The three 'opera' commercials from Wieden & Kennedy/Amsterdam, 'Barkley of Seville,' 'Don Quincy' and 'The Magic Shoe,' were conceived in the heat of a 'desperate' search for an idea last fall, said agency copywriter Bob Moore.
'We had looked at the 'responsible' work we had done and (account director) Susan (Hoffman) said, 'You know, this stuff just isn't great advertising. We need a bigger idea.',' Moore said. The commercials are loosely, yet convincingly, based on classical music such as Rossini's Barber of Seville. And, indeed, it was the 'Barkley of Seville' script that came together first and most easily, said Hoffman, 'because basketball tends to be an easier subject to do advertising around since it's so aggressive and visually interesting.' Still, this particular spot almost never happened, which might have had consequences for the entire project, as Barkley was initially a reluctant participant.
The campaign, which was shot in Los Angeles by Joe Pytka, cost between $1.8 million and $2.2 million to produce. It began airing on TV and in cinemas (there's print, too) in 12 European countries on Feb. 15, with appropriate subtitles, and supported by a media budget of about $20 million. According to Moore, there are no plans to run the ads in the U.S., not only because the U.S. has its own campaign, but also because 'we felt opera is more appropriate for a European audience.'
Daniel Tilles writes for CB Communication News in France.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)