MAYER BROTHERS CIDER FOR M&T BANK

Garett Mayer climbing ladder in an apple orchard. Garett is the 5th generation owner of Mayer Brothers Cider Mill in the Western NY town of West Seneca. Garett, The 165 year old cider press, and surrounding orchards were photographed as part of a success stories campaign for M&T Bank, with which Mayer Brothers has been doing business for 90+ years.

I made a frantic dash to the store to buy a new pair of rain boots the night before this shoot.

We knew it was going to be a wet morning long before my team and I headed out to Gasport NY for a shoot at New Royal Orchards. The motion crew for this project had been there a few days before to shoot the broadcast component of this campaign, and it rained the whole day on their shoot. In fact, it had been raining heavily for the better part of a week (or maybe it was weeks? Hello, Western New York in the autumn!) before our pre-dawn arrival at the orchard to photograph Garett Mayer in what we thought was going to be a torrential downpour. We were suited up in new boots, rain jackets, and equipped with enough umbrellas, covers, and sandbags to keep the gear dry and in one place (because who wants to chase runaway umbrellas on a windy day?) We were ready for anything from a flood to windstorm…

…But what we got was a light drizzle and a gorgeous sunrise; however, the boots still helped with our early morning trek through the mud as we carted gear out to those perfect rows of apple trees that we had scouted at New Royal. If you can’t tell, I come from a long line of “I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it” types — here’s to being passionately in to over-preparation!

Garett Mayer standing amongst apples and trees at Royal Orchards. Garett is the 5th generation owner of Mayer Brothers Cider Mill in the Western NY town of West Seneca. Garett, The 165 year old cider press, and surrounding orchards were photographed as part of a success stories campaign for M&T Bank, with which Mayer Brothers has been doing business for 90+ years.

In the last few months of 2018 we spent several weeks working with the kick-ass team at Crowley Webb on a series of print ads for M&T Bank to accompany the commercials that were being shot by the aforementioned (and also kick-ass) film crew — you can see their spot here. We created portraits in Buffalo NY, Harrisburg PA, and Baltimore MD, that focused on successful businesses and community organizations that had strong relationships with the bank — and worked at locations that ranged from rain-soaked orchards, to funky ice cream parlors, to an NFL playing field. Some were chosen for their growth & success, some for the quirky appeal of their business, and others for their legacy & longevity in their communities.

Garett Mayer is the 5th generation owner of a cider mill and growing beverage business that’s over 165 years old. In fact, it’s one of the oldest family-owned businesses in all of New York State, and their relationship with M&T has lasted for over 90 years.

How’s that for longevity?

Garett Mayer sitting on an apple crate at New Royal Orchards in Gasport NY at sunrise. Garett is the 5th generation owner of Mayer Brothers Cider Mill in the Western NY town of West Seneca. Garett, The 165 year old cider press, and surrounding orchards were photographed as part of a success stories campaign for M&T Bank, with which Mayer Brothers has been doing business for 90+ years.

A trip to the Mayer Brothers store for fresh hot cider and donuts is a REQUIRED fall activity in Buffalo, and I’m pretty sure that autumn would actually get put on hold and Halloween delayed if the mill and store failed to open — you have to go at least once (the apple is our state fruit for a reason).

And as important tradition a visit to Mayer Brothers is for many, it’s easy to lose sight of the enormous amount of work that goes into products like cider — from planting, cultivation, and harvest to pressing & bottling. That’s why it’s so endearing to experience Garett’s connection with and deep reverence for the farmers that grow apples for Mayer Brothers in person. As we spoke with him during the shoot and in between setups he told the crew and I what qualities he’s looking for in the apples they press into cider, the relationship that he has with the orchards, how he plans to grow the business, and about his family history in the area — going back to the beginning when his great-great-grandfather bought the cider mill to serve as a place that farmers and families could bring their apple harvests to be pressed.

Garett Mayer holding an apple amongst the trees at New Royal Orchards in Gasport NY. Garett is the 5th generation owner of Mayer Brothers Cider Mill in the Western NY town of West Seneca. Garett, The 165 year old cider press, and surrounding orchards were photographed as part of a success stories campaign for M&T Bank, with which Mayer Brothers has been doing business for 90+ years.

The final ads are below, and I’ll be sharing even more stories of incredible businesses from this campaign in the coming months. This was one of the most fulfilling and fun projects for me to work on last year because the subject matter is so close to what I am interested in as a photographer (and it doesn’t hurt that the team from the agency and the client have been incredible to work with!). I’ve spent so much time documenting the journeys, struggles, and successes of unique entrepreneurs, makers, and doers in Buffalo — and now I’ve been given the opportunity to help tell those stories on a much bigger stage and in other cities across America through this project. I can’t wait to share more with you.


Quick Questions with Smart People – David Buck

This is the first in a series of interviews and profiles I will be conducting with a number of professionals in fields related to photography; agency buyers, reps, designers,  producers, technology professionals, and more. This series is specifically aimed at the emerging photographer and those taking their first steps into the the realm of of being a professional freelancer, hopefully to answer some of the questions they may have and to help quell some of the fear and anxiety of being in such a complex and ever changing industry. These interviews may also shed some light on the rapid ways in which our industry is changing from day to day due to new technology, ideas in business, and ever improving forms of media delivery.

Today I speak with David Buck about how photographers can better market themselves to agencies and how agencies are starting to view promotions received through certain media channels. David is the president and creative director at Crowly Webb and Associates, a Buffalo, NY based advertising agency handling clients such as: Independent Health, The Buffalo Bills, Kodak, and M&T Bank.

LC: There has been a lot of discussion regarding a decline in the effectiveness of  e-promos through services like Agency Access and Adbase. Are these still an effective marketing tool or has the sheer number of users become so overwhelming that its getting harder to stand out from the pack?

DB: I delete emails from photographers to the tune of about 5 a day. so i would say that it is becoming less effective. I do click through on people i know or admire, or occasionally on an image that catches my eye.

LC: Would an emerging photographer be better off putting their budget into printed promotional pieces than electronic marketing pieces? Do simple postcards and mailers still suffice or are agencies looking for more unique and one of a kind promotional pieces to grab their attention?

DB: Generally, I would say that a mix is best.

LC: Have you seen any truly creative or memorable marketing pieces in the recent past? anything that really stands out as a truly effective marketing piece from a photographer?

DB: The first thing that comes to mind is a blog that Forest McMullin of Rochester is doing, from a long term location assignment, different and interesting and in keeping with what he does.

LC: What should young photographers keep in mind when putting a website together that provides an effective user experience for agencies and other buyers?

DB: Well, it is all about the images, no surprise. The site needs to load fast and be easy to navigate. Don’t you hate when the next button jumps around the page, like when a horizontal follows a vertical? Me too.

LC: In terms of website and printed portfolios, how much variation between site and portfolio are agencies expecting? Should the website serve as a sample of a larger work contained in the book. Or should they be direct reflections of each other?

DB: Ideally, the shooter will do a little homework and tailor the presentation to the clients of that agency. the website would remain a general intro.

LC:  How important are in person meetings and portfolio reviews in developing a relationship with an agency? What is the best way for an emerging photographer to get their work in front of a buyer in person?

DB: Good question. In this era, it is much more challenging to create face to face relationships. The approach has to mirror the personality and the business plan of the shooter. For instance, if a guy wants to do exotic location stuff, he needs to concentrate on those buyers who need that, and set about systematically developing relationships that will help him reach that goal.

LC: With the current changes and advances in how advertisers, brands, and publishers are delivering media, should emerging photographers be prepared to at least be competent in capturing motion or purposing still images for rich media? likewise, are rich media tear sheets and portfolio pieces becoming more valuable to photographers in the changing market?

DB: it is an ever-growing part of the mix, so yes.

LC:  Do you have any tips or suggestions for emerging photographers trying to leverage social media channels for their marketing? Has social media become a viable channel for making one’s work visible to new buyers, or is it more effective as a way to keep current and preexisting clients updated?

DB: Social media could be appropriate for trolling or keeping in touch.Although something more direct or customized like a visit or an e-mail seems better for the keeping in touch part. Social media may be good for people to share what they are doing, Luke is in India! Luke has switched to tea! just getting more people interested in who you are.