December 24, 2013

Portland ad agency dreaming of a Bowie Christmas

The company hopes to get the rock star to record one of its songs.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

In this season of sugar-coated dreams, John Coleman may have the sweetest dream of all.

click image to enlarge

The Via Agency in Portland put this video together in the hope that it will attract the attention of rock star David Bowie and entice him to record a Christmas song written by employees of the ad agency. CEO John Coleman acknowledges that the campaign is a shot in the dark, but says he likes to dream big.

Via Agency video

CLICK HERE to watch the 'Get it to Bowie' video.

Coleman, CEO and founder of the Via Agency, will show up at the office Tuesday and go about his day. All the while, he will keep one eye on the door in hopes that an unexpected visitor will show up with a last-minute gift.

The Portland marketing agency has created a social-media campaign designed to get the attention of rock star David Bowie. It is asking – begging, really – Bowie to record one of the Christmas songs the agency’s employees wrote and recorded for the annual Christmas greeting that it distributes to clients, vendors and friends.

“The likelihood of getting David Bowie to record anything is minute,” Coleman admitted Monday. “But that does not dilute the message that we felt was important: In these challenging times, we all carry around a few dreams. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re putting ourselves out there by celebrating creativity and dreaming big.”

The agency, which is based in the Baxter Building in Portland, asked employees to write songs for the holiday CD. The Via House Band recorded six of them, then issued a call to Bowie via

The site includes ways to tweet at Bowie and his buddies, including Mick Jagger, to pressure him to record a song. There’s even a “Are You David Bowie?” link for Bowie himself to click if he decides to participate. There are videos to view, and all six songs are available as audio files.

There’s also a charitable component, with a link where people can donate money to Embrace a Vet, a Maine agency that supports veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Via made a $10,000 donation, Coleman said.

So far, about 1,000 people have tweeted to Bowie, he said. Another 3,000 or so have watched the video that Via made for the song “A Merry Feast,” recorded at Matthew’s Pub in Portland.

The idea, Coleman said, is to have fun, support a cause and generate publicity for the agency.

And who knows? Maybe Bowie will decide to play along.

Stranger things have happened.

“The aim of this project, and everything we do, is to connect with people and inspire them and make them feel something. In this case we wanted to make them laugh a little bit and maybe convince them they should have their own dream coming into the new year. It may be far-fetched, but why not?”

A representative for Bowie could not be reached.

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

Twitter: pphbkeyes

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)