As the hit HBO series The Sopranos draws to a close, ad agency Venables, Bell & Partners has tapped Phoenix Editorial & Designs editor Bob Frisk for a two-spot campaign promoting sales of The Sopranos on DVD. Directed by Harvest Films’ Baker Smith, the :30 commercials “Pole” and “Hair” feature laugh-out-loud scenarios inspired by the darkly comical characters and situations on the show. The campaign broke March 30th.
Said Greg Bell, Co-Creative Director and Founder, Venables Bell & Partners, “HBO is a sophisticated brand. So when we do humor for them, it can be entertaining, but nothing egregious. Both of these spots rely on a traditional comic reveal, and in the wrong hands, could fall flat or feel moronically familiar.
The balance Bob struck on the spot ‘Hair’ was a slow sustained reveal that was not in your face. Sure, we showed that hair many times, but you never felt like we were begging for a laugh. HBO begs for nothing. ‘Pole’ was an editorial solution that wasn’t obvious. While we did rely on the ‘ta-dah’ reveal, Bob dribbled in pole squeak sound effects and an omnipresent dance track throughout this couples’ mundane breakfast conversation. Pre-emptive? Yes. But it made the reveal 10 times more gratifying than it would have been otherwise.”
The spot “Pole,” inspired by Tony Soprano’s day job as the proprietor of a watering hole of ill repute, opens on a typical suburban couple discussing paint samples at the breakfast table, techno music playing softly in the background. Slightly pre-occupied, the husband keeps his eyes on something off screen. Suddenly, without fazing the couple one bit, a white lace garment lands on the table between them. The spot cuts to a wide shot, revealing a silver lam?¬¨¬©-clad exotic dancer gyrating around a pole mounted on an elevated stage in the center of the kitchen. The camera pans out to reveal the house festooned with a flashing neon “Badda Bing” sign on the roof.
“Hair” opens on a middle-aged man reading the morning paper at breakfast, his combed-back hair accented with two shocks of white on either side?‚àö√ë?the same hairstyle the character Paulie Walnuts sports on the show. This man however, is no mobster?‚àö√ë?just a regular family man calling his kids to the table. A montage follows, showing first a teenage kid with the same hairdo unwillingly getting out of bed, while his older brother, again with the signature hair, checks his image out in the bathroom mirror. In the next room, the wife hums happily as she pulls on a sweater?‚àö√ë?she too, has the same hairdo. Finally, the family convenes for breakfast. Amidst the quiet chomping of cereal and the crinkling of the morning paper, the father looks up and asks, “Where’s Ryan?” just as a small bald child arrives at the breakfast table, plops into his seat and beams behind huge black frame glasses?‚àö√ë?identical to the ones Corrado “Junior” Soprano dons on the show.
Both spots close with the title card, “Bring home The Sopranos, Permanently.”
Said Bob Frisk, Editor, Phoenix Editorial & Designs, “I recently worked with this same team?‚àö√ë?-Venables Bell and Baker Smith?‚àö√ë?on a holiday campaign we did for HBO Home Video. I am once again impressed with how Smith draws out subtly funny performances from his actors. He gave me great material from which to cut. This campaign certainly speaks to the diehard Sopranos fan, but I think it might even convert some new viewers as well.”
Frisk edited both spots on Avid Media Composer running on Macintosh.
The Phoenix visual effects team, vfx/gfx artist Bobby Van Dyke and online editor/compositor John Crossley, performed effects work on both spots, using Autodesk Smoke and Adobe After Effects. Van Dyke also designed the motion graphics and product animation, using Adobe After Effects and Autodesk Maya.
About Phoenix Editorial & Designs
Phoenix has been a mainstay in the San Francisco creative post-production community since 1991. With a roster of award winning editors, graphic designers and effects artists, Phoenix works with creative-driven advertising agencies including Venables, Bell & Partners, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Publicis & Hal Riney, Heat (formerly Black Rocket), Duncan/Channon, AKQA, and McCann. The company produces spots and HD design packages for Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, PG&E, Palm, Toyota, Hewlett Packard, AT&T, Sprite, and Sega. Last year the company moved into a new state-of-the-art HD facility located on the lush grounds of Sydney Walton Park in downtown San Francisco. www.phoenixedit.com
Client: HBO Video
Title(s): “Pole” :30 “Hair” :30
Airdate: March 30, 2007
Ad Agency: Venables, Bell & Partners
Creative Directors: Greg Bell, Erich Pfeifer
Producer: Tamsin Prigge
Copywriter: Ned Brown-Stearns
Art Director: Erich Pfeifer
Production Company: Harvest Films/Santa Monica, CA
Director: Baker Smith
DP: Jim Whitaker
Exec. Producer: Bonnie Goldfarb, Scott Howard
Producer: Mala Vasan
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Shoot Dates: 3/6-7, 2007
Editorial Company: Phoenix Editorial and Designs/San Francisco, CA
Editor: Bob Frisk
Executive Producer: Jonathan Hinman
Final Telecine: Stefan Sonnenfeld at Company3/Santa Monica, CA
Finishing Company: Phoenix Editorial and Designs/San Francisco, CA Online Editor: John Crossley Visual Effects: John Crossley, Bobby Van Dyke
3D & Motion Graphics Design: Bobby Van Dyke
Sound Design: 740 Sound Design/Santa Monica, CA
Music for “Pole”: Andy Newell at Ripe Sound/San Francisco, CA
Audio Mix Company: One Union Recording/San Francisco, CA
Engineer: Joaby Deal