He might photograph celebrities, but Brian Smith is a celebrity…
Each week, we’ll be discussing an ad
campaign that has been deemed especially noteworthy by an industry professional.
This feature will be called Tearsheet. We’ll kick off our first installment with input from Amanda Sosa-Stone, a
freelance photography consultant. Before moving to Florida and starting her
consulting career, Sosa-Stone was an art buyer at Foote, Cone & Belding in New York. As a
consultant, Sosa-Stone advises photographers on portfolio structuring,
marketing and promotion, website design, film editing, and more. The
lady knows her stuff! And she’s psyched
about whiskey. Me, I’ve always thought it tastes like soap. It’s a shortcoming. But
I agree with Amanda that the new Canadian Club ads kick some serious ass.
Hey Amanda! Why do you like these CC
ads that Robert Whitman shot?
Amanda: “Robert executed the Art Director’s vision to
the “T” on this project. With Robert’s style and the art director’s
vision this ad to me was very successful. With creative copy, a great
concept and good photography this is a home run.”
OK, let’s take a look.
First off, I’m pretty happy about
the irreverent tone we have here. “Damn Right Your Dad Drank It” is a hilarious
tagline. They’re treating me like an adult. They’re not taking themselves too
seriously. Plus, my dad was smokin’! Look at him! This angle seems like it will work
for men and women, although presumably a whiskey ad is geared more towards men.
So, if I’m pretending to be a man for a second, I’m thinking “My dad was smokin’!
I’m smokin’ too! Plus, I feel thirsty.”
Second, the imagery is outrageously
authentic-seeming. Nothing beats a wood-paneled basement with a polka dot
dress. These images look like they’re really, truly from the ’60s. How’d they
do that? We’ll investigate!
Here is the list of creatives who
are responsible for this campaign:
Advertising Agency: Energy BBDO,
Chief Creative Officer: Marty Orzio
Creative Directors: Derek Sherman, Jason Stanfield
Copywriter: Derek Sherman
Art Director: Jason Stanfield
Designers: Steve Denekas, Jason Hardy
Senior Art Buyer: Liz Miller- Gershfeld
Assistant Art Buyer: Jackie VanWinkle
Print Producer: Linda Dos Santos
Photographer: Robert Whitman
Account Services: Doug Ryan, Marzena Grecki
I spoke with the Senior Art Buyer,
Liz Miller-Gershfeld, to understand the process. First, the concept is sold to
the client, and BBDO wins their business. This happened in early summer 2007. Art
director Jason Stanfield and copywriter Derek Sherman took the lead there. Then, Liz got involved. I asked Liz if the
art buyer position is always clear-cut, and she said no: “It depends on the art
director. Art buyer is a shape-shifter role. I’ve done it for a long time. At its
most basic level of collaboration, I’ll do a photographer search, and the AD
and I narrow down the field together. We bring in some books. I’m very involved
in the conversations with the photographers.”
In this case, the original idea was
to use only actual old family photographs, and not to shoot anything. But this posed some problems. Liz: “Reality comes in and there are a lot of
legal issues, especially with a liquor client. Everyone in the image has to be
twenty-five. So we looked at people who shot period photography, but we really
wanted spontaneity. So we also looked at people who shot reportage.” They
finally settled on Robert Whitman. Liz had worked with him in the past, and
felt that there was “nothing canned about his work.” She also knew he’d be
willing to experiment until they had the right feel.
Next, Liz helped find a producer who
could add cinematic experience to the production. They found a costume designer
who understood film, having worked on Walk
the Line, and 310 to Yuma. It was
critical that the pictures look authentic, especially since they decided to
intersperse real imagery with the images that Robert shot. The actual shoot
took about a week, and was in Los Angeles.
I spoke with Robert Whitman to see
what his thinking was.“My
approach was to shoot it with old cameras. We shot mostly with an old
Brownie Hawkeye, and found a lab in Colorado that still processes C22
Robert said the
experience was amazing, especially since he had the freedom to find the right
tone for the imagery. In addition to the Brownie, he experimented with a Contax
point and shoot, a Nikon F6, and a Holga. When the final images were made, they
were scanned and edited in post to “look a bit more worn”.
and everyone at BBDO were thrilled with the results, as was the client. She
knew they had nailed it when she got a call one day from someone saying his
father was in one of the images, and that the woman he was with was not his
wife. Liz’s heart sank, thinking somehow a model release hadn’t been procured
for one of the images that was actually taken in ’60s. She was enormously
relieved (and proud) when she realized the man was mistaken; he was referring
to one of the pictures Robert had made.
more of the Canadian Club ads after the jump! That link down there. I like that man with the van.