Ads reap tax credit benefits, too

METRO – Boston
November 12, 2009

Ben Affleck’s new movie isn’t the only production to choose Boston for shooting. Now, some of America’s biggest brands are choosing Boston and Massachusetts to shoot national ad campaigns. With the Bay State offering a generous 25% tax credit on all commercial production budgets, ad agencies and brands are lining up to take advantage.

LA may have the warm weather, but we have the cold cash.

One such big brand is John Hancock, a household name in the financial services industry. Kathy Kiely, President of The Ad Club, sat down on the “Big Orange Couch” with Jim Bacharach of John Hancock:

Tell us about this new advertising campaign.

It’s called the ‘Cursor Campaign,’ and it portrays people having conversations about personal financial concerns. These conversations used to take place in person but now quite often occur electronically via email and IM. We knew the issues being discussed and the medium would resonate well. It launched last year and this fall we’ve extended it – in television, print and online. Our longtime ad agency Hill Holliday created the campaign for us.

Where did you shoot the commercials?

We filmed throughout the Boston area… a South End cafe, a Cambridge office building and a rail yard in Hyde Park.

How did the Massachusetts tax credit help your ad campaign? 

I had heard about the film tax credit, but learned how well it applied to commercials during a presentation by the MA Film Office. The credit got the conversation started. We started thinking about the wide variety of locations available here. The depth and breadth of production talent and resources quickly became clear and the opportunity to support the local economy was the clincher. Applying for the credit was painless and I think that looking ahead we will always think of Massachusetts first for shooting our commercials.

What does a production like this do for the local economy?
You’d be amazed at the number of people who are involved in the production of a 30 second commercial. We hire dozens of people, and there are also the local services that we purchase, such as transportation and supplies. Not to mention all the restaurants, hotels, and tourist destinations that get extra business.

Anything interesting or surprising happen on set? 

We were on location in the South End and passersby began to collect. Behind us an argument broke out. One person was adamant that this was Ben Affleck’s set. The other person argued that this had to be Tom Cruise’s set because it was “so Tom Cruise.” We didn’t want to burst their bubble.

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