The Unreal World of TBWA\C\D, Skittles

NEW YORK TBWA\Chiat\Day mixes reality with fantasy to get surreal results in two television spots breaking this week that introduce Masterfoods’ Skittles Bubble Gum.

“Yep” by the New York shop shows a tall, gawky boy chewing the gum outside of a food mart. When a girl asks if he’s chewing Skittles Bubble Gum with all five flavors, he answers, “Yep.” When she asks if she can have some, he replies, “Nope,” then blows a bubble that carries him into the sky. Onscreen text declares, “Inflate the rainbow. Taste the rainbow.”

In a second spot, men dressed as lumberjacks are gnawing on trees like beavers, when another man arrives and tells them they can chew Skittles Bubble Gum instead. As the loggers rejoice, the trees throw up their branches and cheer too. “Chew the rainbow. Taste the rainbow,” proclaims the copy.

Weird? Definitely. But the trick was finding the right combination of fantasy and realistic elements, according to creative directors Ian Reichenthal and Scott Vitrone.

“We’re playing with the real world. The characters live in this world where the real world and imaginary world intersect,” said Reichenthal, an art director. “Magical things happen in a real-world setting.”

Casting was the hardest part of producing the spots, directed by Happy of Smuggler, said Vitrone, a copywriter. Along with Smuggler, creatives searched through hundreds of actors to find their realistic-looking teen. They finally found one with the right look, in a parking lot of a mall in California.

The spots, along three print ads urging consumers to “Blow the rainbow,” fit into Masterfood’s $20 million “Taste the rainbow” campaign for Skittles. Skittles brand spots broke in July and featured similar surreal situations such as an adult man waiting in a bird’s nest to be fed Skittles.