Boy Meets Girl Meets Musical Backpack

NEW YORK The lyrics “Doe, a deer” take on new meaning in a 45-second TV spot from DDB breaking on Monday, which introduces Jansport’s Live Wire backpack.

The commercial, which will run on MTV and MTV2, follows a boy wearing the backpack, which has built-in earphones and volume control. When he spots a faun-like girl with a doe on her shirt, a synthesized version of Roger and Hammerstein’s “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music starts playing. After following the girl around the city (the ad was shot in 12 days in Buenos Aires, Argentina), he finally finds her drinking tea with jam and bread, another nod to the song.

“The story is boy meets girl,” says Fred Hammerquist, executive creative director at the Seattle agency. “It’s an old story, but the Rogers and Hammerstein song gives it a new twist.”

The spot was shot in Buenos Aires because of its exoticness, Hammerquist said. “We wanted it to be somewhere urban, but we didn’t want it to be in a typical place like New York or Los Angeles,” he said.

The talent was cast on location. “We wanted the talent pool to be a little bit European with international, mysterious looks,” Hammerquist said.

Adding international flair was the Paris-based director, Anthony Atanasio, who had never directed a U.S. commercial.

The ad marks a shift in strategy for Jansport, which for the past five years has advertised only in print. Those ads, also via DDB, used the words “back” and “pack” and showed celebrities with the client’s products.

Jansport, headquartered in Appleton, Wis., has shifted its target to males 18-24 from females, and thus moved from print to TV. “Males are difficult to reach through magazines,” Hammerquist said.

Spending was undisclosed. Jansport spent about $2 million in measured media in 2002, according to CMR.

DDB creatives on the campaign included art director Monica Taylor and copywriter Beth Ryan.