Creatives Now: Andrew Bancroft

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Andrew Bancroft was once a rapping jelly donut. As a member of the San Francisco-based comedy troupe Killing My Lobster, he had donned a donut suit and rhymed on command, performing for live audiences and creating projects especially for the Internet. In November 2006, Bancroft, 29, turned his writing (and performance) skills toward the ad game, his path a veritable "How To" for any hip hop pastry looking to make the jump to a San Francisco-based ad agency.

"I had some friends in advertising and they just really seemed to enjoy it," he says. "At the time I was just doing comedy, acting, theater, music stuff, and it's pretty hard to make a living at that. I was also looking for something with a different level of interaction with other creative people. Plus, I hadn't been to the dentist in three years."

Bancroft's first work was as an assistant, helping with the Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" site in 2007. "I was also (briefly) the online voice of the Foster Farms chickens, responding to people's comments on the Chickens' MySpace page," he says. "THAT was enlightening, for sure. Then I got pretty lucky writing some TV scripts for Comcast and HD DVD."

He sees clear similarities between his comedy work and his job as an advertising creative. "In writing and producing, comedy and ads have a lot in common. It comes down to an economy of words. You have a short amount of time to get a message across in an entertaining way. It has to be timed out, just like any joke or sketch."

More recently, Bancroft's been working on projects for Doritos, Comcast's "Horton Hears a Who" spot, Haagen-Dazs' "Save the Honeybees" effort, and some music work for a new Milk campaign. "We just launched a MySpace page for White Gold and the Calcium Girls, and there's a music video and I got to write lyrics for the songs. We worked with Tom Kuntz, which was great, and (I was brought in) because they knew I did a lot of music stuff, so it was a lot of fun."

The Haagen-Dazs honeybees site provided him with a welcome break from funny stuff. "That was a cool experience because it was a lot less about comedy and more about getting a message across for this authentic, luxurious brand." As digital work goes, Bancroft says the most exciting aspect is the potential for ingenuity that people can get excited about. "I still think humor always makes a good story," he says. "If you can incorporate humor—not just make someone watch something funny, but give users an easy way to share it, or add a piece of themselves through photos or audio—the more you can get consumers involved with it, and the more fun it becomes."
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