Ma­chin­ery used to play carol in Youtube video

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Michelle Mc­quigge

TORONTO — An On­tario-based pho­tog­ra­phy firm that gained an In­ter­net fol­low­ing two years ago with its video of a fes­tive flash mob has found a new vi­ral way to ring in the hol­i­day sea­son.

A new video cre­ated by Al­pha­bet Pho­tog­ra­phy of Ni­a­gara Falls, Ont., de­picts em­ploy­ees tak­ing a break from pro­duc­ing framed pic­tures and turn­ing their tal­ents to a more au­di­tory art form in­stead.

Us­ing ma­chin­ery and of­fice sup­plies scat­tered through the com­pany’s pro­duc­tion ware­house, the work­ers take less than two min­utes to stage a rous­ing ren­di­tion of the Christ­mas­time clas­sic Carol of the Bells.

The clip has al­ready gar­nered nearly 85,000 views in the week it’s been posted on the pop­u­lar video shar­ing site YouTube, but still has a long way to go to eclipse the success of Al­pha­bet’s last hol­i­day cam­paign.

A 2010 video de­pict­ing a flash mob of singers ser­e­nad­ing a lo­cal food court with a stir­ring ver­sion of the Hal­lelu­jah Cho­rus from Han­del’s Mes­siah be­came a YouTube sen­sa­tion. The clip has at­tracted nearly 39 mil­lion views and landed the fledg­ling firm air time on sev­eral ma­jor U.S. tele­vi­sion net­works.

For Al­pha­bet Pho­tog­ra­phy pres­i­dent Jen­nifer Blake­ley, the sur­prise at­ten- tion gave her a chance to both pro­mote her com­pany and de­liver some yule­tide cheer.

“Christ­mas is my favourite time of the year,” Blake­ley said in a tele­phone in­ter­view. “Ev­ery­one’s just happy, and peo­ple are up­lifted and look­ing for in­ter­est­ing things to look at and pass around.”

Blake­ley said she’s al­ways on the look­out for ways to in­ject some vi­tal­ity into the of­ten stale medium of on­line cam­paign­ing, adding quirky videos seemed a good fit for a com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in art­work made en­tirely of let­ters of the al­pha­bet.

True to form, she said, the ideas for her hol­i­day cam­paigns of­ten strike her in un­ex­pected places.

The flash mob video con­cept was born, she said, af­ter an evening of watch­ing The Ap­pren­tice and a morn­ing of singing in the shower.

In­spi­ra­tion for the 2012 of­fer­ing struck her as she pe­rused shelves of toys for her young daugh­ter and be­gan imag­in­ing the va­ri­ety of sounds the gad­gets could make.

Once she de­cided to fo­cus the video on the nearly 25 staff at Al­pha­bet head­quar­ters, the idea of us­ing com­pany equip­ment seemed only nat­u­ral.

The fi­nal prod­uct opens with a staff mem­ber sound­ing a dial tone be­fore us­ing the key­pad to play the four-note re­frain that re­peats through­out the carol. Col­leagues and a smat­ter­ing of vol­un­teer pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians then join in with their ready-made of­fice in­stru­ments. Drills, air guns, sta­plers, cof­fee cups and pens all come to­gether for a fully har­mo­nized, per­cus­sion­heavy take on the hol­i­day clas­sic.

Blake­ley said the video was shot for lit­tle more than the cost of pizza and soft drinks to jolly the makeshift orches­tra along.

The video high­lights some of Blake­ley’s per­sonal val­ues, she said, adding it shines a spot­light on the or­di­nary peo­ple who keep in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses afloat.

“I think that it’s im­por­tant, es­pe­cially at this time of year, when it’s so easy to go to Walmart to pur­chase a gift, to ac­tu­ally see the peo­ple our cus­tomers are im­pact­ing,” she said. “The peo­ple who cre­ate that for you are re­ly­ing on that for their fam­i­lies and for their in­come.”

Blake­ley said the com­pany took a hia­tus from hol­i­day-themed video cam­paigns in 2011 in or­der to draw at­ten­tion to an­other cause. A video of peo­ple coming to­gether to form a hu­man al­pha­bet helped raise money for the Cana­dian Olympic team, she said.

On the Web: watch?v4AnMlQNw1M8&noredi­rect1

— The Cana­dian Press


Al­pha­bet Pho­tog­ra­phy em­ploy­ees took a break from work to per­form Carol of the Bells on the shop floor.

Chris Brown

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