According to the byline on Allan Carver’s Instagram page, the Hubbards resident is “putting a little more creativity into the world.”
But that may be describing what Carver does rather mildly.
After all, the former advertising executive quit the corporate world about two years ago to focus solely on more creative projects that would get noticed.
As such, he has hand-built everything from a lifelike 17-foot-long dinosaur, to a real-life version of the Angry Birds video game, to a remote-control, driveable TIE Fighter — one of the Star Wars film franchise's most iconic pieces.
“I figured if I couldn’t do it for me, how can I look a client straight in the face and say I can do it for them?” explains Carver about the motivation to craft the Star Wars replica using used and recycled parts. “I got so much media out of that, I can look any client in the eye and say if we do something bold enough and out there enough, you won’t have to pay anything for media — they’ll just (cover) it on their own.”
Quitting what he calls the “obsolete” world of traditional advertising, Carver came about his new calling organically.
While designing a giant bicycle with a bubble machine attached to it, Carver contacted the Discovery Centre for additional research. However, Halifax’s interactive science museum quickly took an interest in the project and asked to attach their name to the bubble bike.
“It took what Discovery Centre did, and it took it out of the building and put it on the streets,” says Carver. The bubble bike was such a hit, the Discovery Centre began receiving requests for it to show up at other events around HRM.
“(In advertising), you never really got into the trenches to see the reactions of the work that you were doing,” adds Carver. “The stuff I’m doing now, one of the goals with any client or anything that I do is, let’s bring a little more joy to the world.”
Carver soon realized the promotional perks of his unique innovations — building a partnership with clients in need of creative marketing solutions. He opened a workshop in a retail space in Hubbards and called it the Mad Secret Lab — and he’s been busy ever since.
About a year ago, Carver partnered with the Spring Garden Road Business Association and created a mini electric VW bus, which he drove around the shopping district to let people know about the many parking options available in the area.
Last Halloween, he designed an electric witches’ broom and rode up and down Spring Garden Road to simply demonstrate that “you never know what you’ll find on Spring Garden Road.”
Carver has several new projects in the works. While the mad scientist behind Mad Secret Labs is reluctant to spill too many details, he does acknowledge that he’s putting the finishing touches on a 20-foot tall lighthouse that he converted from a tiny home for Tuna Blue Inn and Restaurant in Hubbards.
As well, visitors to Evergreen House will unknowingly get to meet Carver — sort of. He teamed up with the Dartmouth Heritage Museum to give it a haunted feel by converting a mirror on the second floor.
“If you go in, you’ll see either my face or my son’s face pop out of this hundred year old mirror and stare at you and then disappear,” says Carver.
While all of these fun stunts may seem silly on the surface, Carver insists there is a bold strategy behind each of them. However, unlike his prior position in the boardrooms of the advertising world, these projects allow him to witness the happiness he can create for people first-hand.
“Just the reaction that you get,” says Carver when asked about the most rewarding part of his job. “When I do work now, people are like, ‘that is so cool, keep it up’ — like, they are encouraging more (and) you just feel good about what you do.”
For more information on Allan Carver, visit his website.