Tuesday, April 9, 2013

PizzaExpress Hong Kong Showcase Video!

Well I have to say that I have been a very long time fan of the PizzaExpress brand, specifically 20 years long since I first went to London as a student in 1993. The idea that I could eat fantastic fresh baked Italian style pizza for a budget within my pretty limited student range and even get to see the Pizzaola tossing the dough, all seemed a bit unreal to me coming from the PizzaHut dominated land of Hong Kong. So when they came to me all that time later and asked if I would be interested to work on a new showcase video for them, as you can imagine I very enthusiastically said "YES". 

Before we could get started on the video itself, we needed to attend meetings and have lots of discussion time, this meant lots and lots of delicious pizza and pasta and along with Spiriteca (importers of incredible whiskey and other rare spirits), was one of the most enjoyable build-ups to a job I have ever experienced! 

Now there are probably a lot of things about PizzaExpress that you don't know. Firstly the company was started when Peter Boizot went to Italy in 1948 and saw real Pizzaolas tossing dough in the air for the first time in his life. He vowed to bring this Italian tradition back to England with him and succeeded in doing so in 1965 with a Pizza oven from Rome and a chef from Sicily. 

Another thing you may not know is that PizzaExpress has been a major supporter of jazz music since they started doing jazz performances at their Dean Street location in London in 1969. Some of the jazz greats that have been featured there are Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Norah Jones and Jamie Cullum. 

And did you realise that PizzaExpress is helping to prevent Venice from sinking? In 1977 they created the Pizza Veneziana and from then till today a percentage of every one sold goes to the Venice in Peril Fund. 

You get the idea - it's an interesting company that does some unexpected stuff. 

Back to our little project. So the mandate was quite straightforward - make a beautiful video that captured the various key elements of PizzaExpress: the location, the design and art which they support, the commitment to high quality super fresh ingredients, the pursuit of the most traditional Italian ways of pizza preparation, the fun, relaxed atmosphere and of course most important - the customers! 

Well a lot to pack into a short 1.5 minute video, but I think we did a pretty good job of it! And by the way, we also created the 3D animated version of their logo at the top of this page :-)

Check out the final video we made here: 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Joey Yung 容祖兒 Recording of Mayfly 蜉蝣

Joey Yung 容祖兒 at This Music Studio with Spencer Douglass

I've been very lucky in these past few years to be able to work with some really talented people across very exciting industries like music, film and TV. One of the main people I've cooperated with over this time period is my old friend and music producer extra-ordinaire Kelvin Avon also known by his producer name Afreex. Kelvin is a double platinum selling music producer in the UK, having sold over 2 million albums in total across his various projects there and has also had top hits in places as diverse as Russia, Turkey, Germany, France and Sweden. Most recently he has been working out of Hong Kong over the last 3 years and that is how we got the opportunity to work together.

This is a pic of Kelvin with one of his Platinum selling albums produced for the UK band N'Dubz:

Kelvin Avon's platinum selling album with N'Dubz

You can also check out his website and blog here: Afreex

Since Kelvin arrived in Hong Kong, we have had the chance to work together with many different well known Asian stars including: Sandy Lam (林憶蓮), Van Ness Wu (吳建豪),  Jun Kung (恭碩良), MC Jin (歐陽靖), Hanjin Tan (陳奐仁), Race Wong (黃婉伶), Rosanne Wong (黃婉君), Michael Wong (王敏德) and many others. 

Although I was not directly involved in Kelvin's production and recording of the song Mayfly (蜉蝣) for Joey Yung (容祖兒) he kindly invited me along to sit in on the recording session at This Music Studio

The song was a great success and reached no.1 on the RTHK Radio 2 charts! Although it was not originally intended to be a "plug song" as it was the last album to be added to the album and the 4 plug songs had already been chosen, but because demand from the fans was so strong EEG decided to shoot a music video to the song and put it out in Karaoke's around Hong Kong. The video they shot turned out very well and you can check it out here: 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spiriteca - Some of the Greatest & Rarest Whiskies in the World

Spencer Douglass working for Spiriteca in The Landmark Hong Kong
A few months ago, I was very lucky to come across a very interesting opportunity indeed. I was introduced to the head of Hong Kong's leading importer of rare and top-quality whiskey for a marketing and PR consulting job. Now, for anyone who knows me well you will definitely know that I am a HUGE fan of good whiskey and suddenly having the opportunity to work with and taste some of the best whiskies in the world was like a dream come true! 

The job description was pretty interesting too - they had recently been offered a space for a 3 month pop-up store in The Landmark, one of HK's oldest and most exclusive shopping malls, and they wanted to bring me on board to spread the word on this exciting first in Hong Kong. Needless to say I enthusiastically said "yes!". 

The first thing we decided to get to work on was a launch party to welcome in existing and new customers, so we booked the date, sent out the invites and off we went! Here are a few snaps of the party so you can see how it went: 
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Drinks were very popular!
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Sniff and sip
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Lots to choose from

Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Golden liquid
Tasty canapes
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Discussing the drinks
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt, Spencer Douglass, Next Media
Me & Next Media Crew
Sean Fitzpatrick of Hong Kong Tatler
Sean Fitzpatrick of Tatler Group
As you can see from the pics the event was a great success and the final result of all this fun and merriment was a lot of empty bottles of whiskey, vintage rum, cognac and more, as you can see here:
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt

After the success of the launch event, we still had a lot to do to make sure that the 3 months in prime retail space would be maximised. After a bit of thought we decided that we should orgnanise a special "Get in the Spirit Walk" to take place throughout the gentlemanly location of Landmark Men. In order to make sure it would be a great success we decided to reach out to a series of partners who could help make this a great experience for the modern gentleman. The partners who came on board were: Thomas Hardy, Tassels, Gentleman's Tonic, The Armoury, Kelly & Walsh, Vero and Thomas Pink. The idea was that the shops would open much later into the night than usual and you could follow a trail around Landmark Men, stopping in each of these sophisticated stores to enjoy a dram of a different spirit, whilst doing so you would also collect a stamp from each location and at the end could enter into a lucky draw to win quality prizes supplied by each partner - what's not to love about all that?

Here is the final map that we put together for our Get in the Spirit Walk:

Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality

As you can imagine we had great feedback from this event, but it still wasn't the end of all the fun things we had up our sleeves! 

To keep the excitement and interest up throughout our whole tenure, we decided to set-up a free tutored tasting every Saturday and Sunday afternoon between 2pm & 5pm. This meant that every weekend we would open up a few really special bottles and you could just drop in any time after lunch to try several of the best whiskies you had ever tried in your life and get educated in their background, history and tasting notes. Lots of fun - I attended several of the sessions myself! 

There were still several other things that we set-up during our time in the Landmark and all of them were very enjoyable for us and hopefully for everyone who visited us too. And to see how successful the whole project was, check out some of the flattering articles we got in the press below: 

Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality
HK Magazine
Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality
HK Tatler 
Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality
Hip Hong Kong
Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality
The List
And you'll be happy to know that the story hasn't come to an end just yet! I've been talking to the guys at Spiriteca again recently and seems they have the next exciting plan already in action behind the scenes. Keep your eyes peeled!