2010 got off to a very interesting start.
We shot this online film/cinema ad for wonderful client Lunchables.
This one was a a bit of a tough one executionally. And kudos to fearless Lunchable clients for having the necessary nerves to play along.
The idea here was to convince a group of 5th graders that they were actually interacting with real alien beings and finding out what they would actually ask them. It was part prank video, part social experiment. I found it interesting that the girls were the brave ones. They were the ones with all the adorable questions and they were the most keen to actually meet the aliens in their allegedly toxic atmosphere.
We considered giving the volunteer a mask to don but realized it would interfere with their facial reactions. This was one of the most challenging and interesting things we have ever done. I love it. And kudos to amazingly talented directed Smuggler director (and Waverly Flams alum!) Jon Watts for being a joy to work with. Top job sir! And good luck with the new film. Jon Watts is the new Edgar Wright. Yes, I said that! You want to fight about it?
Next up was a campaign for the Whole Foods Market. A brand I personally love. I have shopped there for years. I first fell in love with their food when my wife was pregnant for the first time 15 years ago. Body = temple and all that. The assignment was to come up with a creative idea for new store openings that would work in more suburban and exurban areas. Whole Foods Market (it’s not called “Whole Foods”!) is sort of a victim of its own success in some regards. At some point recently it crossed the line from being an urban niche brand to a mass market brand, at least in my estimation.
We created a a series of ads that would serve as a demonstration of the Whole Foods Market experience.
And I knew from experience that the best way to do this would be to showcase their products and their employees.
Now I am keenly aware that we were not the first to do this but I also knew from experience that this brand would shine in this treatment. The food and the knowledable employees are what make this store rock like old school heavy metal.
WFM has a million great stories to tell. And I just selected the ones that impacted me most over the years. This was easy and fun to to.
We then blasted these ads via cable TV exclusively into the zip codes surrounding the new Whole Foods Market store. We made fifty grand in media spend look like a million dollars.
The net/net result being that, if you lived in Schaumburg, there was no escaping our message.
We also shot these ads so they would be modular and could be easily tagged for whatever new market WFM was entering.
I should point out that these ads were produced in-house. Exec producer Kent Kwiatt and director Brad DeMarea did a great job. We shot five commercials in one shoot day for very little money. And we ate the fish featured in this ad. He was yummy. Thank you Stanley!
And don’t tell me you don’t want to eat an olive after seeing this guy in action.
I am very proud of these. I was very pleasantly surprised by the outcome. And that never gets old!
Kudos to WFM clients Ashley Heaton and Maggie Bahler for understanding why we only presented one idea, something we at The Escape Pod never do btw. More ideas = better!
And why that made sense in this instance.
This next idea was a back to school commercial for client OfficeMax. Coming off the back of all the pranky stuff we had recently shot, this was a refreshing return to the good old :30 commercial format. It was quite refreshing in a weird way.
We turned to MJZ director (and consummate pro) Phil Joanou for this one. This was trickier than it looked to execute. We went for the biggest, most emotional moment of going back to school. And we straddled the always tricky line between sincerity and camp fun.
I should add that we have just shot again with Phil for new client Babies R Us. And once again he killed it. ( I am writing this on the plane on the way back from the shoot. It’s New Year’s Eve) And we look forward to working with him and MJZ again in the new year on a very exciting project for a new Kraft brand.
Phil a true artist and a true pro. And that’s all there is folks. Make you life easy, work with Phil Joanou. And his compadre, surfing legend Paul Manix.
Imagine our surprise when classic American snack Wheat Thins came knocking on our doors. For the benefit of our foreign readers I should point out that Wheat Thins are arguably America’s most beloved snack, cutting across all demographics. If you don’t love Wheat Thins and you live in America, you are, frankly, a bit odd. It’s that basic.
The assignment here was to create a TV campaign for the brand.
Creatively, snacks are hard. It’s a lot like beer, the obviously smart thing to do: talk about the brand attributes that have made them successful, has been done to death and beyond.
But that doesn’t mean you can avoid doing that. It means you have to strain your brain to find a new way to do and say the obviously smart thing.
I vividly remember how we came up with this idea. We had just gone to our weekly lunch at a nearby tapas restaurant and were in the elevator returning to the office. Escape Podder, and, alas, soon-to-be Denver resident Jimmy Olson, suggested we search Twitter to see what, if anything, was being said about Wheat Thins.
We were awestruck to find out that there was a veritable torrent of love for the brand. Given our history of reality advertising, we immediately had this idea: surreptitiously track down these Wheat Thins tweeters and surprise them with a little comedy bit based on their tweets.
Cheers and bravo to Wheat Thins clients Jim Low,Whitney Vogler, Melissa Renny, Elizabeth Vassiliou andLeslie Waller for having the gumption to approve and help us shoot this somewhat unique idea. Somebody was going to do this idea and i’m glad we got there first.
Again, I love this one. It was just so much fun to do. And I think this fun shows up on the screen. We have since shot a second series of these. And I hope and think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by them.
I look forward to sharing more great work with you in 2011. We have two very exciting jobs for two new clients going into production in January.
Like the song says, time keeps on slipping into the future. The goal of The Escape Pod has always been to help our clients exploit the media environment in ways our larger competitors simply can’t.
Instead of merely talking about the future of advertising we think it’s better to actually do something in the present and take advantage of the opportunities that technology and the culture present us with.
We wish you health and prosperity in the new year.