Dawgs bark in Chicago movie theaters

By Gus Bode

Nearly three million moviegoers in Chicago will get a 30-second peek at SIUC.

Barking Dawg Productions, a branch of SIUC’s marketing division, produced a video advertisement that began showing on 178 movie theater screens in Chicago and another 25 in East St. Louis on Aug. 15, said Terry Clark, the group’s director. Within the first week of September, the same ad is scheduled to appear before every movie in Carbondale and Marion cinemas for 56 days.

Clark said the ad is part of Barking Dawg’s mission to abolish the perception that SIUC is a “party school.” That image keeps parents and high school guidance counselors from recommending Carbondale, he said.


“If SIU is not out there telling its story, that’s our own fault,” said Clark, who criticized the job done by the university’s marketing in the past.

The video begins with cameras pointed at Mallory MacCrimmon, a graduate student from Carbondale studying business. MacCrimmon is captured on film driving the streets of Chicago at night, with an inner-monologue, voiced by local poet Abby Blank. By the time the commercial ends, MacCrimmon’s character has arrived on the SIUC campus for the first time.

MacCrimmon said the production crew told her to act as if she were a recent high school graduate leaving home for college.

Though she was in Chicago last weekend, MacCrimmon, who has appeared in three advertisements for Quick Cash of Carbondale, said she was unable to get to one of the movie theaters in order to see herself on the big screen.

“It was kind of awkward,” MacCrimmon said of filming the video. “They had me driving my friend’s new car in Chicago at 3 a.m. with a camera mounted on it.”

Clark said Barking Dawg created an ad for movie theaters because research suggests that audiences are more attentive to theater plugs than those on television.

David Williamson, a 2007 graduate of SIUC employed on Barking Dawg’s production team, said he, MacCrimmon and the rest of the crew stayed in Chicago for a weekend to scout positions for a prime spot to shoot the video between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.


Ryan Claypool, also employed by Barking Dawg after his May graduation, said he was amused that filmmakers producing the newest installment in the Batman series, “The Dark Knight,” also used some of the locations Barking Dawg recorded.

“So we’re better than Batman,” Claypool said jokingly.

When they returned to southern Illinois, Williamson said the crew took three mornings to film the road sign along Interstate 57 identifying the Carbondale exit ramp, and panoramic views of the campus.

The video may seem flawless to viewers, but Clark said there are a few things, such as dialogue revisions, he would have changed if he were not pressed by deadlines.

This is Barking Dawg’s second year. Graduate assistant Liz Taylor said money to expand has not been as available as she and Clark would have hoped.

“We are working with a budget we’re thrilled to have, but it is limited,” Taylor said.

Along with the movie theater advertisement, Clark said Barking Dawg’s production staff is finalizing SIUC plugs for Chicago radio and videos for the group’s YouTube account.

The advertisement appearing in movie theaters can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnjsWBYbK7M.

Barton Lorimor can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 263 or [email protected].