Ad of the Day: Canon

Ron Howard asks for your photos to inspire a short film

Film director Ron Howard supposedly hasn't appeared in a TV ad since he was 18 and has never associated himself strongly with any brand. He's not one of those big-name directors who shoot lucrative commercials on the sly. So, why is he now fronting for Canon? Turns out the Oscar winner is curious about how consumers can help create art, the idea at the center of Canon's new "Project Imagin8ion" initiative, which launched on May 22. The site invites people to submit their photos, of which a handful will be selected to suggest eight film elements—setting, time, character, mood, relationship, goal, obstacle, and the unknown. Using the eight images as inspiration, Howard will create a short film that will debut in New York next November, where Howard's photographic muses will meet the director. (In the first two days alone, Canon received more than 9,000 submissions. Consumers have until June 14 to provide images.) The campaign also has a strong social/photo-sharing component that includes YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. While the underlying message supports Canon's digital SLR cameras, the execution takes the focus off the marketer and shifts it to user creativity. Not a bad idea to engender that product goodwill in an era where most consumers already carry a phone camera in their pockets.

Client: Canon USA
Agency: Grey, New York
Spot: "Parade"
Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
Executive Creative Directors: Ari Halper, Steve Krauss
Associate Creative Directors: Stu Mair, Eric King
Writer: Kent Koren
Art Director: Elinor Buchler
Logo Design: Craig Ward
Agency Producer: Lauren Tuttman
Agency Music Producer: Zachary Pollakoff
Agency Photo Producer: Jen Pugliese
Digital Producer: Kristin Finch, Jen Meeker,
Digital Team: Lando Ettrick, Ron Ceballos, Ornette Coleman, Josh Hearn, Liz Polkinghorne, Thomas Kropp
Account: Rick Cusato, Melinda Hecht, Melanie Rose, Lindsey Christensen, Matt Rakow
Planning: Ian Daly
Business Manager: Lynn Schieder
Talent Manager: Carla Defeo
Alliance: Amy Tunick, Eric Levin, Courtney Jacobs, Jennifer Gothelf