At last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, the chair of the Economic Development Commission, Vivian Lee-Shiue, told the selectmen that, following their recent release of a video promoting Wilton as a great place to live, the EDC is hoping to move forward with the production of a second video targeted at commercial audiences. She was seeking selectmen approval to sign a contract with a video production company to begin working on the video, at a proposed bid of $11,830.
The videographer being recommended by the EDC to produce the video is a Wilton-based company called Echo Brands, one of three vendors who bid for the project. The EDC had to seek three bids because all of the vendors had come in with proposals above $5,000. In addition to Echo Brands, the other two vendors that bid on the work were Smart Fish Group, a video production company that produced a similar video for Fairfield; and Eventful Films.
All three vendors roughly came in with estimates around the same price and time frame.
“What it came down to was all three of the vendors would do a great job. What we are ultimately recommending is that we go with Echo Brands, a group that has been in Wilton in 20 years, in the videography business for 10 of those 20 years,” Lee-Shiue said, adding that the company has also created a video for the Western CT Economic Development Alliance, and a website for Stamford Downtown, as well as the branding for Soundview Technology Center. The principal of Echo Brands, Adam Pemberton, is the former publisher of Wilton Magazine as well as the producer of a not-yet-public fundraising video for the Wilton Family YMCA.
“What tipped the scales was his knowledge of Wilton and how long he’s been in the community. He’s been here much longer,” Lee-Shiue said.
The estimated timetable for production would be over the summer with a September release date. According to Lee-Shiue, the video would take approximately four weeks to complete, but would likely be held until after the summer.
It was noted that signing the contract would be subject to review by town counsel before it could be signed.
First selectman Lynne Vanderslice pointed out that Pemberton is married to Julia Pemberton, the first selectman of Redding, and while she doesn’t know Adam, Vanderslice does know Julia and sees her regularly enough that she wanted to recuse herself from voting on the contract approval.
Second selectman Michael Kaelin said that while Vanderslice would recuse herself from the vote on accepting the EDC vendor recommendation, he wanted the motion to approve the EDC’s recommendation to include making the contract subject to review of Wilton’s first selectman as well. Vanderslice agreed.
Vanderslice noted that the bid is “significantly less” than what the EDC had originally anticipated, and that given how the residential video had been produced at basically no cost, the commission would still be spending much less than had once been budgeted for. “That’s good.”
The other selectmen agreed, approving the EDC’s request for a signed contract with Echo Brands (pending contract review by town counsel and first selectman) by 3-0, with Vanderslice abstaining.
What will be in the Video
Lee-Shiue said the commercial video concept would be similar to the residential one, but that it would target both prospective, new businesses as well as existing businesses already established in Wilton. The residential video had been produced almost entirely by volunteers and members of the EDC–and at nominal, almost no expense at all.
She explained why the EDC felt it needed to spend money on the commercial video when it hadn’t spent anything on the residential one.
“This, we felt, was a lot more important to get it right. We really wanted to target the mid-tier firms, and larger tier firms, along the lines of the ASMLs, the Breitlings, the ones that are going to occupy the larger corporate spaces in town. It’s a completely separate audience, it’s a completely separate video,” Lee-Shiue said.
“It’s not intended to be a stand-alone video, in the sense that we can’t sell Wilton in that three-minute clip. But what we can do is catch somebody’s eye, so that they can logically follow the next step by finding out more information.”
Vanderslice expressed some concern given the economic downturn that the state of Connecticut is currently experiencing, which is a turnoff to larger businesses that will likely not consider moving to the state.
“If you’re focusing on that large group, and they’re not out there as buyers, that concerns me. You might want to tone that down a bit to the medium and some of the smaller because that’s where you might have greater success,” she said, pointing to businesses that have recently moved into town, using Advanced Radiology as an example of mid-sized commercial businesses that would find Wilton attractive. “That’s probably where most of it is going to come from.”
Lee-Shiue said a lot of that detail would be worked out as the video is story-boarded, and that hopefully, “the way it would come out is that it’s encompassing enough that it wouldn’t really matter.”
However, Lee-Shiue said they wanted to be careful not to target very small mom-and-pop businesses in this commercial video, saying she felt those types of businesses would be covered better by the residential video. “They’re going to be looking at the quality of life, what Wilton is like.”
Correction: An earlier version of the article said that Eventful Films worked on the residential video. The article has been updated to reflect that it did not. In addition, we have clarified that while the video would take only 4 weeks to produce, it wouldn’t be released until at least after the slower, summer months.