The creative directors file in, one by one, ready to talk about their process and craft. Everything seems fine for a while—sure, their answers are a bit clichéd, but nothing out of ordinary for creative leaders of a certain stature.
But then, the tension starts to mount.
They begin to falter. The air slowly goes out of the room, seemingly quite literally. Where they once appeared invincible, our creative heroes are suddenly gasping to take a breath. Their confidence melts into panic. What is going on here? Are they in danger of actually suffocating, or is there something more ... metaphorical going on?
Welcome to “A Behavioral Study of the Creative Process.”
Anchored by assured directing and strong performances, the entertaining video, from SaaS company Air, does a nice job of capturing that sense of smothering workload all too common in the ad industry.
Ariel Rubin, director of communications at Air, who helped steer the production, told Ad Age he always felt SaaS marketing didn't have to be boring and limited to Facebook ads. He said he was given “a limited budget—but total creative freedom—to make a campaign that speaks directly to creative directors, agencies and marketing leaders.”
Rubin convinced Ivan Cash to direct—he reached out to him after seeing Ad Age’s coverage of Cash’s recent Pair of Thieves film. Cash brought Anomaly veterans Julienne Jones and Matt Kalish on board as creative directors/writers, and the three of them came up with the concept. From there, the project was in motion.
“We wanted to write something that felt true to life,” said Cash, who did a stint as a creative director for Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam before becoming a director. “The challenge we faced was how to both parody and honor the work creatives do every day. It was a really fun needle to thread. It was also genuinely therapeutic to dig into the creative stereotypes that exist in the industry—including ourselves!”
In terms of the writing, “it was really a stream-of-consciousness, text in the middle of the night, jot down a line while in another meeting process of mainly trying to make each other laugh,” Jones said. At the casting, “everyone that auditioned had us in stitches, but our selected actors immediately made the characters pop off the page.”
They shot in a single day, with Soren Neilsen as director of photography.
“It’s not often you have a shoot that’s packed to the brim and find yourself laughing in between every take,” said Kalish. “You take a killer team, fantastic actors and the ability to poke fun? You get magic. And sometimes, magic is dangerous.”