Raw Digital branches out to the burbs
By Karen Kovacs Dydzuhn
The bucolic woods of Weston hardly resemble Madison Avenue: however, the creative minds generating development projects – and adroitly executing their ideas cost-efficiently – are a formidable rival for their urban counterparts.
Johnny Boston, founder and chief creative officer of Raw Digital, a Manhattan-based video production company known for its cutting edge spots, recently announced the opening of its Connecticut division. Christine Fulton, a producer and researcher for Raw Digital, will oversee the Weston-based operation. She is also married to Boston.
An award-winning production company, Raw Digital has successfully worked with a diverse group of clients, such as Moet Hennessy, Amnesty International, Ladies Home Journal and the Clinton Global Initiative, to name a few.
In addition, Raw Digital has garnered the reputation for taking a non-traditional approach in creating brand opportunities for its clients. An all-encompassing, one-stop shop, Boston said that the company is responsible for all creative solutions, strategy, distribution and digital work.
“It’s all about finding an entertaining way to engage your audience,” said Boston. “It’s about storytelling and delivering your message quickly and successfully.”
The town of Weston was the backdrop this summer for a series of webisodes produced by Raw Digital for a British dairy export company. As business development manager for Coombe Castle USA, Melissa Chesman approached Boston, her Weston neighbor, about heading up the project.
“Raw Digital was the perfect fit,” Chesman said. “I needed someone who could think outside the box. I wanted to find a balance between providing a branding opportunity for Coombe Castle and also help create awareness for this particular product, which most Americans are not all that familiar with.”
Born and raised in Great Britain, Boston provided not only a keen sense of the product itself but also insight into how the video would be received across the pond.
The collaboration between Chesman and Boston’s respective companies resulted in a clever, sexy spot that pleased both the American and English audiences.
“We wanted to make it entertaining and fun,” said Boston. “You don’t want to hammer people over the head with your message.”
This summer Boston also filmed a webisode for Ladies Home Journal. The popular women’s magazine commissioned Raw Digital to explore “What Defines a Lady?”
Using local talent, including Fulton and Chesman, Boston shot a fast-paced lively spot entirely at local venues, such as Compo Beach and private residences in Westport and Weston. Chesman has since joined the Raw Digital team as its development director for the Connecticut office.
Boston also recently took the helm of a production team creating promotional videos for a local dance company, Chi Dance. The business had recently been taken over by new owners and they were also opening up a second studio. Raw Digital was able to contribute its branding expertise as well as video production experience.
“I have wanted to do more producing in Connecticut,” Boston said. “I hate my commute. I hate the train, especially.”
Although he could cite problems with Metro-North – or traffic issues inherently found in commuting by car – Boston also acknowledged that expanding Raw Digital’s business to Connecticut has much to do with being closer to his family.
“I’ve been a bat for so long,” he said, smiling. He often leaves before the sun comes up in the morning and returns to his Weston home late at night when his two children, Alex, 6, and Zoe, 4, are asleep.
However, the smooth execution of this summer’s projects encouraged Boston to establish a Connecticut base for Raw Digital.
“We’re thrilled to be working in Connecticut for a number of reasons: first and foremost being it is our home,” said Boston. “There are also a lot of great tax incentives for film and television and a lot of supportive regional institutions. A large body of our work is branded content, and of course there are a lot of wonderful Connecticut companies we are looking to work and establish relationships with.”
According to Chesman, Raw Digital has several ongoing projects such as the sidekick version of “Desperate Housewives,” which reveal the underlying juicy truths about the seemingly normal participants in a suburban book club. Boston and Chesman admit that some of the anecdotes are based on real-life tales that they heard from people they met when they moved from Manhattan to Connecticut.
However, they are also quick to point out that they have also been introduced to interesting people who support their creative work.