WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA

By Published on .

When your client's idea of a strategy statement is to have you come up with "the coolest thing on TV," what creative wouldn't thank his lucky stars? The team at Wieden & Kennedy/New York and the directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris of Bob didn't disappoint. The campaign for ESPN's Winter X Games of last month was about the most entertaining thing on the tube, and we're not just talking commercials.

The breakthrough moment during the brainstorm came with the realization that "If we do it in Japanese, nothing has to make sense," laughs writer Ernest Lupinacci. He's right: nothing really does, and yet it all works beautifully. The spots are filled with an eclectic homage to Japanese television; a giggly aqua-haired announcer chick; a straight-laced newscaster; a Japanese pop group; a guy in a polar bear suit; Speed Racer-style anime; a talking CGI monkey, and even some actual X-game athletes.

All the dialogue is in Japanese, except for the few words that don't translate, including "Winter X-games, January 16 through 21." According to Lupinacci, "That's the spinach. As long as you hear those six words and you get it, the rest of the spot is visual dessert."

The shoot took two days and cost less than $500,000, despite some major talent that was involved in the creation of the spots. "If you worked with one of those people you'd be blessed. We got to work with them all and we had the best time," says Lupinacci. "It was like being a kid in a candy store."

With candy colors to boot. These spots are a real winter feast for the eyes.

Other agency credits to CDs Stacy Wall and Michael Prieve, and AD Kim Schoen. Editing by Spot Welders; visual effects by 525 Post; animation by Pixel Envy; graphics by AdamsMorioka; music/sound by Catasonic Records, Margarita Mix and

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