Titan shopping goes viral

In Arts & Entertainment
Photo by Eleonor Segura

Take a look at the TV on your next visit to the campus bookstore, because you might just see one of the new Titan Shops commercials.

The commercials, which began airing in August, serve to promote sales and show features of the stores that fellow Titans might not yet be aware of.

Originally the bookstore had the idea of hosting a video contest that would accept submissions campus wide.

When there was no response, Titan Shop employees Billy Ngo, a computer programing major, and David Amirian, an alumnus who majored in film, stepped up to the plate.

Ngo, who graduates in the spring, said he is a commuter student like many of his peers on campus.

Once he goes to class and work, he heads home right after.

Amirian, who graduated in 2008, has kept his job at the bookstore but also works at another job off campus.

He enjoys making videos, which explains the collaboration with his co-worker to take on production the Titan Shops commercials.

Amirian had created similar videos a couple years ago for the bookstore, but Ngo’s help made the long process easier.

Both use their own equipment and film at local places such as the bookstore, local parks and areas around campus to keep the setting familiar and cost to a minimum.

Their average cost per video is about $100-$150. Using YouTube and the bookstore TV to air their product helps their budget.

Money provided for the commercials is used to purchase small props and pay actors.

Ngo said they cast actors for the commercials by sending out an email to coworkers. Whoever is available lands the role.

Participating bookstore employees get paid for their time and effort.

Alyssa Santiago, a Titan Shop employee, was one of the lucky ones to snag a role by responding to the casting email.

The actress of the commercial titled “Engagement” said along with getting paid, she enjoyed her experience.

“It’s just a fun thing to do. All of us at Titan Shops are really close, I like to call them my Titan Shop family,” said Santiago.

Ngo and Amirian said they try not to reuse the same people, so different co-workers can get a chance to participate.

They also found that it is more enjoyable for employees who already know each other.

The duties of pre-production, writing, filming and post-production are split between the two.

Editing the commercials can require a couple days. Hours of recorded footage may translate into a minute-long clip.

Most of the commercials are parodies. Amirian said that in the end, the videos are actually funny and turn out better than expected.

Currently, one commercial is created per month. Amirian and Ngo finished a low price guarantee commercial and are in the process of writing another one which will most likely be a parody of TV show 24.

To date, there are three commercials that students can see on the YouTube channel appropriately named TitanShops.

“We’re trying to educate people about stuff that’s happening in the bookstore,” Amirian said. “It bring up things that are less known about the store.”

Promoting lesser known programs shows fellow Titans what they can benefit from.

Future commercials might include how the bookstore offers rentals, digital textbooks (e-books) and other programs.

Commercials air both in the bookstore and online. The Titan Shops YouTube Channel has 545 hits.

Anyone can see the comedic commercials created by Titans can stop by the bookstore or see  them on their YouTube Channel TitanShops.

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