Using real people in commercials is one thing; using them in an outdoor campaign with no copy except the tagline is quite another. The real people in San Francisco-based Ketchum Advertising’s Bank of America campaign had to stand alone, and thanks to Michael O’Brien the work is a standout. ‘He has a gift for finding interesting people,’ says Traci Kimur, art director for Ketchum. ‘He allows the face and eyes to be the focus of the picture and not what the people are doing.’ O’Brien, who has been working out of Brooklyn, N.Y., began his career as a photojournalist and his commercial sensibilities are rooted in that past. For BofA, O’Brien rejected the idea of using models in costume. ‘The whole thing is for a person to look at the billboard and believe it and not think it’s advertising trying to sell them something,’ said O’Brien. O’Brien’s advertising assignments have included Nike, Apple Computer, Kodak, AT&T and Wrangler Jeans.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)
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