CD/writer Denzil Strickland created the eccentric personalities to enliven the long client copy. "Just because it's a utility doesn't mean it has to be boring," says Strickland, who teamed with AD Dick Henderson and producer Carol Hardin. Other credits to editors Tim Anderson and Enrique Aguirre at King Cut, L.A., and Larry Peter of Ad Sound, New Orleans, who composed the offbeat tracks.
Instead of creating another PSA promoting the plight of underprivileged youth in the ghetto, a new nonprofit group called Mad Phat Productions is taking more direct action in training inner city kids to make their own spots.
Formed last year by a group of New York producers, the program was officially kicked off last month as a course at Satellite Academy, a special New York City public high school, taught by staff faculty Susan Dreyer and Dan Fuchs. In addition to learning how to create commercials, storyboarding spots and shooting video spec spots, the juniors and seniors will also experience the client role when they work with a professional creative team and director to shoot a PSA.
"Inner city kids don't even know this job exists," says Bedford Falls executive producer Dana Astrow, one of a half-dozen co-founders of the program. Encouraged by the warm industry support the group received at a kickoff party in May, Astrow says she hopes the enthusiasm will continue; more people are needed-from the account side to the creative and planning-to donate time and money so the program can expand to other schools and eventually go national.
The first and so far only ad in support of the talent-recruiting effort is this Apollo Theater-inspired, street smart poster by copywriter Charles Hall and art director Eric McClellan, both presently freelancers. "We want to attract people who have a certain attitude about the business, and a personality," Hall says. "We didn't ask for great art directors, we asked for kick-ass art directors. We're looking for the ones that have struggled; those who might have war stories to tell."
Since it's a lot easier for weekend tennis players "to admit they're not perfect than to admit they need a crutch," Chiat/Day/L.A. writer Dick Sittig says the only way he could "take the curse off" Prince's new oversized Thunder racket was to pair the average Joe against God.
Doing just that, a spot directed by Dominic Sena of Propaganda Films shows a guy stretching on a tennis court as a bearded Supreme Being strolls in, wearing a long white robe and Prince sneakers. God is handicapped with a tennis ball-sized racket head, while his opponent has a Prince with the elongated sweet spot. "As you might expect, God has an awesome tennis game," says the VO. "Perfect form with unlimited power." But after a few volleys, the guy hits a shot that puts God flat on his face. "Nice try," he says to himself smugly, only to have God retort, "Lucky shot." With that, and a sweep of his robe, the poor slob is smitten and falls to the ground. Hey, some rib tickler!
Sittig, who teamed with CD Lee Clow and AD Marten Tonnis, says that some at the agency had complained that "God is benevolent, and wouldn't give a man a heart