PIPES ON FILM
Many of our regular customers will have seen the film made about us by The Daily Telegraph Business Club, which was produced to coincide with the launch of our new website back in early 2011. Since then however we are fortunate to have introduced a number of new customers to Carey’s Pipe & Tobacco Shop and all it has to offer, both in the UK and further afield, and decided that the time was right to dust off the showreel and give it another airing! This time around we thought a little background information would help put the film into context…
All too often films are a domain restricted to beautiful models and stunning locations, so we decided enough was enough and our collection of antique pipes should be allowed their five minutes of fame too – not only are they attractive on the eye but they also have a cultural and historical significance – a combination not afforded to most film stars!
While we were at it, Garrick and I decided that our business deserved to tell its story in a medium that could be kept for posterity. The fact that we had to also appear on film filled us with rather more trepidation.
We decided to make a film at a challenging, but exciting, time in EA Carey’s history. Garrick and I had recently taken over from our father Trevor who had run the business since the early 1980s, and the business needed to move in a new direction as a result of the stringent rules and regulations slowly strangling the tobacco industry. We were looking to showcase our business to an ever changing audience, and were looking for the right medium to do that. Our upgraded website was about to launch, we had subtley changed our branding and updated the look and feel of our mail order catalogue (still the lifeblood of our business) and we were actively increasing our social media presence in order to give our customers as many options as possible to do business with us, but we knew we needed more. I’m a firm believer that luck and timing often play an important part in business and this was to be a classic example – we were approached by Tracc Films (www.traccfilms.com) on behalf of The Daily Telegraph Business Club who were looking to make a series of films about niche businesses. And let’s face it, there aren’t many businesses more niche than a mail order pipe and tobacco retailer!
Meeting with Tracc Films helped us to understand the power of film as a marketing tool. By using video content, we were able to tell our story, inject personality and show EA Carey to be the credible business it is – all things that we could never have portrayed purely through words and pictures alone. Tracc’s association with the Daily Telegraph Business Club was exactly what we needed in order to be seen by a wider audience, and also to demonstrate why we should be considered to be an authority within the industry. A rubber stamp from one of the UK’s leading business savvy broadsheet newspapers could surely never hurt!
The guys at Tracc made the whole filming process really easy and it was rewarding for us to see how they began to really embrace the whole pipe-smoking and tobacco world, and also to understand how a pipe can become more than just an object … it becomes a companion or even a well-loved friend. I think they were surprised at how interested they were in our story, and how interesting in general the world of pipes and tobacco really can be – perhaps not the ‘fuddy-duddy’ business they may have been expecting. In our opinion their new found enthusiasm certainly came across in the film, especially in the atmospheric sweeps across the displays of collectible pipes that we have on display (which reminds me, we really must dig them out for display again soon!). They just about refrained from the soft focus and romantic background music … but only just!
Joking aside the film crew understood what we wanted to achieve with the film, which wasn’t just to make something inherently watchable, but also something that put across a serious business message in an innovative and creative way. We wanted to extend our reach and engage with new customers, but we wanted to do it in such a way that our existing customers understood what our aims were and that they were still, in essence, the core of our business. It was a careful balance which we needed to get just right.
The results have been very positive. Other businesses now have a reason to look at us (although this has led to a certain degree of plagiarism on their part!) and the reaction from customers has been great – we hope they have enjoyed seeing the faces behind the business and putting a personality to the name. We’ve seen our website going from strength to strength thanks to our fantastic customers, and as for the film… well, it’s had over 2,600 views to date. You can watch it here