Orkin Visits Oddball Homes (Really Strange Ones!) in Its Relentless War Against Pests

'Just keep bobbin' that log!'

Orkin resumes its tireless battle against home infestation in new commercials breaking this week from The Richards Group.

Unlike some past Orkin ads, where insect and rodent threats were outsized (and spoke English), we never actually see the unwelcome invaders in these latest ads. Rather, we gauge their impact based on the reactions—actually, overreactions—of wacky homeowners who call on Orkin for help.

In each case, these oddball homes fit their phobias and neuroses to a comic T.

“Each year, the creative and account teams spend a day making house calls with the Orkin technicians,” agency creative director and writer David Morring tells Adweek. “We realized that while Orkin sees a lot of everyday, average households, they also get a glimpse inside the more unusual and eccentric homes as well.”

In our first ad, a germaphobic “neat freak” living in a spotless house gets thoroughly bugged:

In a second spot, mom won’t let her kids play outside for fear of mosquitoes. (But that living-room sandbox looks fly!)

The challenge for “InOutdoors” was location, location, location,” says Morring. “Nobody is going to let you spray a sprinkler inside their home. We found a shell of a house on the Disney lot. It still required football fields of plastic tarps to cover walls, seal seams and protect equipment as we shot. It took several attempts to get the sprinkler adjusted right, but the first time the water hit the mom and the Orkin Man directly in the face, everyone lost it.”

Next, we learn rats can be a huge problem, especially in a tiny house:

“The tiny house was designed and built for the commercial,” says Morring. “We found a mansion in Pasadena with ridiculous grounds sculpted with topiary. We positioned the tiny house on a part of the grounds where the mansion was not visible, then hauled in loads of gravel to create the walkway leading up to it. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”

In this final spot, a log-obsessed family has a rough go-round with termites:

“The log was a fiberglass faux-log with steel poles protruding out of each end that locked into another rig with bearings so it could spin,” Morring recalls. “We initially tried to rig them with acrobatic harnesses like you might see in Cirque du Soleil, but the kids couldn’t stay on the logs. So, the team went back to the drawing board and developed a harness that attached beneath their clothing to poles that extended behind them and underneath the pool. It required several rehearsal sessions to get it perfect.”

Yeah, it’s no big surprise that those young actors needed some extra time to master their rolls.

Client: Orkin
Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas
Creative Directors: David Morring, Tim Tone
Copywriters: David Morring, JT Steinert
Art Director: Tim Tone, Julius Prilianto
Producer: David Rucker
Director: Guy Shelmerdine
Production: Smuggler
Post Production: Cartel Editorial
Editor: Andy McGraw
Visual Effects: MPC/LA
Music: Asche & Spencer
Audio Mix: Charlie Uniform Tango, Russell White
Clients: Kevin Smith, Cam Glover
Brand Management: Pete Lempert, Jessica Walker

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