Grey/New York's music-motored "All in the Mix" Twix campaign has always capitalized on its built-in "mix" double entendre, but three new :15s take the idea to a higher, hipper sonic plateau. Sans the usual chocolate-dipping shots, these fast-paced interpretive musical endorsements - from the likes of Rahzel, the so-called human beatbox of the Roots; pioneering British drum and bass turntablist DJ Rap; and electronica drummer extraordinaire Tony Verderosa, who also heads New York's Thwak! Music - play like mini music videos. The inspiration for the campaign came out of a Verderosa solo performance at Joe's Pub in New York last summer; his MIDI-enhanced drum kit makes him a one-man band (see Creativity, Dec./Jan. 2003, The Buzz). Grey writer Mike Ryniec and AD Mark Catalina, who'd worked with Verderosa before, checked him out live, and "seeing Tony play jumpstarted our thinking about using performers who embody the idea of a one-man mix," says Catalina.
The spots, directed by Philip Atwell of November Films, are "signed" by the artists via a super; e.g., "Tony V.'s mix," so there's a personal artistic element here not often seen in celeb endorsements. Then again, these are hardly your standard celebs, even for the music industry, and Verderosa isn't even on the pop radar. "I thought I was getting a call to score a car commercial or something, but they actually wanted me to play live on camera and be one of the new Twix spots," he recalls. "As an independent artist, this is the kind of phone call you only dream about. It doesn't get any better that this."
"With this concept, we wanted to make sure that we weren't just portraying unique acts for unique acts' sake," says Ryniec. "The music needed to be as strong as the performance pieces. And I think we got that." Rahzel, the best-known of the three, whose track was produced via JSM Music, was a shoo-in. "His abilities are just ridiculous,"says Catalina. "There's never been anyone like him. He just totally fit into what we were trying to put together for Twix."
On the subject of DJ Rap's self-produced track, "we were looking at a number of DJs as another function of the campaign," says Ryniec. We've looked at DJs in the past - there seems to be a great one-to-one analogy between what they're all about and what we're all about. But DJ Rap came back to us with a killer demo and just did a really great job rounding out the series."
As to the production itself, "We had recorded tracks during preproduction to be used as a guide for the shoot," explains Ryniec. "We also recorded the artists live during the shoot to make sure we were capitalizing on any bits of spontaneity or energy that might arise out of performing in front of people." Then, with editing by Breathe's Michael Schwartz, "we took all of the pieces and sort of rewrote our map of what the spots needed to be."