Creative Bean Counters

By Gh Published on .

When 600 pounds of multicolored Jelly Bellys arrived on David Swope's doorstep, the art director had no one to blame but himself. A tour of the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, Calif., had inspired Swope to go organic for the candy's first-ever advertising effort, from little Sausalito, Calif., shop Clear Ink. The result: 12 billboards photographed from originals made entirely of jelly beans. "It was a real throwback to the second grade," says Swope of a project that involved more than 72 hours of sweatshop-intensive toil. "Our creative director actually bet that we'd end up doing it digitally - but that just motivated me to glue harder." As it turns out, Swope, seen above at hands-on labor, had to tediously affix only the logo and the headlines. The backgrounds consist of hundreds of pounds of loose beans poured onto the boards and locked together like jigsaw puzzles. "Sometimes we had to bite the beans in half to make them fit," admits copywriter Geoff Skigen. Once the headlines and color palettes had been chosen, the creatives wrenched the project out of Jelly Belly's hands. "The client had a hard time signing off on the ads at such an early stage," says Swope. "But we told them, 'Once you guys buy the headlines and color schemes, you can't go back.' " Astounding - revision-proof copy! Moreover, Clear Ink even broke the bean business' cardinal rule: Jellys must always be photographed "smiling," or face up. "It was all very liberating," says Skigen.
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