Company Shows Its Colorful Side Through Reality Web Series

Having difficulty coming up with creative ways to build your business’ brand? Get inspired by the reality web series Canada’s OSY Rentals and Rival Hydrovac have been producing.

Company Shows Its Colorful Side Through Reality Web Series

Interested in Business?

Get Business articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Business + Get Alerts

Cultivating a company image can be tricky and using unscripted, unfiltered video of workers on the job — colorful language included — is not typically part of the plan.

But that’s exactly what OSY Rentals and Rival Hydrovac are doing with their online web series, which launched in spring 2017.

The jointly owned oil field equipment rental company and startup hydrovac manufacturer based in western Canada loosely based the behind-the-scenes miniseries on a reality TV show format.

While they present certain aspects of company operations, and obviously promote brand recognition, the five- to 10-minute episodes aren’t strictly about anything. They aren’t explicitly promoting a new product or service. They’re not an advertisement — they’re just fun.

“It’s brand building, and I think that when people see you on there, your everyday stuff, and they see a little bit of your family, and they see a little bit of your workers, how everybody interacts, they start to get to know you and trust you,” says OSY Rentals general manager Dallas Cairns.

The two companies and their services are highlighted to an extent, but it’s all secondary to employee personalities and shenanigans.

A Big Production

The web series may not be a TV show in the most literal sense, but the idea for it actually did come out of the television industry.

Friend and former OSY Rentals employee Adrian Halter, who now runs his own production company, HalterMedia, was working on a pilot episode for a reality TV series about oil workers in Canada and enlisted Cairns’ help.

Though the project ultimately fell through, Cairns liked the idea of a show about the oil and gas industry and hung onto it even after Halter moved on to different work. Eventually, it led to the creation of a smaller-scale web series about OSY Rentals and Rival Hydrovac.

“We started doing it sort of for fun,” says Tim Dell, head salesman and organizer for Rival Hydrovac. “We started doing it to entertain ourselves and our friends. Then we would send the video to clients and they would often share it.”

Their clients and industry partners ate it up. Before they knew it, the gimmick had become a regular topic of conversation.

“We didn’t have much of a plan,” Halter says. “But we filmed a bunch of stuff, and luckily all those guys are pretty funny on their own without trying to be funny.

“From there it has just grown. We try to keep one-upping ourselves. The first episodes were very basic, and very simple, just at the shop, kind of their day-to-day lives. As the show has grown and expanded, we try different things that are unique.”

For example, one Season 2 episode features the OSY Rentals crew participating in events like the egg toss and tug-of-war at the annual Redneck Games in Major, Saskatchewan.

In a Season 2 episode, the OSY Rentals crew competes in the Redneck Games.
In a Season 2 episode, the OSY Rentals crew competes in the Redneck Games.

“All the while we still try to get the marketing message out for both companies, so that it can also hopefully drive sales,” Halter says. “I mean, they keep getting me to come back, so I think it’s working.”

Crowd Favorite

Traditionally, marketing wisdom dictates a focused approach — directing ad dollars toward a concentrated target. But today’s media landscape allows for many varied marketing opportunities. Within all that, the value of pure entertainment is often overlooked. OSY Rentals and Rival Hydrovac’s reality web series is a prime example of how simple entertainment can be beneficial from a marketing standpoint.

“Customers will send us pictures of them on a Friday afternoon, in their boardroom, drinking beer with the show up on a projector screen,” Cairns says. “I don’t think there’s a way to quantify it as far as sales go, but as long as they’re watching it, we’re calling it a win.”

It distinguishes the company because it is very obviously not a sales pitch.

“I just tell everybody I run into to watch it, because I think it makes them less inclined to think of you as just another sales guy,” Dell says. “It would be hard for me to say we got this job or that job because of this. We just think it works in general, and we figure we’re going to spend this much money on marketing anyway — the costs to do the show are not that bad and we see value in it.”

Tim Dell and Dallas Cairns in a Season 1 episode of the show.
Tim Dell and Dallas Cairns in a Season 1 episode of the show.

The web series isn’t the two companies’ only quirky outreach effort: They also hold an annual hockey pool that customers and partners are encouraged to participate in, complete with prizes, and have a series of spices and dips that play off their brand.

“As with most marketing efforts, it is tough to put an exact number to results, but we just keep doing it and keep our name out there. Provided we stay busy, we keep going without questioning it,” Dell says.

As far as what it takes to make a web series, Cairns and Dell say it’s not as time-consuming as you’d think. On average there are two days of shooting per episode, but since the show isn’t scripted or staged, most of the filming happens while the crews are going about their normal work.

“We don’t disrupt our work to do it hardly. Maybe after work we’ll do a bit, but a lot of the filming is actually during work,” Dell says. “It’s not like a script, where they stop working, we don’t do that.”

It’s not the only multimedia marketing the company does either: A pair of promotional videos on the Rival Hydrovac website are more traditional video advertisements for that particular product. Right below that are recent photos showing new trucks that have gone out to customers, in addition to photos of employees.

“I’m really surprised at how few people do video marketing,” Halter says. “There’s a lot of people that don’t, and they have interesting companies, or interesting products, and a great team. They should be sharing that.”

Fun and Functional

“I believe it helps in that people get an impression before they meet us, like these guys are pretty much normal. I think it makes us a bit more approachable,” Dell says. “They can watch the show and they feel like they got to know us a bit, and got a feel for what we’re about.”

Season 3 of the show just finished in the spring, and the OSY Rentals and Rival Hydrovac employees are already looking toward doing a fourth season in the fall.

“Obviously we feel it is worth the effort, if we’re going to keep doing it. If you’re going to be in business you’ve got to do marketing — why not make it fun,” Cairns says. “Until I can see that there is serious interest lost, then we’re going to keep doing it.”

You can check out the first three seasons of the web series at OSY Rentals’ website.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.