Introducing: Gather Around


Last week, BendBroadband rolled out Gather Around, a promotional campaign focused on the emotional impact of TV and the television’s modern status as the “digital campfire” in our homes.

In the coming weeks and months, Central Oregon will be flooded with a variety of tactics that reflect Gather Around’s message and visual aesthetic, including billboards, digital ads, direct mail, email, print ads and more. The centerpiece of the campaign is a 30-second commercial that provides a peek at how people welcome television into their day-to-day lives — whether it’s via a mobile device or traditional TV set — to educate themselves, to be inspired, to get away from real life and to gather with friends and family. Watch the commercial on our YouTube channel or right here:

Gather Around is the culmination of months of work by the creative services team at BendBroadband and its parent company, TDS Telecom. The team — recently united across the 2,000 miles between Bend and TDS headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin — came up with the concept and then planned and executed all copy, design and video elements of the campaign. Brainstorming for Gather Around started in July, and Visual Arts Manager Trevor McCreery spent much of August planning the complex commercial production, which involved shooting at seven sites scattered around Central Oregon with about 30 local people. That group included no professional actors, only friends of friends recruited by McCreery and a handful of folks who responded to a Craigslist ad. “They showed up and said being in a commercial was on their bucket list,” McCreery says.

Trevor McCreery, at right, shoots the "Obstacle Course" scene for the Gather Around commercial.
Trevor McCreery, at right, shoots the “Obstacle Course” scene for the Gather Around commercial.

The number of cast members nearly tripled the largest group McCreery had previously worked with on a commercial shoot.

“Typically we try to capture one location. Two is usually the most we’ll do,” McCreery says. “Seven locations and seven different scenes was a lot of coordinating, as was trying to make sure we had enough people and the right people in the right place at the right time.”

After an intensive three days of filming, the creative team went to work writing copy and designing visuals to support the commercial and bring the campaign to life. The collaborative effort stretched from Bend to Madison thanks to a cooperative spirit on both sides … and a recent investment in top-notch video sharing technology by TDS didn’t hurt.

Each scene also includes a relevant product — a TV here, a tablet there. Gather Around is meant to connect with people and evoke emotions, but it’s important to remember that, in these scenes, the product is the enabler of those connections.

“Ultimately, this campaign is not about the actual television, it’s about the dad and his son playing superhero. It’s not about the tablet, it’s about the mom spending quality time with her daughter in the kitchen,” says Shelby Little, creative services manager for BendBroadband and TDS. “It’s about people and relationships.”


Introducing: Gather Around

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