"I Got This," is the name of the tune that backs this sobering, beautiful music video that depicts various drug and alcohol users at various stages of their addiction. A pot smoker sinks into the couch, a club-goer looks up from the bathroom floor, hugging the toilet, a businessman steps away from his computer for a break--to shoot up.
"I get high seven days a week, so damn twisted I can hardly speak," the tune opens, as the pot smoker takes a hit of a bong. "I'm fine. I ain't worried. I got this."
Created by Ari Merkin, out of his eponymously titled shop, the film promotes Face the Music, a nonprofit that helps to fund rehab treatment for addicts. The organization was founded by Recovery Unplugged, an addiction center that uses music to help treat its patients, and the ad's tune comes straight from its program. (Proceeds from Face the Music do not go solely to its founder.)
Industry vet Merkin, who previously served in ECD roles at agencies including CP+B and Fallon and had founded the N.Y. agency Toy, says the idea for the ad came from the music itself, as well as time he spent on site at Recovery Unplugged.
Grammy-winning songwriter and guitarist Richie Supa, who has written for Aerosmith, Richie Sambora, Pink and Ozzy Osbourne, created the tune. A recovering addict himself, Supa is co-founder and musical director of Recovery Unplugged.
"I sat in on one of Recovery Unplugged's jam sessions, and one of the songs Richie performed was 'I Got This,'" Merkin says.
"It's essentially about the lies we tell ourselves, the lies addicts tell themselves, like when you think you're sober enough to drive, but take the keys and say, 'I Got This,' or when you steal money from your mom's purse to buy heroin and you tell yourself, 'I Got This.' The film is almost intervening with people who are suffering from that."
"What's funny is it's not a sad-sounding song," Merkin says. "It almost has a happy cadence to it, and there's obviously a terrific irony to it, juxtaposed with these images."
Jared Knecht of m ss ng p eces directed the film. "We were shooting for that downward spiral, showing when you think you've got this, but you clearly don't--the addiction is controlling you," Merkin explains.
In casting, the team looked for real people--and for some, the idea of the spot hit really close to home. One of the actors has a brother who is an addict, and after the shoot, the brother had OD'd and drove into a tree. One of the Recovery Unplugged founders then offered him treatment for free -- but he refused and hasn't been seen since. Goes to show that Face that Music has an honorable cause, yet an extremely tough road ahead. Hopefully, this film will help.