SpareFoot recently debuted its first series of web videos, featuring the tagline, “We Can Store That.”

This is the company’s first foray into launching digital video of this caliber and the release of the three-part series is a momentous occasion for our startup.

The videos each highlight an unusual storage situation, hopefully to capture the attention and imagination of those consumers who might benefit from the company’s services in the future.

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Hua Liu of Tilted Chair helped SpareFoot craft its new series of web videos.

“We created characters that were a little bit out of the ordinary, but wanted to put them in situations that are kind of relatable,” said Hua Liu, a partner at Tilted Chair Creative—the Austin, TX-based advertising firm that created the spots.

Beefy auditions

Liu said that each of the spots offered their own unique creative—and physical challenges.

Take for  example the first spot, called “The Brockwells”, which features a family so obsessed with working out they don’t quite know what to do with the sudden arrival of books at their gym.

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Finding the perfect person to play Ace Brockwell was no easy task.

“Casting the people, who needed to be very muscly, was the most difficult part,” Liu said.

Finding the right folks for the part proved tricky, so Tilted Chair tweaked the characters to make them more of an outlandish family of professional wrestlers.

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“We had to do a lot of going to gyms and talking to trainers and getting recommendations,” Liu said.

Tilted Chair ended up casting husband and wife personal trainers, Tye and Chip Pierpong, for the role. Actor Jett Saustrup plays the Kool-aid drinking kid Brockwell.

Finding the spokesperson

Tilted Chair found the perfect spokesperson for the three spots in actor Alisha Banks.

“Alisha didn’t come across as an actor. Put her in front of the camera and she was a complete natural,” Liu said.

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Alisha Banks hams it up as SpareFoot’s spokesperson in the video spots.

Banks, whose day job is as a team lead for Indeed.com, said she pretty much was playing herself.

“Those are the best roles,” Banks said, “I had the benefit of just reacting to these crazy situations.”

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Banks said she auditions for projects in Austin about once a week, and has been in commercials for Dairy Queen, AT&T and several internal training videos. While she has never used storage, she said if she did she would mostly likely stash her growing collection of Southwest paraphernalia which includes dried tumbleweeds and antique wagon wheels.

“I am really obsessed with the Southwest,” Banks said.

What kind of movie is this???

Perhaps the funniest behind the scenes tale took place leading up to the shoot for “Dark Secret”. In the spot an older couple, played by Gayland Williams and Richard Dodwell, find out their daughter is making a surprise visit. Little does she know that her parents turned her bedroom into a bondage dungeon.

Liu said finding the right set for the shoot was a bit of a challenge, so they turned to Airbnb where they eventually found the perfect room and made a booking. It was the homeowner’s first time renting out a room using the service.

Actors preparing to shoot their scene for "Dark Secret"
Actors preparing to shoot their scene for “Dark Secret”

When scouting the location, Liu said, “We made a mental note that they had a lot of crosses and religious quotes, so we had to make sure these people were okay with the content.”

Liu gave them the script, but apparently the family didn’t read it.

“The Monday before the shoot we pre-dressed the room and brought in our props. That evening we got frantic texts and voicemails from the husband,” Liu said.

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The daughter actually came home that night and popped into her room to get something only to find quite a surprise.

“We were freaked out that we might have lost the location, luckily we called them and told them that it is not what it looks likes and everything was in good taste,” Liu said.

“Fin”-ishing touches

For the final spot, “Merpeople”, Tilted Chair was tasked with portraying a use case for SpareFoot’s recently launched Full-Service Storage offering in which a provider comes and picks up your belongings for you and takes them to storage.

Stephen Kirkman and Cassadie Peterson were brilliantly cast as the bratty mer-couple, but needed the right wardrobe to really sell the concept.

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“We didn’t realize this at the time, but there is a pretty big subculture of people who dress up as mermaids and swim,” Liu said. “There were a few vendors that made silicon tails, luckily one of those people was close to our office.”

That vendor is Sirenalia, and is actually one of only a handful of companies that make lifelike mermaid tails. Co-owner Maria Russo, who identifies as a mermaid, said her company has made 35 tails for clients since starting the company three years ago. Each tail is custom made and costs about $2,000 and up.The tails are neutrally buoyant and come equipped with a built in free-diving fin.

The tails from the Merpeople ad are handmade by a vendor in Austin, Sirenalia.
The tails from the Merpeople ad are handmade by a vendor in Austin, Sirenalia.

“You can actually swim better with one of our tails than without,” Russo said.

Russo said this is the second time the company has rented tails for a commercial, they have also supplied tails for music videos and the television show Supernatural. Sirenalia also does birthday parties, photo shoots, and mermaid retreats.

That’s a wrap

Special thanks to the Tilted Chair crew for everything!
Special thanks to the Tilted Chair crew for everything!

SpareFoot is distributing spots on YouTube, Facebook and on their own landing pages.

Tilted Chair writer and associate producer Savannah Clements directed the three spots and served as co-writer. Tilted Chair designer Nina Sanchez served as production designer.

Watch each video below and get to know our crazy cast of storage customers a little better:

Video 1: The Brockwells

Video 2: Dark Secret

Video 3: Merpeople

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Alexander Harris