Creative Briefs

Close-up: MusicWhere Wu-Tang Meets Full Monty

Two very different composers—David Yazbeck, Tony-nominated for The Full Monty, and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Killah Priest—lend their talents to a Florida Department of Health “Truth” effort breaking this week from Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami.

In a spot cut for TV and cinema distribution, a tobacco executive and a group of teen agers do a Broadway-type song and dance. The man calls on kids to “focus on the positive” as he puts a spin on their anti-tobacco arguments.

The Crispin team wrote preliminary lyrics, and Yazbeck tweaked them and put them to music. “It was like the way you turn a scene in a book into a song for the stage,” he says.

New York’s Buzztone Inc. and Killah Priest (a k a Walter Reed) then created a version that will play in theaters, get distributed on a CD and, they hope, air on the radio. “We chopped it up to a beat and made it a crazy hip-hop,” Reed says.

Loony Tunes

LOS ANGELES—TV spots for Nike and the Las Vegas Con ven tion & Visitors Authority are both betting that off-key sing ing is endearing rather than irritating.

Ten Major League Baseball players sing parts of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in seven different languages for the Nike spot, which is designed to celebrate diversity. Wieden + Ken nedy in Portland, Ore., traveled to seven ballparks in six days to shoot, among others, Ken Griffey Jr. of the Cincinnati Reds (who sings in Eng lish), Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers (Spanish) and Chan Ho Park of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Kor ean). The ad began airing last week during the playoffs.

“They all sing really badly,” says creative director Hal Curtis. “That’s what makes the thing charming.”

For the Las Vegas campaign, local agency R&R Partners built on a previous spot featuring the never-before-released Frank Sin atra song “It’s Time for You.” Vegas personalities generally not known for carrying a tune, including David Bren ner, Wolf gang Puck, the Blue Man Group and Siegfried and Roy, sing along with Sinatra in the spots, which break this week. “[The celebrities] are very good, talented people, but they’re not singers,” says Randy Snow, vice president, creative director at R&R. “What they lacked in talent, they made up for in enthusiasm.”

Kaye to Compose

Director Tony Kaye has taken a step toward his goal of becoming a rock and roller. Last week, Amber Music in New York announced it will represent him as a composer of commercial music. Kaye revealed his musical intentions this spring at the Clios, treating attendees to an ear-splitting concert in lieu of an acceptance speech for his lifetime-achievement award. “I’m trying to em brace creativity wherever I can,” he says. “When you direct, you’re working with motion pictures and sound. I know a bit more about [motion pictures] than the manufacturing of sound. I’m doing this to get better.” That’s not all he’s doing. “I am working on an album,” the British-born Kaye says. “Who knows? In America, you can do just about anything.”

Back to Basics

There are no lesbian couples adopting children this time. The latest batch of John Hancock Financial Services commercials continues with less-controversial topics in the same real-life theme from last summer’s campaign. The spots, crafted by Hill, Holiday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston, tout life insurance, long-term-care insurance and investments, and are peppered with statistics. The first spot broke last week; five others will break during the World Series and run through the 2002 Winter Olym pics. One features a father anxiously watching his premature daughter in an incubator. A doctor tells him, “I don’t know how to say this … it’s going to cost a fortune to put her through college.” In another, a woman reminds her elderly mother who she is while visiting her new long-term-care facility. The idea is to convey Americans’ concerns in today’s economy. “People were tiring of the boom times and were starting to get back to things like family,” says Mike Sheehan, president and chief creative officer of the agency.

Animal Instinct

A nonprofit group promoting medical research has launched a campaign to tell scientists’ side of the animal-testing debate. Last week, The Part nership for Hope and Dis covery broke a year-long print effort in eight Ar kan sas newspapers, co in ciding with dem on stra tions planned by the animal-rights group Stop Hun tington Ani mal Cruelty at the offices of Hun tington Life Sciences in Little Rock. Chicago agency & Wojdyla did the work. One ad shows people in ski masks, one carrying a hatchet, with the headline, “Some people think the best way to protect animal life is to have scientists fear for theirs.” Other ads focus on life-saving treatments discovered as a result of animal testing. David Wojdyla, president and creative director of & Wojdyla, says the campaign was inspired by his reaction to SHAC’s Web site. One page on the site, which gives the home ad dresses and phone numbers of HLS employees, reports that an executive “had car windows broken, tires slashed, house spray-painted with slogans. His wife is reportedly on the brink of a nervous breakdown and div orce.” “They’re proud of their terrorist tactics,” Wojdyla says. “This is the other side of the story.”