This the fourth video in our “Journey to the Claussen Pickles” series that we shot with director Sam Cadman.
I think we shot over 20 different people in total over two days.
That’s one thing i love about this approach to shooting commercials. You get to shoot so many different versions and try out so many different things vs shooting that rigid thirty second TV spot with just one idea. Also, you get better at it as you go. By day two we were flying through these, filled with confidence.
Think about it. So far, we have cut four minute videos from just two days of shooting. That’s eight minutes of content people!
I, and many others, have shot just one :30 commercial in a similar time frame.
I’m not sure where the idea of a slightly menacing skating polar bear came from, I think it was Sam our director, but i loved it. And he proved very useful. A nice visual bit.
So, on the second day of shooting we came up with the idea of a showdown between Sir Edwin and the bear. I think the polar bear was actually played by a crew member who played ice hockey.
My old art director partner turned film director, Justin Reardon, just signed with Station Films, an excellent newish prodco headed by the legendary Steve Orent. Steve was a co-founder of Hungryman films. He was the exec producer. He has a great lineup of talent.
Justin is a pro. He lives and breathes film and art. Always has. He is truly a creative person. He has an identifiable flavor. He is not afraid. He is great fun to be with. You will come away a better person for having worked with Justin. You’ll learn something. He is a film maker, not a film user.
I remember years ago asking Justin how he wanted to die. He replied that he wanted to die swinging from from a rope while shooting a machine gun.
That sums him up.
This is a great example of what Justin can do. he wrote and directed and everything-ed else this legendary viral. He shot this for his beginner reel. i remember when he told me the idea i was supportive but mystified. it sounded terrible but Justin’s vision and executional prowess made it…GRRREAT!
Over the course of our years spent working on Budweiser we inevitably produced some commercials that never saw the light of day for one reason or another. Usually because they were “too” something. Too outrageous. Too weird. Too…not right.
It was a natural by-product of producing a lot of ads. Plus, Anheuser-Busch did things the right way. They knew their business and they knew their brands. So they could tell a good spot instantly. And they let us produce the work in the manner we wanted to. They trusted us. There was no testing of ideas. If they liked it, we did it. They would test finished spots for likeability and laugh value to help determine what would run on the Superbowl. And in which order they would run. A-B usually had five minutes to fill. That’s potentially ten :30 spots. But they would produce a lot more than that and those that didn’t make the game would air later that year. Or not all sometimes. Usually because the finished commercial didn’t square with their vision of it. But it wasn’t considered a big deal if a spot never ran. That, in essence, is why the whole world loved their advertising. They understood that the “risk” would yield huge rewards. And they were right. Again and again and again. They were pretty chilled-out about the whole thing, considering.
Their biggest competitor Miller, by contrast, tested everything and never had a hit. They spent all their money talking about the things that nobody really cares about: telling you how great their beers tasted etc.
We now present for the very first time, a selection of our favorites. The ones that got away!
The first one was a spot in the “Jersey Guys” campaign. The idea was one of the guys was getting married and all his pals would come up and greet him and his bride. But because they were from New Jersey they would playfully slap and poke their friend. I recall my former partner (and NJ native) Justin Reardon had the idea for this spot. I loved it. And still do. It was directed by Allen Coulter of Station films. Allen directed a lot of the first season of a little TV show called The Sopranos. You may recall it. And he was an inspiration to work with. A real director! He shot the ads like a TV show. The production was designed by the legendary Bob Shaw who also worked on the Sopranos. He currently is responsible for making sure that Mad Men looks impeccable. And seems to be doing a great job. I remember we all (cast and crew and production company) went for a nice Italian meal after shooting this.
FUN FACT: We shot it in an Italian wedding banquet hall in Brooklyn. The Oriental Banquet hall. The was the real deal! You’ll notice there’s a quick shot of a wedding cake with an actual fountain on it at the beginning of the spot. That was surprisingly easy to find. This place would be where the GoodFellas got married. For real.