After Jennie-O Turkey, in the words Barry Lynch, Senior Vice President of Retail, "rolled out a new formula" for turkey bacon and turkey sausage, it was time to make the necessary breakfast commercial to promote it.
Their theme would be “giving America a wake-up call” and what better town to wake up, they thought, than sleepy Sleepy Hollow.
So, rather than the draw of our super-suburban neighborhoods, our picturesque lighthouse, our historic , it was really all in the name first. Then the super-suburban picturesque historicness.
The film crew began Wednesday in the heart of Philipse Manor, on the street actually, as they set up tables and green balloons in the middle of Highland Street where a mix of invited residents and extras were sampling and reacting to the food on film. At one point, the loud street sweeper went past the set. A little further down the road, the encroached. But the producers seemed fine with reality and not just the postcard.
So much so that on Thursday, the crew of some 75 workers, all their vehicles and tons of equipment will make their way to Beekman Avenue where they are filming firetrucks coming out of the firehouse, and then at several storefronts (, , and maybe a few others who surprisingly haven't responded yet to the offer to be paid for the trouble). They are filming somewhat “guerilla-style,” said the producers, approaching real people in real towns.
B-roll (not the main action but background footage) will include a few of those scenic, historic offerings (lighthouse, church, kayakers). On Tuesday night some may have witnessed that surreal cavalcade of green and white Jennie-O trucks passing through neighborhoods as they filmed themselves invading our town.
As much as the commercial will promote their breakfast options – the turkey in its various forms comes in breakfast sandwiches, which 1,000 of us will get to – it really will promote Sleepy Hollow to the nation, “in a big way,” said Brian Kroening, creative director of the ad agency, BBDO Proximity. We may have missed out on Halloween last year (snowstorm) but the tourism gods seem to be blessing us lately with a and now turkey products.
The commercials, in which many people (just how many residents is unknown) and places of Sleepy Hollow will be so prominently featured, will air nationally in September and October and finally in a spot during the World Series. The free breakfast on Saturday doled out in the lot across from Village Hall will also be filmed and probably live for a bit on the company's Facebook page.
Main parties responsible for all this onslaught of equipment, vehicles and people include the Minnesota-based offshoot of the Hormel company, the ad agency out of Minneapolis, and the Boston-based production company Red Tree Productions.
Have questions for these folks while they film? Everyone watching live footage under the tent in their director's chairs were more than happy to have me come sit with them, partake of the catering, and talk Sleepy Hollow and turkey. The BBDO guy even called his wife, a pediatrician, with my worries about my heat-lethargic toddler. But she was just playing the part.