*Another* study about Millennials?? Actually, this one’s true about all of us.

I pretty much hate broadly generalizing studies about entire generations of people. Like I hate the general descriptions in garden variety horoscopes; as a Capricorn, I am not risk-averse, money-grubbing, or generally unimaginative. Look at other Capricorns – Elvis, Jesus (okay, to some they are possibly one & the same), and Muhammed Ali, to name a few!

Yep – another broad generalization… But it happened!

But Yahoo recently came out with a study  making sweeping claims (and to be fair, presenting interesting statistics) about advertising to Millennials. The study said Millennials strongly respond to, among other things, humor in advertising and branded content. The numbers are compelling (and thanks Yahoo for making a study for me to blog about), but my response to it is who doesn’t like their information to be presented in an entertaining way? Particularly when it’s bad news, or a difficult topic; spoonful of sugar (or delicious cocktail), anyone?

This is the business premise that Lekker Media is based on, and it has been working well for the last nine years. More and more presenters are discovering the benefits of taking a not-so-funny topic, comedically looking at the difficult truths of it in video, and using that to open their talks or illustrate a point. What they are finding is that when uncomfortable facts are entertainingly acknowledged and explored, this is an excellent way to break the tension and get people talking honestly and listening openly, and remembering what it is you had to say.

The most recent example is the series of spots we produced with Brass Ideas for HipChat. The Bill Lumbergh spots have over three million views in their first month and have phenomenal click through for their tightly targeted audience. While this was a public-facing ad, the idea is the same – show that you get your audience’s problem, and lead them to your proposed solution. And it doesn’t hurt that we licensed & hired a beloved/behated(?) character to get the message across…

In the end, Millennial or no, we all like to be entertained, and who doesn’t want that particular bar lifted for content and presentations?

As Lumbergh as ever. HipChat resurrects Office Space’s horrible boss…

Gary Cole as Bill Lumbergh Office Space © Fox

Gary Cole as Bill Lumbergh 2015
Office Space © Fox

If there are any movies as beloved in the tech underground as Office Space, there probably aren’t any near as funny.

Mike Judge’s 1999 cult classic brought Bill Lumbergh to the big screen from his animated short series “Milton”. Since the movie left the theaters and made it to VHS, DVD and beyond, it’s been an ever-growing favorite of filmmakers, comedy lovers, and anyone who’s felt their cubicle walls start closing in.

This array of groups apparently included the people over at Atlassian’s HipChat, who hired Brass Ideas (a frequent Lekker client of late) based on their pitch titled ‘Horrible Bosses’. The idea resurrected Lumbergh and put him, with all his old ways and aggressively passive-aggressive lingo, into a new company in 2015 that would predictably be doing much better without him. He continues to be a champion & enforcer of inefficiencies and HipChat is the antidote in this series of 5 spots (and one teaser, only viewable now at the top of Brass Ideas’ case study).

Lekker Media’s founder, Jamie Wright, was hired on as Agency Producer for the project by San Francisco-based Brass Ideas for his comedy and production background. The agency was started in 2014 by Andrew Clarke, a long-time player in SF’s ad game, and the Lumbergh HipChat project marks Lekker Media’s fourth collaboration with Brass.

The spots were directed by JJ Adler, perhaps best known for her work in making The Onion News Network a household name among comedy, news, and comedy-news  lovers. The team tasked with the responsibility of scripting this incredibly well-known character were Creative Director Kim Schoen, and writers Craig Baldo and Marco Kaye (with some helpful input from Gary Cole). Production was carried out by Tool of North America, who were great partners to have with us in mastering the timeline & production challenges associated with the tight turnaround. And the Cosmo Street editorial team, headed up by Stéphane Dumonceau, did amazing work with us in getting us great cuts of these six pieces in a week, along with bringing in Apache and Arsenal FX for color and cleanup.

Thanks to all who participated in making these pieces – and I’m going to have to ask you to go ahead and come in on Saturday… M’kay? That’d be greeeaaaaaat.

Documentary-Style!

We’ve been doing a lot of talking lately about the comedy work that Lekker Media is known for, and we thought we would take a look back at a few of our favorite short format documentary-style pieces we have done in the last year or so.

The California Senior Leaders Program was one of our favorite pieces, commissioned by the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Not only did it highlight great work done by seniors for seniors, conveying a continuity in the lives of activists who turn their talents towards their situation as aging citizens, but we get a chance to spend time with these truly remarkable individuals and get a sense of how they approach their quietly remarkable lives.

Another favorite, done for Adobe, is a profile on design and game shop Trigger, an LA-based company that created The Green Hornet game for Sony Pictures using all Adobe tools. We had a lot of fun with this and DP Andreas Burgess and our LA-based crew did a fantastic job collaborating with us to come up with a unique look and style for this short doc profile.

Finally, this piece was strangely both an impressionistic, ultra-short documentary in spanish, as well as a PSA for the California Department of Public Health. The main character is a nurse, telling the true story of health professionals not seeing the signs of pertussis, or whooping cough in her child, leading to his demise. It was humbling to witness the personal strength and determination of this person in taking her family’s tragedy and using it to help the community at large.

Lekker Media's first entry into the feature-length world of filmmaking...!

Lekker Media’s first entry into the feature-length world of filmmaking…!

And now Lekker Media is taking the plunge into a feature-length project with The San Francisco Improv Festival to make the first documentary on The Committee, the San Francisco based improvisational and sketch comedy theater that took The City by storm with their biting, clear-eyed political comedy, and later Los Angeles, and New York’s Broadway.

Looks like we get to test all our strengths on this one – wish us luck…!

John Magnuson, Lenny Bruce & The Committee

Sam Shaw, John Magnuson & Jamie Wright

Sam Shaw, John Magnuson & Jamie Wright

Yesterday we were honored to interview John Magnuson, director of ‘Lenny Bruce’, the performance film with the comedy icon from 1967, and producer of Bruce’s ‘Thank You Mask Man’, a subversive, childhood favorite of mine.

Sam Shaw & I interviewed him as part of our project on our documentary  “The Committee: A Secret History of American Comedy”. Lekker Media is the production company of record on the project, produced by The San Francisco Improv Festival.

Mr. Magnuson told us tales of the early days of The Committee, his work with their talented actors, his time collaborating with Lenny Bruce in San Francisco, and his fan/friend relationship with comedy legend Bill Hicks.

We couldn’t have been happier to be invited into his home and to have had the chance to dig deeper into the project which spans the roughly 10 years The Committee changed the face of popular comedy and catalyzed the San Francisco scene from free speech through free love with their sharp, cutting, and intelligent brand of political humor.

Magnuson’s main interaction with the talents of The Committee came through his hiring them for commercial and industrial film work (a tradition with improvisational actors that Lekker Media carries on today). His first foray into the world of commercial work with improvisors was with Mike Nichols and Elaine May in the late 1950’s.

What a ride – thanks, John!

Social Media Overload: Short-form Comedy for Adobe (Episode 2)

Here’s the latest from Lekker Media, in support of Adobe’s 2013 Summit event for Digital Marketing. Written, produced and directed by Lekker Media Creative Director, Jamie Wright, the piece was created with others in a tight timeframe & budget to help spread the word on the event via related themes and a large helping of ridiculousness.

Featuring the talents of Bay Area improvisor Christy Daly, DP Peggy Peralta, Antoinette Yoka (Makeup), Jules Kobelin (Properties), and Lourdes Figueroa (Camera Assistant). Special thanks to Adobe’s Lynn Margherita & Matt Rozen.

Analyze the Analyst: Short-form Comedy for Adobe (Episode 1)

Here’s the first in a series of two videos in support of Adobe’s 2013 Summit event for Digital Marketing. Written, produced and directed by LekkerMedia Creative Director, Jamie Wright (that’s me!), the piece was created with others in a tight timeframe & budget to help spread the word on the event via related themes and a large helping of ridiculousness.

I generally like the ridiculous, which is why I think this works. When you have something super silly with a real premise, delivered in a totally committed way by a talented actor, you can get some great results.

Thanks to Bay Area improvisor Rebecca Poretsky for her performance and the work of DP Peggy Peralta, Antoinette Yoka (Makeup), Jules Kobelin (Properties), and Lourdes Figueroa (Camera Assistant). Special thanks to Adobe’s Lynn Margherita & Matt Rozen.

The Committee at the SF Improv Festival

San Francisco comedy legends, The Committee, reformed for a panel discussion on the roots of modern sketch and improv comedy in our fair city August 14th, 2010 at the Eureka Theater. Lekker Media, a proud San Francisco Improv Festival sponsor, was on hand to catch them give their first live performance in over 25 years, with their “Star Spangled Banner” sketch, with the help of Howard Johnson (author of the improvisors bible, “Truth in Comedy”). These guys are all the real deal.

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