TurnHere to Boost Sales Force to Handle Growth

TurnHere, the Emeryville, Ca. company that uses about 8,000 freelance videographers to film clips for online video ads, says its orders are going to double this year. The firm plans to boost its sales force to accommodate its growth.

About half the company’s business comes from major national and international brands including NBC, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma. Many of the videos created for these big brands are vignettes that focus on people who work for or are customers of the companies, so they share the personal qualities found in the videos for local businesses. For example, a Pottery Barn video ad features Damien Stein, the company’s lighting designer, talking about why he likes his job.

TurnHere COO John McWeeny said the company sold about 11,000 online video ads in 2008. “We are having a tough economy here for a lot of people, but video advertising, the kind of ads we make, is growing really, really well,” he said, referring to the firm’s experience “counter-recession marketing success.”

TurnHere is planning to expand its small staff, particularly its sales force, to deal with the growth. The firm has hired Stan Tiagen as its new VP of sales. Prior to taking the TurnHere post, Tiagen was SVP of worldwide sales for Limbo, a mobile entertainment and mobile networking site.

TurnHere specializes in making online video ads that feature local places and people. “We make videos in which real people are the stars,” McWeeny said. “There are no actors or scripts. It is stuff that’s really gotten traction and a lot of it goes up on YouTube.”

By using local videographers contracted by TurnHere, local businesses save money, McWeeny said. “They (the videographers) are everywhere, so advertisers don’t have to fly around production crews because they’re already local. It’s not the TV model. It’s the Web model.”

TurnHere was launched three years ago, starting out as a travel video destination, but quickly changing into an agency-like filmmaking and distribution service. In 2007, it was hired by SuperPages.com, which liked the idea of using local videographers to create ads with a local flavor. That same year, TurnHere went beyond local, travel, and real estate ads by launching BookVideos.tv in collaboration with book publisher Simon & Schuster. The site serves as a hub for short clips featuring authors and promotions of the company’s titles.

Related reading