Friday, November 30, 2007
The new core message will replace the old one at all Scots airports starting today which is a new holiday in Scotland. Scottish Parliament recently passed The St. Andrew's Bank Holiday Act of 2007 which declares November 30 an official bank holiday, but does not require banks to close, nor are employers required to give their employees the day as a holiday.
--sourced from Scotland's Daily Record, 11.28.07 and from the newsfeed screen in the elevator of the building I work in, my primary source of news until after the pitch
The sound studio is a site of contradictions. Fancy uptown address (Fifth Avenue) but hip downtown decor. Poured cement floors covered with Oriental runners. Elevator doors stripped down to pockmarked steel. The receptionist is a sweet-looking, baby faced guy. But when he reaches for the phone to announce our arrival, I see his arms are black with tattoos, like an old sailor's. "You'll be working in Ben's room today," he says. " It's the one with the giant glass eye on the door." (What is it with glass eyes in this business?) Ben's room is so dimly lit, I barely find my way to the soft leather sofa. Ben isn't there, but I know by the challenging lighting that he must be young. The decor is cowboy: longhorn coat rack, found wood coffee table. A baseball cap hangs over the fire alarm box. A collection of action figures stand poised for battle by the computer.
"Hi, I'm Ben, wassup." Ben extends a pudgy hand: he is a round, friendly guy who looks about twenty. His youth is emphasized by facial hair which is shaved into careful geometric shapes. We make small talk for a minute and my gaze shifts to a collection of children's art on the wall. "You have kids?" I ask, regretting the question immediately. Surely this guy is too young to have kids. The crayoned turkey is possibly his. Ben grins broadly, his facial hair leaps. "My daughter," he says proudly. "She's three. Going on twenty." He shows me a series of photos of her on his computer and the tenderness in his voice is touching. "It's the first Christmas she gets it about presents," he says. "I'm on the lookout for a Disney Princess Cash Register." He closes the program and we get down to work.
"You there?" he calls into space. We both look at the sound booth, though nobody's in it. The voiceover we're using is in California.
"Good morning," we hear through invisible speakers. I check my watch, it is 2 pm. We have the voiceover booked for an hour. The copy she's reading is sixty seconds, but it takes over an hour to get it right, for her to trip quickly, though not too quickly over side effects which for this drug (for a relatively benign condition) includes risk of falling asleep at the wheel and sudden onset of gambling or sexual urges.
To direct, I press a button on a remote which I must remember to keep pointed to an LED light on a box linking us to the studio in LA where the voiceover is. I think how different this is from my first voice record session which also took place in a studio in California. I was a secretary in a shop in San Francisco and some stout-hearted writer let me tag along and observe a session. How surprised I was that the woman in the sound booth, large and decidedly unattractive, could have the voice of a sultry goddess. As soon as she started reading the copy extolling the virtues of a certain corn chip, the studio shook. Our chairs vibrated, the knobs on the electronic panels trembled. "Quake," said the writer and engineer in unison. "Earthquake?" I asked and started to panic. No one made a move. "We're underground," shrugged the writer. Even before the vibrating stopped, the session proceeded, and I thought what a brave, brazen crew were people in advertising. Now, I know it was deadline pressure.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Some years ago, I detoured off Madison Avenue to create an agency that worked exclusively with nonprofits. It didn't last long--my partner and I soon discovered what everyone else seemed to know: that nonprofit clients inflicted as much pain as for-profit ones, but without the numbing effect of big money. Creating work on social issues proved unexpectedly daunting when it wasn't for our books, but for pesky clients. Which is why I admire a spot by German agency Nordpol+ Hamburg for wind energy which racked up numerous kudos last year at Cannes.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
As a mother of girls, I love what the Dove Campaign says about women and admire that a packaged goods client was convinced to do something breakthrough. But I wonder if the team who came up with the creative could possibly have been inspired by the 1984 D&AD annual.