A team from Brigham Young University’s AdLab program snagged the top student prize at the Andy Awards this weekend with a three-minute musical number about battling pest infestations.
The spec spot, “Pests Do Not Mess With the Orkin Man,” brings Broadway stylings to Southwestern suburbia, as five exterminators in matching hardhats pile out of an SUV to harmonize about killing fleas, moths and bedbugs while throwing off a little synchronized dancing.
Set to the melody of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, it’s packed with fun visual set pieces—like a garbage can rattling because it’s full of randy mice. Some lyrical moments get surprisingly dark, as flies gather around a corpse. Other choice moments include “cockroaches eating the crumbs from Big Stan,” who seems to really be enjoying his sandwich.
During the cutaway bridge, a lone exterminator enjoys an obligatory moment of self-doubt out in the mountains, before quickly abandoning such fleeting pangs of conscience to rush back, grab his poison and join the gang. In the last reprise, that selfsame sensitive type makes one more surprise entrance—a pop-up falsetto atop the brand’s logo during the final harmony.
Like all musicals, it’s a particular flavor—but in that wheelhouse, it’s well executed, smartly borrowing from the canon for its melodic backbone, and delivering a cohesive lyrical rewrite and strong performances, for an engaging final result (possibly more likely to generate laughs than the brand’s official termite comedian).
It’s also smart to draw on the brand’s actual marketing history, though it missed an opportunity to be less racially monochromatic, and male-dominated, in its imagining of the brand’s current vision—do a Google search for “The Orkin Man,” and the first image to pop up is a woman in the company’s signature hardhat (the same image that splashes atop of the brand’s homepage).
We sent the Orkin musical to the brand’s actual agency, The Richards Group in Dallas, who replied that they were impressed by the effort.
“We love The Orkin Man, and we love musicals,” said Richards Group creative director David Morring. “Congratulations to BYU and the creative team for a very funny and very well-produced video, and for winning the Andy Awards Student Grand Prize. We’re flattered to have our long-time advertising icon considered with the same high regard as Maria von Trapp.”
In fact, musicals were apparently a theme in AdLab’s broader student showcase this year—with another featuring Muppet versions of a brooding art director and obsessive copywriter dreaming about their first real job. In their bright-eyed naiveté, they seem to think that will mean “no more long hours, no more crying in the shower, no more deadlines, no more pressure, no more late nights, no more passive aggressive group members who don’t pull their weight or give personal space.”
For those graduates lucky enough to land a dream gig, just don’t forget to pack a sleeping bag to keep under your desk, and a generous supply of Kleenex.
Final judging of this year’s Andy Awards was conducted live on Facebook this year. Check out those discussions in the footage below.
Social Good Award
“Pests Do Not Mess With the Orkin Man”
Chris Petersen – Director, Producer, Writer, Art Director, Motion Designer, VFX, SFX & Editor
Seth Mollerup – Writer, Lyricist, Copywriter & Associate Director
Bentley Rawle – Director of Photography & Associate Director
Victoria Petersen – Craft, Makeup, On-Set Choreographer & Production Assistant
Jordan Kamalu – Orchestral Arrangement & Mix Aaron Wittrock – Composer Justin Delong – Audio Engineer Cole Davis – Choreographer Ryan Romanovitch – Colorist Adam Gaulke – Gaffer & Grip Tim Thompson – Gaffer & Grip
Cast: Brigham Kmetzsch Dakota Moses Ian Forsyth Zach Freeman Adam Gaulke Justin Delong
Special Thank You: Richard & Charlotte Mollerup, Tracy Kent Pugmire, Don & Tracy Petersen, Jay & Karen Young, Miguel & Mary Anaya, Western Pest Control, Keith Read, Kyle Fisher, David Pierce