Vision Q&A: Smell the Experience

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Touting "Experience is everything" could be a precariously post-boomer proposition for Old Spice, but, after all, it seeks to attract the inexperienced. Wieden+Kennedy CD/AD Monica Taylor talks about coming up with the look for Old Spice's "Painted Experience" spot, and how B-movie master Bruce Campbell and a really, really long painting got the job done.

How did you come up with the overall look of this spot?
Monica Taylor: We wanted our man of experience to have a place that itself looked experienced. We needed to figure out a way to not take away from this complicated thing he's saying but still show the kind of man he is; that he's had a multitude of experiences and has been all over the world. We thought about Hugh Hefner's place, and we knew it had to have a reek of classic, masculine American - nothing trendy, with a hint of the playboy. So we put lots of stuff in the background, like an astronaut's helmet, sports trophies, African masks, high-tech audio equipment, antiques, and probably something a diplomat from some far off place gave him. Who knows?

Is that a CG effect or a real painting of the world's longest sailing vessel?
It's a real painting! We wanted him to walk and talk, and Old Spice has a nautical history. It's our way of showing a grand manor house. We actually like to think that he built the room around the painting. Obviously, it's a visual gag, but you have to wonder, is this incredibly long boat his? Or did he just commission the longest ship painting ever? It goes from day to night to day in the same painting. It's wondrously absurd. It's funny and hints at the history of Old Spice.

How long is this nautical masterpiece?
In the spot, it's about 50 feet long. Originally it was about 64 feet but we had to cut it because when they paced it out with the speech it was a bit too long. Some people see the spot and think it's a circular room but no, it's just a long stretch of room. The painting was done by Wayne White, an artist who was an art director on Pee-wee's Playhouse. He was actually painting up until they shouted "Action."

What was it like working with Bruce Campbell?
I think he did 41 takes of that speech, and he maybe flubbed it twice. He could do anything. If we asked him to cut it by a half a second, he'd say, "Sure, no problem." He was so precise and so fantastic, we were all in awe of him on set.

Where is the painting now?
It's in the basement at Wieden + Kennedy, but I really want it (laughs). We're trying to figure out what to do with it, but I know everyone wants a piece.

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