Trahan, Burden & Charles of Baltimore has broken the first ad for its newest client, The Baltimore Sun. The 60-second spot, airing this week, is the centerpiece of a literacy initiative sponsored by Baltimore's only daily.
The commercial, supported by in-paper print, will run on Baltimore television stations throughout the year, according to Allan Charles, executive vice president and creative director of TB&C. The literacy program will include new features and amusing exercises in the paper on a regular basis that parents can read to their kids.
"The spot may be tagged differently for different programs, like the summer reading initiative," said Marcia Goldman, director of communications at The Sun.
The "Reading by nine" push precedes an image series now in development. "The branding process will focus on the rich changes and improvements in the paper," Charles said.
The "Falling Behind" spot is an evocative metaphor for Baltimore's bleak literacy statistics--89 percent of the city's children are reading below grade level. The ad shows kids running along the Inner Harbor. One boy slowly falls off the pace, until he fails to continue. The tag: "If they fall behind, we all fall behind."
"A lot of [these spots] go for shock and horror," said Charles. "We wanted to surprise people and make it hopeful. We didn't want to focus on the dark side; we wanted to be part of the solution."
TB&C won the $1.5 million business after a review about two months ago. W.B. Doner, also of Baltimore, previously had the high-profile account.
Creative credits go to Charles, copywriter Keith Quesenberry and art director Rob Schnapp.