HOW CRAZY FOR CORNELIA GOT LEGS
THE MAD MEN YEARS
Starting out, Madison Avenue felt like home to me. After creating a TV campaign that helped JVC wrestle the home-video market away from electronics Godzilla Sony, I got to play a real-world Don Draper as Ad Agency Creative Director.
“...Gilson's 'TV Star' Campaign For
The Vidstar Leveraged JVC's Shelf Space
Advantage...To Squeeze Sony's Beta Out
Of The DIY Video Revolution…”
"HAS ANYBODY EVER TOLD YOU
YOU COULD BE A TV STAR?"
Ted Knight for JVC
'"STAR QUALITY", JVC Vidstar VHS
I loved my rational clients...like Southern Cross Yachts, Florida Tourism, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Steinway.
And learned from the tyrants like Leona "The Queen of Mean" Helmsley (Hotels) and Donald J. Trump (Casinos) because who else could bankrupt a casino?
I wrote college textbooks on Consumer Behavior (Wadsworth) and Advertising: Concepts and Strategies (Random House ) used in universities worldwide.
And I was named "One of the 100 Best and Brightest Young Advertising People" by Advertising Age.
But I was thirsty for more.
When Heineken's ad manager called me from the Netherlands, I had just left an agency and he needed an intrusive TV campaign for the Caribbean and Latin America.
My friend Bob Gordon, a swashbuckling action film director, and I saw a golden niche. We partnered to launch G2, a hybrid Ad Agency and Film Production company to create global campaigns for European brands.
'TRADITION" Chateau Lafitte Rothschild, Forge/AmEx
We created and produced the “Taste The World” campaign for Heineken ourselves from Manhattan to Martinique to Moscow and turned it into a global campaign for 154 markets.
It ran for a record-breaking 15 years.
Next, encouraged by author James Michener, I sold out to my partner and jumped into the rabbit hole I had been dreaming about for years...writing fiction for books and movies.
"TASTE THE WORLD" Heineken
HOW A NEW AUTHOR
Since publishers can't afford to promote most of the books on their lists, new authors don't normally get the attention to become bestselling authors.
My first novel, Crazy for Cornelia, profited from a strong book-to-film market in Hollywood. My agents at UTA auctioned Cornelia to Rick Horgan at Warner Books and New Line Cinema for $1,000,000 with Mark Johnson (Rain Man) producing and Robert Kamen (Karate Kid) adapting the screenplay.
But convincing readers to buy an unknown author?
Cornelia was a quirky romantic comedy about a doorman in love with a debutante obsessed with the inventor Nikola Tesla.
Amazon was new then, the first advertising-sensitive distribution channel for books. I placed test ads in the N.Y. Times Book Review and People inviting readers to visit Cornelia's Amazon page displaying positive reviews. Amazon sales surged, which I reinforced with on-site promotion.
For brick and mortar sales, I chose L.A. as test market. Partnering with Match.com, we hosted Valentine's Day events at the most popular L.A. bookstores. Each event featured readings by actors, the live group GLO for a soundtrack, and drawings for the prize of a shapely chocolate leg for a Val Day gift.
Cornelia became a #5 LA Times Bestseller and ranked #20 for all books on Amazon that week.
Crazy For Cornelia from Warner Books, a Literary Guild Selection, film rights to New Line Cinema .
Pat Benatar's daughter Haley from GLO sings Crazy For You.
The Chocolate Leg Prize.
Hosting the Brentwood event in Los Angeles with an audience of over 200 Match.com members for the book signing.
MAKING ROCK DOCS
My wife Carolyn Travis worked in Rock Radio and created pop culture documentaries. We decided to partner in making "rock docs" distributed through TV syndication and event marketing.
The story of Rock'n Roll and its pioneers is the story of postwar America told from its mean streets and manicured suburbs, when the music of a new youth subculture threatened the socio-political order and the "establishment" struck back.
You can draw a straight line from those early days of Rock 'n Roll to the 21st Century culture wars polarizing us today.
Carolyn Travis Gilson, President of Travisty Productions, award-winning Producer/Director, former TV reporter and rock radio personality, works her magic in-studio .
Our pop-culture docs Airplay, Wildwood Days, and Rock Jocks have worn over 30 awards at worldwide film festivals from Coney Island to Beijing, including five "Best Documentary" awards.
Wildwood Days. Wildwood, N.J., a quirky resort town buzzing with Mid-Century Modern neon-lit motels and a boardwalk with amusement parks, was the summer birthplace of Rock and Roll. "Wildwood rocks. Really," said The New York Times in a glowing review. Wildwood Days won 3 "Best" awards at Film Festivals.
Airplay. The Rise And Fall Of Rock Radio: Before iTunes and MTV, radio disk jockeys blasted Black R&B to White suburbs. After Congress held Payola Hearings to shut them up, a new wave of FM DJs lit up the airways with a burning hunk of sex, drugs, rock and roll, and protest. Airplay won 7“Best Doc” awards from New York to Beijing.
I "Cousin Brucie" Morrow plays Pied Piper to his fans.
"STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS" Trailer for Rock Jocks
I launched Virtual Fox Productions, LLC. to create mixed-reality content to entertain and persuade as the ultimate one-on-one storytelling tool.
Strategic Extended Reality means applying research and rigorous testing to make a meaningful difference in our consumers' user experience in a range of categories from remote homebuying to multi-user gaming.
For example, Fox v Cop for true-crime fans pits brilliant sociopaths against law enforcement in the dark corners of the Metaverse.
Now I'm applying the lessons learned creating a wide range of content in different media to the XRBooks development process.