It turns out Sasquatch, the mythical ape-like creature who's sparked imaginations through the years after sightings in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, is really just a hirsute web developer who lives a quiet life in suburban Seattle.
That's one takeaway from this unusual campaign by ad agency PRR, designed to lure prospective home buyers (mostly millennials) to Shoreline, Wash., a bucolic community of 53,000 on Puget Sound, nine miles from the Emerald City's downtown district.
"We were looking for a way to tell the best-kept-secret story," Dan Eernissee, Shoreline's economic development program manager, tells Adweek. "PRR presented the idea of using the ambassador, Squatch, a friendly Sasquatch, who is on a personal mission" to educate viewers about himself and Shoreline, which he calls home.
The trailer drives viewers to the campaign's website, ending on the line "You Don't Know Squatch." But the centerpiece of content is a five-minute mockumentary revealing the secrets of Sasquatch, who turns out to be a furry, friendly, misunderstood soul—a hairy hipster grooving on Shoreline's laid-back lifestyle. He's an absolute beast on the basketball court, though. Check out the furball's flagrant foul below:
Agency production coordinator Robert Reyes plays Squatch with minimal makeup—a fake beard and hairy hands, plus a slightly protruding forehead. At times, he looks a bit like Jesus crossed with a Klingon, or else a very tall member of the Allman Brothers Band. Still, his appearance is way more relatable than the over-the-top brutishness of, say, Jack Link's featured creature.
"After looking over a few casting options, we realized Robert fit the part of a modern Sasquatch to a T," says Eernissee. "He is 6-foot-3 and already had the long hair, and gave us the opportunity to break away from a Sasquatch suit."
Reyes isn't letting the star turn go to his head. "No one has recognized me yet" outside the agency, he says. "It's just a fun running joke in the office."
Frankly, the clip could use a brisker pace; at times it plays like a meandering segment of Portlandia (moved three hours north). Still, it is getting Shoreline's big foot in the door: Supported by Facebook and Twitter ads as well as transit placements, the video has tallied more than 25,000 views in its first month online, with the website scoring nearly 5,000 unique visits.
Director: Dave Radford, PRR Video Creative Director
Executive Producer: Dan Eernissee, City of Shoreline Economic Development Program Manager
Executive Producer: Jennifer Rash, PRR Senior Account Manager
Producer: Dylan Tyne, PRR Account Executive
Director of Photography: Brad Curran
Editor: Brad Curran
Camera Assistant: Tim Haddock
Audio Engineer: Jon Anderson
Hair & Makeup: Shawn Shelton,
Denise Walz, PRR Co-President
Katherine Schomer, PRR Senior Research Associate