When trying to put their best foot forward to prospective clients, ad agencies have been given to creating bold “manifestos” that spout profundities about their approaches to creating brand messages. But when a potential client recently asked Slap Global, the new creative company formed by ad vets Gerry Graf and Maxi Itzkoff, for its credentials, the founders delivered something completely unexpected: a mini musical.
Instead of penning a lofty declaration of insightful brilliance (sometimes cloaked in witty self-effacement), the pair turned to Andrew Sherman, a composer who has written musicals for the New York Fringe Festival to create a song instead. And to perform it, they tapped actor Ciaran Sheehan, who has played the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and in Toronto in over 1,000 performances.
The first few lines set the stage:
We could write you a great manifesto preaching this is what we believe, blah, blah, blah.
With fancy phrases. And. Poor. Punctuation. To make you cheer rah, rah, rah.”
But even though Manifestos are hot
Alas Karl Marx we are not
And since they just drone on and on…
We bring you this song
For the video, Graf and Itzkoff pulled together bits of stock footage illustrating their company’s name (people getting slapped, over and over). Sheehan himself also makes an appearance.
Graf says that the idea arose from various places. For one, Slap Global’s founders historically have flouted convention over the years. (At his previous agency Barton F. Graf, Graf replaced press releases with stunts like a town crier announcement, and when the shop closed, he held a funeral for it.)
It also helped that Knickerbocker, the New York arm of Slap Global, has been exploring opening an Entertainment division. Also serving as inspiration was a post from Google Creative Group Lead Kim Mok, who parodied company manifestos on LinkedIn.
Graf says, however, that “more than anything, we wanted you to feel who we were instead of read who we were. Which is why we composed this beautiful song and had the Phantom sing it.”
Going forward, this will be the gift the company presents to any future clients requesting creds.