Bernstein-Rein Crafts Retailer’s ‘Roadwatch’

DALLAS Stone Core Films director Norry Niven said he took a detour from Wal-Mart’s sunny image in portraying how the mass merchant’s truck drivers help find missing children under the Amber Alert system.

“Recently Wal-Mart has gotten more aggressive, contemporary and artistic in their marketing and I think this is another step in that direction,” Niven said. “This is a completely different message for the brand.”

The spot, entitled “Roadwatch,” shows how a communication system of the same name is used on Wal-Mart trucks on the nation’s highways, Niven said. The Amber Alert, named for a Texas girl who was abducted and slain, is designed to notify drivers through road signs, news media alerts and other outlets that a child is missing or abducted. Studies have indicated that rapid responses can improve the chances of rescuing abducted children.

The commercial was created by the independent Bernstein-Rein ad agency in Kansas City, Mo., with Dallas-based Stone Core Films as the production company. The spot, which began running this month, was filmed in Phoenix.

The spot opens with Wal-Mart truckers walking through an evening rain and climbing into their white rigs. A collage of Wal-Mart drivers traveling through varied urban and rural settings follows. The shots contrast moody, moonlit exteriors with warmly lit interiors of the truck cabs.

“I approached this as if it were a car spot and focused on lighting, composition and angles,” said Niven. “I wanted to shoot at night so we make these trucks look cool and mysterious.”

B-R copywriter Linda Bumgarner wrote the spot with Janel LaMonica as creative director, Kevin Garrison as art director and Carrie Lighthall as producer, the agency said.