If Victoria’s seemed more fun and interesting at night recently, there’s a good reason why. David Bain from Surge Ahead Productions leads the charge of a new generation of promoters who are bringing diversity, meaning, and excitement to the Capital City when the round lights come on after dusk. I sat down with David recently and caught up with him over a coffee at the Moka House in Cook Street Village. He shared his perspective on promoting and the philosophy behind his production company:
DG: What is Surge Ahead Productions, and what does Surge Ahead specialize in?
DB: Surge Ahead in a nut shell is a “new age” marketing company that focuses on breeding generational ideas/theories/trends into traditional business models. Focusing on this strategy we specialize in event marketing, social media, visual graphic design, marketing plans, and videography.
DG: How did you start Surge Ahead Productions?
DB: I started Surge Ahead while working on my BBA. I was fed up, doing assignments that had no application. I started scheming how I could double dip my business life with my post-secondary life. Surge merged shortly after as a marketing company that focused on events. To date, we give post-secondary students a foundation to double-dip and create “real-world” business experience.
DG: What is your vision for the company? What kind of events do you make it a mission to produce?
DB: My vision is to create Surge as a leader in generational marketing. Many people believe marketing is part of sales or events – these people are outside the loop of marketing. My goal is to show clients true marketing and what it can achieve.
The event business is tricky. Overall I want to create events that have a lasting impression and that aren’t empting pockets. I think it’s important where applicable to brand or bring awareness to non-profit organizations in events as well, it’s a free source of advertising for them and really doesn’t cost the event management much thought.
DG: Are there any causes that you feel strongly about that have an interaction with your events? Do you feel that makes a difference to your customers?
DB: I am not particular to any one cause. I am open and willing to support any cause that has direct sources of funding or can allow for programs that deposit directly to outcomes. Let me give you an example. About a year ago I asked one of my sponsors Reef to directly fund a surf camp for 15 kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters Victoria. It went off, the kids had a great time, the staff gained a huge experience and there was no distribution to causes outside these kids experience. Events wise I have had Surfrider Foundation, Ski Patrol, and Big Brothers Big Sisters all in attendance to breed some awareness. Does it make a difference to the attendees? Yes, it engages attendees directly and educates them on their causes rather. Really it creates an unpressured environment that lends a hand to creating positive future come out-comes to non-profit organizations.
DG: What are some of the challenges that the Victoria market presents for a production company?
DB: The Victoria market is like no other. The main issue that event producers have within Victoria is the lack of venue space between 200-400 and 600-1000 capacity and the issue that arises from only having two clubs that do weekend shows. This means that competition for larger name acts increases because sell-outs are harder and local bands seemed to be over-looked. So in the end producers are very tight on who they are bringing as attempt to control their respected market. At Surge we are focused on local first, if you have draw and a great sound we want you on board.
DG: Who has been an influence in the kind of shows you do?
DB: I couldn’t say that I have had one influencer in the event business. Any event that creates a vibe in the room and makes people walk away chatting about it influences me to keep going. On the marketing side of things I have been mentored/influence by Dan Dagg (Hot House Marketing), Frank Palmer (DDB Canada), Joan Yates (Camosun College), and Cynthia Wrate (Camosun College).
DG: What has been your favourite production to date? What made it stand out for you?
DB: My favourite to show to date has to be my second show at the late Steamers Pub in Victoria BC. I had Jon Middleton from Jon and Roy and Shane Philip play an amazing show that made sweat feel good. Everyone walked away from the show happy including me, just a really great energy that has stuck with me to this date.
DG: Who has been instrumental in your success? Who would you like to thank?
DB: Anyone client, sponsor or attendee has been instrumental in my success and I am thankful for how lucky I am to be living the dream.
DG: What sets Surge Ahead apart from other production companies?
DB: What sets us apart in the event industry is we treat everyone equally and leave the egos at the door. We always focus on rewarding where rewards are due. Whether we are giving free hand outs from sponsors to attendees or cutting down on ticket costs or mission is to create a event you want to come back to. On the marketing side of things we are different by the mere fact that our team is made up of the best and brightest in their respected market while all being part of Generation Y, X, or Z. We know the latest trends because we are living in them. Why hold back on traditional mediums when the world is changing at the blink of a eye?
Surge Ahead’s next show is Friday, April 2nd at Lucky Bar, featuring AFK & Vince Vacarro (DJ Set), Toby Emerson, and Natron.