonge — who met while participating in Cycle Oregon several years ago.
“She’s a designer and he builds houses,” Kaddoura said. “We found out about them and how they met through cycling through friends, and thought it would be cool to feature them.”
Starting in Ashland, the crew worked its way north through Phoenix and then west to Jacksonville and up into the Applegate, then over to Grants Pass and back to Medford.
In Jacksonville, the Wieden+Kennedy crew discovered Charlie, a 7-year-old Newfoundland, who was out for a walk with first-term Mayor Bruce Garrett.
“We talked a little bit about Jacksonville, the Chinese presence and the historic district,” Garrett said. “I’m curious to see how much will get in. Anything that talked about Jacksonville in a positive light will do good.”
Chris Martin, owner of Troon Vineyard, chatted with the cyclists out in the vineyard, and the crew had lunch inside the tasting room.
“Travel Oregon is constantly trying to promote the state as a whole,” Martin said. “When you put something up on YouTube, it can — as they say — go viral. It’s an interesting undertaking, and you never know what you’re going to get back.”
Martin said he never gets too caught up in the result of one promotional campaign or another.
“In marketing and promotion, you can never lose sight of the end result,” he said. “You never can get caught up in any one thing because it’s the synthesis of a variety of efforts which ends up making your success. You never know what one element is going to be a tipping point for you. I think that’s what Travel Oregon has done, providing different avenues and angles to touch people in the outside world, and making Oregon a destination location.”
The thought of promoting the region had Elizabeth Fujas, owner of Rising Sun Farms in Phoenix, excited.
“We’re exposing people to some of the most beautiful country in the U.S., and letting them know how wonderful the people and products are. With all that’s going on in the world, things are pretty good here in most respects. They can see how magical it is, with great food and amazing people. If they come and leave some of their earnings with us, that would be good.”
Although Ruber and de Jonge didn’t pedal every mile of the route covered by the video team, they got out on plenty of streets and roads in the Rogue Valley.
“We just shout out of the van,” Kaddoura said. “We didn’t block off the road or anything — it’s not that big of a production. We tried to avoid cars where we could.”
Shooting times at the dozen or so destinations varied from 10 minutes to an hour, she said. Setting up for shoots and scouting locations took more time.
“We’ve got a lot of film to play with,” Kaddoura said. “We’ll look at what we have and try to tell a story. You don’t need half an hour on the road to show someone cycling. We’re trying to tell a big story in the least amount of time.”
The project follows this year’s Oregon County campaign, featuring food products from eight regions around the state.
“In August, we started thinking we needed a whole bunch of new work for next spring and summer’s campaign,” Kaddoura said.
The three-month lead time was more than the public relations firm often gets, especially in this leaner and meaner era of doing business.
“That’s a good chunk of time,” Kaddoura said. “Normally, it’s way less. More and more, we’re used to working with less time because of the economy.”
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail email@example.com.