DIRECTOR PHIL BROWN: THE CUTTING EDGE

By (TK) Published on .

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Two years ago, Phil Brown, a director at Aviator Pictures in Vancouver, made a spot called "Dead Chicken," in which two stereotypically geeky middle-aged Asian women try to bring a live chicken on a bus in San Francisco. The bus driver won't allow live animals on board -- so they instantly wring the chicken's neck and gain entry. Super: "Fresh poultry at Fong's." There was no outcry from the local Asian community or animal rights activists. In fact, the spot won Bessie and Mobius awards, and in Europe "they loved it," says Brown. "I got work from all over the world because of that spot, especially from France."

Now Brown is back with another no-budget outrage. This one, called "Lawn-mower Man," airs late-night in Canada, and it's for a tiny local company called Canine Equipment. A middle-aged man -- a black man -- is mowing his lawn with an electric mower that's plugged inside the house. His dog unplugs the mower, and the puzzled fellow kneels down and grabs the blade in both hands as the dog plugs it back in. Bloody meat and bits of shirt splatter on a wall. Tag: "Very bad dog gear."

Excuse us, but doesn't the first unwritten rule of politically correct advertising stipulate that if you have one man in a commercial doing something totally dim-witted, that man must be white? "That's just stupid," says Brown, 37. "The color of the guy's skin is totally irrelevant. I chose him simply because he was the best in the auditions."

It's the violence that worried Brown. "I did a shot with just grass and bits of shirt, but it didn't have the right look," he says. It wasn't X-gamy enough. "We're aiming at mountain bikers and snowboarders," he emphasizes. "This is funky gear for dogs. It's got to be edgy. It's cartoon violence, like Tom & Jerry."

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