Good Use For A Pain In The Neck

Many creatives bust their asses for their agencies. Some go even further.

When Cultivator Advertising in Denver was asked to do a PSA on snowboard safety for the National Ski Patrol, it looked no further than art director August Sandberg’s X-rays. Sandberg survived a near-paralyzing accident a few years ago at a swimming reservoir and had the pins in his neck to prove it—X-rays of which he liked to display at the office.

When it came time to do the spot, creative director Tim Abare thought of bringing X-rays like those to life, and having the skeleton talk about the dangers of the halfpipe.

“I’ve had the X-rays sitting around here and used to have them posted at the old office,” says Sandberg. “Tim Abare came up with the concept. When the idea came up, we talked about how it would look and feel and what it would sound like. And we had fun with the voice, too, that sort of California surfer/snowboarder.

“I used to be an extreme sports guy—well, only snowboarding—until that [accident] happened,” he adds. “I thought it was cool that they finally used the X-rays for something.”

Says Matt Nerin, co-account director: “It’s hard to convince the 16-24-year-old in the halfpipe, where the culture is to ‘go big,’ to be safe. The skull, whom we call Pinhead, talks an honest message.”