Frantic and TAXI Develop Director Search Reality TV Series


Frantic Branded Content + Commercials, a division of film and television production company Frantic Films Corporation, and Toronto-headquartered ad agency TAXI, along with commercial production company, Soft Citizen, have partnered to develop Commercial Break, a reality television series on the hunt for Canada's next big commercial director. The show centers on weekly challenges in which contestants create television commercials for actual brands. By incorporating the activities of a real-world ad agency, their clients and unique advertising challenges into the plot of each episode, the series pushes the boundaries of branded content and also sheds light on the business of creativity.

For TAXI, co-creating a reality TV series offered several unique opportunities: a new type of brand exposure for clients - even for those who do not typically advertise on TV - and exposure for the agency beyond the trade community. But most importantly, the program provides viewers with a rare glimpse into advertising at a time of tremendous popular interest in the craft. The smash hit "Mad Men," coupled with consumers' increased public commentary on and involvement with brands whether on YouTube or via Twitter, demonstrate consumers' desire to be involved with the making of the message. "Everyone loves to critique advertising," says Rob Guenette, CEO of TAXI. "But few people understand the process of actually developing and creating a campaign. We want this show to be highly entertaining but also insightful."

In the 10-episode original series set to launch in 2009, 10 contestants, chosen from a cross-country search, compete for an exclusive one-year contract with successful commercial production company, Soft Citizen. Each week, a panel of judges comprised of TAXI executive creative director Steve Mykolyn, Soft Citizen Executive Producer Dr. Link York and a guest, evaluate constants' work. As each contestant is eliminated, projects become increasingly challenging. For instance, early on, the assignment is a do-it-yourself guerilla style web production, whereas several episodes later the assignment involves real-life scenarios working with clients, established creative teams, and bigger budgets. Commenting on the overall project, Frantic's Executive Producer Jeff Peeler explains, "This next-generation type of branded entertainment really creates tremendous opportunities-high-profile exposure for the country's best up-and-coming directors, new integrated advertising outlets for a wide array of brands, and fresh creative relationships for everyone involved."

With Commercial Break, Frantic once again breaks out of the traditional media mold, expanding and redefining the role of integrated advertising for broadcast television. Specializing in creating original integrated entertainment across platforms, the studio consistently delivers high-quality, deep-impression advertising solutions that bring branded content to the forefront of the industry. Frantic's recent projects include traditional broadcast television series, feature films, documentaries, and branded content for clients such as the Discovery Channel, Slice Network, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the Canola Council of Canada.

About Frantic

Frantic Branded Content + Commercials is a multi-disciplinary production facility that specializes in creating original integrated entertainment for use across the entire range of traditional and emerging media platforms. With over fifteen years experience and a deep understanding of long and short form programming, the team at Frantic knows how to work cooperatively and creatively to deliver high quality, deep-impression advertising and marketing solutions. Frantic will help you entertain, engage, and connect with your target audiences to build lasting customer relationships through innovative media strategies and expert consultation.

About TAXI:

TAXI Canada Inc. and TAXI Inc. are independent, wholly owned companies with core expertise in Strategic Planning, Advertising, Design, Interactive, Relationship Marketing and Content. Founded in Montreal (1992), offices also include Toronto and TAXI 2 (1992, 2006), New York (2004), Calgary (2005) and Vancouver (2007). TAXI's business is built on a media-neutral approach that allows strategic and creative agility and a consistent brand experience across multiple consumer touchpoints. TAXI ranked 9th in the world per Creativity Magazine, August 2006, was named Canadian Agency of the Year by Marketing Magazine in 2001 and 2005, and won the Strategy Magazine Agency of the Year award in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008. In August 2008, Marketing magazine named co-founder Paul Lavoie one of the century's Top 10 Marketing Icons. TAXI was also named one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Deloitte. TAXI New York in 2007 and 2008 won the O'Toole Award for Creative Excellence from the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Client assignments in Canada include TELUS Consumer Solutions, MINI Canada, Pfizer's VIAGRA, WestJet, McCain's, Canadian Tire, Reitmans Group, Bombardier and Dairy Farmers of Canada. New York clients include Johnson & Johnson (Motrin, Children's Motrin), New York Life, Blue Shield of California, Rail Europe Group, and OpenSkies.

About Soft Citizen:

Soft Citizen is an innovative and award-winning commercial production company based in Toronto and Vancouver. In 2008 Soft Citizen took home a total of eight gold, six silver, two bronze and several finalists at the Bessies, Marketing, ADCC, Applied Arts Advertising / Interactive Annuals and Cannes awards shows as well as an Interactive Pencil at The One Show. Our roster of directors include such internationally renowned Canadian talents as The Perlorian Brothers, Yael Staav, Henry Lu and Drew Lightfoot as well as exciting new faces such as Chris Hutsul and Sara St. Onge. Soft Citizen also represents the roster of creative powerhouses Smuggler (2007 winner of Cannes' Palme D'Or Prodco of the Year) and the artistically minded talents of Furlined(US)/BlinkInk(UK) for the Canadian market, both on Boards 2008 list of Top 20 production companies.