Seng’s latest: contest for best craft beer commercial

Rich Seng

Ad pros, aspiring creatives, and beer lovers are filling Logan Square blues club Rosa’s Lounge on April Tuesdays.  They’re gathering to brainstorm 30-second spots to enter in the Chicago Craft Brew Advertising Competition.

“It should be crazy fun, like ‘Mad Men meets American Idol,’” says impresario Rich Seng of Gigity.TV, which streams video of each session.

So far, 34 breweries have posted creative briefs to the contest website.  Contestants have until April 29 to submit pitches.  On April 30, each brewer will announce its selected pitch at Rosa’s.  Each chosen writer then has four weeks to assemble a team and produce a spot for the brewery. 

“This contest is open to advertising professionals, students, amateurs, and especially beer lovers, who, whether they know it or not, possess many insights that can be translated into helping a brewery find its ‘voice’ and produce a great commercial,” Seng says.

Every team gets a keg’s worth of beer from the brewery they’re promoting, with cash prizes for the top three spots.  They screen May 29 at the Double Door, overseen by a panel of three agency judges.  The audience will vote for the winners.

“The ‘craft scene’ represents a desire on the part of communities to be more connected to the everyday things we consume, and this goes beyond beer,” Seng says.  “It’s an attitude of people living more richly when they are supporting the personality and economy of their city and neighborhood.”

Last fall Seng organized the first 30 Seconds Over Chicago, a contest to create spots for small businesses, mostly in Wicker Park, with judges from Ogilvy & Mather, Leo Burnett, and Doejo.  Seng expects to finalize judges for the Craft Brew Ad Contest in May.

“Some of the filmmakers in the last contest were already gainfully employed in the advertising world, and others were film students looking for an opportunity to get noticed and hired,” Seng says.  “Either way, industry folk always need to keep their portfolio up-to-date with content that showcases their ideas, which is often not an option when you work for an agency with a meddlesome client.”

Seng specializes in DVDs and many types of live contests

Since moving to Wicker Park in 1995, Seng has produced 30 compilation DVDs and CDs featuring local artists, funded with promos for neighborhood businesses.

He’s also put on a series of live contests, including rap battles, game shows, and beauty pageants, often at the Double Door.

For the Miss Wicker Park pageant in 2010, Seng installed a live video streaming rig that became the model for, which provides video streaming and archiving services to a range of music and comedy venues. 

“We make it hands free so that a venue can stay focused on their core operations while our automation technology manages the camera switching and video production,” Seng says.

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