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A Day in the Life of Alford Media…in 1995

A Day in the Life of Alford Media…in 1995

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Investigative Commentary by Office Manager: Rachel Hollis

I love history. I am a big ol’ history nerd and I’ve got a BA in History to prove it. So when the opportunity came up to compile a list of important milestones in Alford Media’s history, I eagerly accepted the challenge. I read old Bulletins and Alford INSIDER magazines. I watched every demo and video on Alford’s YouTube channel. In all that research I saw mention of some video called A Day in the Life of Alford Media. At first I did not put much thought into it; I asked Liggett Crim about it and he told me he had it on beta somewhere in his house. As I wrapped up the milestone project, this video was my only loose end. I knew exactly who would have a copy of the video; Director of Creative Support, Rich Tate. I watched it for the first time in Rich’s office several weeks ago and I was immediately curious about its origins.

The video begins with an orange sky and brooding, melancholy music that uses electronic and technology sound effects but struggles to be upbeat. I think the orange sky is supposed to represent the sunrise because the video closes with a shot of the moon over the building. The soundtrack does pick up as the show approaches. My favorite audio section is hearing the show being called. To the roadies, this must seem mundane but I loved the mix of AV verbiage and the emphatic “go!” I even loved the slow transitions and fades of the video. Those must have been cutting edge at the time, but now they appear lax and decidedly unsharp.

Now, to address the most amusing aspect of the video for me…the wardrobe! In this one little five minute video I see both Tom and Steve Alford wearing button down shirts and ties, Gary Scott in jorts (more about that in a minute), and a lot of people in the standard issue burgundy, three button polo. In the almost two years I have worked at Alford Media, I have never seen TA walk into the office wearing a tie. I think I’ve seen Steve wear a tie once and I’m pretty sure it was burgundy.  I wondered as I watched the video if they dressed up just for the shoot? Arguably the best wardrobe choice in the entire video is Gary Scott in “jorts”. For the uninitiated, jean shorts are often called “jorts”. Feel free to Google that term for more information. Sprinkled throughout the video I can spot some familiar faces in those popular burgundy shirts, Curtis Sanders, Clay Youngblood and Wade Diebold to name a few. I had to see it a few more times to really absorb everything. But all that did was create more questions that needed answers.

A Day in the Life of Alford Media transported me to a different world. It took me to an exciting time in Alford Media’s history. We had just launched our official website, the Alford INSIDER was going strong, and we had been named one of the fastest growing companies in DFW. Shortly after this video was produced, we would be named Texas Medium Size Family Business of the Year by the Family Business Institute at Baylor University, the Atlanta branch would be opened, and we would soon break ground at our new Coppell Headquarters.

The questions kept racing through my mind. What was the original intent of this video? Was it a marketing campaign?  Was it an internal video to be shown at the annual company meeting? Was it made to be a snapshot in time? For me, regardless of it’s original purpose, it was like opening a time capsule. It is a snapshot in time…a look into the Alford Media Services of the past, and I wanted to know all about how it was made and how it had been used.

I began my hunt for answers by going back to National Sales Coordinator, Liggett Crim. I knew he had made the video, but why had he been commissioned to do it? It turns out he was inspired to create it based on a video made in a similar style that he had seen at Lockheed. He wanted to be able to show people what we do here at Alford Media. He edited the video on beta and rough cut it machine to machine. Dan Young was the editor. Liggett did have some insight into how it was distributed. He remembers it being utilized for marketing, but for him it was really more about his relationship with Alford Media. I also spoke with Tom Alford about his memories of the video.  He said he did not wear a tie everyday, but when he knew he was going to see clients he definitely would wear a tie. After doing some more digging, I was able to find out more about the marketing scope of the video. I learned from Steve Alford that they used the original beta tape to make hundreds of duplicates on VHS that were mailed to existing and potential clients. Anyone out there remember VHS tapes? In 1995, VHS was the medium that was attainable and easily accessible. In fact, the first commercial DVDs hadn’t even hit the shelves yet. If you went to a Blockbuster back then, you rented a VHS tape.

When I first saw the video I thought it was clunky and out-dated. However, it was a depiction of Alford Media and the technology available in 1995. It showed me a family business with an enthusiasm for customers and technology. Now that I know more about Alford Media’s history, I can appreciate the essence of what Liggett was trying to capture. Even though the styles and technology have changed tremendously, Alford Media’s passion has stayed the same. To quote our mission statement “Our goal is to be the best (not necessarily the biggest) event technology support company in the country.” That still rings true almost twenty years later. The burgundy heart of Alford Media Services is still the same.

Please watch the full video, A Day in the Life of Alford Media, embedded above this post. I hope that you enjoy watching and even re-watching it as much as I have!

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