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Bird is the (Whispered) Word

Friday February 10, 2012

Running a business requires you to hire any number of specialists from time to time: a plumber here, a computer technician there, a snowplow driver when the need arises.

But really – who’s ever heard of hiring a “bird whisperer”? Well, mobank has.

mo bank canary outdoor board

If you’ve driven through Waldo, perhaps you’ve seen the outdoor board by The Well that features a once-bright-yellow canary wearing a coating of coal soot. It makes reference to the naysayers and prophets of doom like “canaries in a coal mine” that warn of impending danger. Like the rest of the ad series, it makes a strong point about Main Street business perseverance and confidence. It’s part of mobank’s “Go business. Go.” campaign that is designed to celebrate our local entrepreneurs.

As for how the bank’s ad pros and photographers got a live canary to pose for a photo, well, thereby hangs a tale … or tail.

The original plan called for using a stuffed canary. The art director at Trozzolo Communications Group ordered a prime specimen online, but it just didn’t look quite right. Jaime Lyon, producer of the photo session for rw/2 – a mobank customer – felt they could make it work – but it was decided that a living, breathing canary would be better.

Canaries are excitable creatures, though. The company that rents animals for photo shoots insists on having them travel in pairs so they don’t get lonely and freak out. They also recommended an independent, freelance bird whisperer to assist with the photo shoot. That would be Mike Kiger, the KC Bird Whisperer, who tames and trains avian pets and their owners to live in harmony together.

At the studio, they set up a large white tent to keep the bird in a confined space without having to shoot through the bars of a cage. At first, the canary flitted all over the place in a near frenzy. Then Kiger went to work, spending 15 minutes using super-slow, calm movements to settle and reassure the creature, eventually cupping it gently in both hands and placing it on a table inside the tent.

As the billboard illustration shows, Kiger’s approach worked. And, the canary didn’t even have to get dirty. The soot was added in post-production. All mobank has to do now is figure out what to do with a stuffed canary. Perhaps Art, the wax-replica security guard at the downtown branch, could use a pet.

 

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