FAMILIAR FOAM

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You've surely met Duracell's clutterbusting Putterman clan, they of the latex leer and the alkaline afterlife. The sharp-eyed viewer will be reminded of a short-lived Foster's beer campaign from AC&R of a few years back, a watershed in the history of prosthetic commercial costumery. In fact, the dazzling detailing is the work of the same Steve Johnson of L.A.'s XFX, but there, says O&M/New York writer Dave Silver, the similarity ends.

The Foster's characters had a "generic, impersonal quality," says Silver. "It was a point of reference for us and nothing more. Here we have recognizable people with distinctive features, each with particular traits. The idea is to create people that almost look like somebody you know, to the point where you're saying, 'I think I've seen that person before.' People have remarked, for instance, that Herb Putterman has some similarities to Fred Gwynne." The late Fred Gwynne, we might add.

Nevertheless, adds Silver, the Putterman test spot was an overwhelming success, with very high recall and persuasion scores, and comments that tended toward "cute" and "funny," and the next round, probably to be again directed by Barry Sonnenfeld of BFCS, is being prepared.

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