Backyard has added Xander™ to the roster, a deft storyteller whose natural facility with talent – including celebrities, sports figures and non-actors – has produced a reel featuring a host of outstanding brands. Xander™ comes over to Backyard from multi-faceted production studio East Pleasant.
“Backyard is going through a very exciting time of evolution right now, and Xander™ joining us adds an extremely valuable ingredient to our company.” states Backyard President/Partner Blair Stribley. ”He’s done some really strong traditional commercial work, but he also has an impressive body of work that he calls “the weird stuff.” That’s his longer branded projects requiring a range of unique skills, from conceptual thinking to customized problem solving. In that regard, Xander is a perfect compliment to our other newer directors: Kim Nguyen and Seth Townsend.
A former agency producer at JWT NY, Xander™ was given an opportunity to direct in-house at the agency, and found his true calling. After leaving JWT and teaming with East Pleasant, he became known for his ability to pull off unexpected production challenges outside of the realm of traditional advertising: first, for creating 268 live commercials to announce ESPN Sportscenter’s expanded live schedule (collaborating with Weiden + Kennedy NY), and next, for directing Royal Caribbean’s Postcards from the Sea, the first campaign shot, edited and broadcast entirely from the middle of the ocean (teaming with his former agency JWT). Xander™ called East Pleasant home for five years.
“East Pleasant was a great experience for me, but this move is an opportunity to reintroduce myself as a director and show how I have evolved,” notes Xander™. “Backyard already feels like home. It’s the type of environment that is ideal for the progression of my craft, and is a great fit for the sense of integrity I believe in bringing to my productions.” Xander™ has already been awarded his first job at Backyard for Gillette and BBDO NY.
In the past several years, Xander™ has successfully straddled the worlds of traditional advertising and branded storytelling. Recently, Xander™ directed 9 episodic spots for Covergirl starring Holland Roden for the exclusive sponsorship of the MTV VMA’s, dozens of films for Chevrolet Malibu to highlight their design partnership with Isaac Mizrahi, and a new campaign for Ultimat vodka out of Almagamated (now Silver & Partners). Xander™’s reel also features recent spots for Royal Caribbean, Yahoo!, the NFL, Adidas, HSBC, and Kenmore.
“I have been friends with Xander™ for years, watching him rise from an agency producer to an in-house director at JWT to a very successful director at East Pleasant,” notes Backyard Partner Chris Zander. “I’ve been intimately aware of his work forever, but when he showed me his newest reel this fall, I was blown away, and I shared it with everybody else here. They immediately got it, and were equally excited. And when he came over and met everybody, it became obvious in about 5 minutes that we had to work together.”