Greenwich media firm launches live-action film unit


When a commercial is aired on television or the Internet, there are many elements potentially involved in making the ad come to life: they could be graphics, 3-D animation, live action filming, or a combination of these.

What the viewer doesn't see is the careful preparation behind it, the storyboards, planning sessions and directorial choices that go into creating a memorable campaign.

To further tap into the live-action part of this process, the Brand Gallery, a Greenwich-based media company, has established Standard Directors, a film production division that works with advertising agencies and high-profile clients like BBC America and Univision.

Since moving from New York City's chic West Village to Greenwich several years ago, the Brand Gallery, along with its other branch of business, PGM Artists, has expanded its marketing and advertising capacities. In launching Standard Directors, founder Philip McIntyre and line producer Brian Bennhoff have signed four directors to bring their sensibilities to ad campaigns: Martin Rosete, Iain Greenway, John Hunter and Mark Chaudoir. Each boasts a notable resume of awards and work with prestigious clients including the BBC and the Beijing Olympic Committee.

Working with live-action filming on ad campaigns, Standard Directors will take the ideas pitched by agencies and pair them with the director best suited to the tone and style of the proposal. Production companies like Standard Directors act as the workshops for some of the large creative agencies, McIntyre said.

"The Madison Avenue agencies don't have film crews and directors, they're like big idea factories," McIntyre said. "Production companies are where the skilled labor comes in."

McIntyre, a Greenwich resident for over a decade, feels that Connecticut, with its proximity to the New York City ad industry and its tax incentives, is fertile ground for marketing and media firms. Standard Directors can operate out of Greenwich and attract nationally-recognized clients like Comcast, Applebee's, and Absolut Vodka.

"The real proud thing is that we've been able to make it happen in Greenwich. We've made a significant investment here," McIntyre said. "Why Connecticut has so much to gain is that it sits in the shadow of one of the biggest ad markets in the world [in New York City]. Could a creative agency that lived in the uber-chic West Village survive in the suburbs? Absolutely, yes."

John Neal, assistant visiting professor of marketing at Fairfield University, came to the sphere of academia after years in New York's advertising world. He, too, feels that the area benefits from both a crossover of New York talent and a plethora of potential corporate clients based in Fairfield County.

"Because of ... the fact that the Internet has taken over, it's a key component that's allowing companies not to have to be New York-based," Neal said. "There's an enormous amount of creative and marketing talent in Connecticut."