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Have you seen the new HGTV promos?! These 10- to 30-second spots are a different take on the network’s “Start at Home” promotion. If you haven’t seen the new spots, a few of my favorites are in the player above. Be prepared: they just might tug at some heartstrings.

Chris Martin and Jennifer Leitman, who head up the HGTV Brand Promotion team, shared a little about the process for creating a new promotion. “Everything starts at home,” Jennifer said. “Think about it. Really, the best moments surround our homes and community. Right now, more than ever, people are hanging out at home.” The camping spot (featured above) is a story from Jennifer’s own family. “We took our daughter camping a couple summers ago. It was a blast! She was four years old and our tent was full of everything she loved. We had stuffed animals, books, favorite toys, the family dog, you name it. The funny part was that our tent was pitched about ten feet from our back door. This wasn’t some big park experience. We were right outside our house in our little suburban neighborhood.”

It was a challenge for the promotion team to narrow down what special family moments made it to the air. “These are the best of times, the quiet little things that make home so great and comfortable.” Jennifer said. Planning storylines and images was only part of the creative process. Also critical was the music selection. It took some time but the team found a talented, quirky singer/songwriter/composer named Mike Ruekberg.

Mike and Peggy

Mike Ruekberg and pet pig, Peggy at home in LA.

Mike said he spent his 20s trying to be a rock star. I’d say. His band Rex Daisy was signed by Geffen Records and he has spent plenty of time on stage and in the recording studio. In 2002, he moved from the Midwest to Los Angeles where he focuses on writing music for television and film. He considers his song “Years” to be his biggest hit thus far. The song is featured in the first few minutes of the Adrian Brody film, Dummy. “It’s a star-packed heartwarming movie,” he said.

Mike does heartwarming well. His song “Trail of Stars” is the perfect backdrop for the new “Start at Home” spots. “Thirty or sixty seconds in a promo is just a sample of what Mike did. The song in its entirety stands very well on its own,” Chris said. “Mike’s a great singer/songwriter, and we were very lucky to have his talents on the campaign.” Click here to see more of these spots. Scroll down a little and look for the player on the right side of the screen.

I listened to snippets of Mike’s song numerous times preparing for this blog post. I am a fan. I particularly like the lyrics (below). Thanks, Mike, for sharing them. 

“Trail of Stars” 
It’s got warm familiar laughter like music in the air.
It’s got all my favorite people living there.
It’s where we make new memories and share the old,
and each story just gets better every time it’s told.

There’s no place else that I would rather be, so keep the porch light burning bright for me.
I’ll leave a trail of stars to show me the way home.
No matter how far this journey takes me,
I know the stars point the way to go, they always lead me home.
(Go to Mike’s website to hear a bonus verse!)

“I’m excited that so many people are going to hear my song,” Mike said adding that he is proud to be featured on HGTV. He and his girlfriend and his pet pig, Peggy, (along with few other critters) are in the market for a new home. “All I need is a nice kitchen, a place to do my music and a place for my pig.” Mike, I hope you find a trail of stars leading to your new home.

What do you think of these new “Start at Home” promos? Do you have any particularly poignant family memories you’d like to share? You never know. You could see your family’s special moment on HGTV.

*If you are a fan of the “Start at Home” spots that feature Angelo Surmelis, Kim Myles and others, don’t worry. They will be back.



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