GROUNDS FOR IMPROVISATION

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Seattle may be a grunge mecca now, but in a commercial touting Starbucks' new Blue Note brand of coffee, local Evans Group Advertising pays homage to jazz of the '50s and '60s.

Described as "part Joan Miro and part album cover hack art," art director John Smith says he borrowed the look of the new coffee bag and old designs from the Blue Note and Capitol labels for an animated spot that combines fluid images of a musician, musical notes and coffee cups on a pastel background. The imagery is choreographed to an original bebop score composed and performed by Seattle's Joe Hadlock, along with other area musicians. The idea was to "maintain the looseness of a movable Impressionist painting," explains director Ed Bell of San Francisco's Colossal Pictures.

The jazz/java link isn't just cupping a trend either: Starbucks' chairman Howard Schultz is pals with Kenny G, and the company has long sponsored jazz festivals around the country.

Other credits for the spot, which is airing in Seattle and Chicago, to copywriter Gretchen Lauber and producer Sue Mowrer; postproduction at San Francisco's Western Images.

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