Agent 16 Dubs Teachers ‘New York’s Brightest’

NEW YORK Police are New York’s finest and firemen are New York’s bravest. Now a campaign, created by Agent 16 and directed by Joel Schumacher, positions teachers as New York’s brightest.

The centerpiece of the effort, for the New York City Department of Education, is a 60-second spot that shows children pasting up pictures of teachers over posters of celebrities Alicia Keys, Giants running-back Tiki Barber and DJ Junior Vasquez throughout Manhattan. As they cover images of Alicia Keys near Town Hall, a voiceover states, “Some of New York’s most admired figures don’t sell out concerts.” The narration continues, “They’ll never be a running back for the Giants. And they probably won’t go platinum. But to millions of kids, their teachers are still the biggest heroes in their world. Join New York’s brightest. Teach NYC.” The ad began running April 14.

“We already had the bravest and the finestߞthe police and firefighters. Teachers were unsung heroes. They were not getting the recognition they deserved. Being New York’s brightest put them on par with New York’s other everyday heroes,” said Clark Moss, chief creative officer at Agency 16 in New York.

The shoot took place over a weekend in late February at various Manhattan locations. Schumacher, who has directed feature films including Phone Booth and Veronica Guerin, was approached because he is a native New Yorker and was “immediately interested,” Moss said.

The shoot went smoothly under Schumacher’s direction, according to Moss. “For somebody of his stature I was expecting the potential for enormous outbursts, but there were none. He was really great,” Moss said.

Schumacher also interviewed the four teachers whose faces appear on the posters the children put up in the 60-second spot. The results of those off-camera discussions are 10- and 15-second unscripted spots in which the teachers talk about why they love their jobs.

Creative personnel on the pro bono campaign, sponsored by the Ad Council and Appleseed Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropic organization, included copywriter Dave Pachence and art directors Chris Lenox, Dan Lucey and David Marino.