Agency Fallon,

Agency Fallon, Minneapolis

Where to find faces that would capture the “wide-eyed, unsuspecting” look of people who have fallen victim to identity theft? Art director Steve Sage found exactly what the Fallon team was after in his Episcopal- church directory.

“It was just hysterical,” says group creative director John Matejczyk. “There were people posing with their dog, with a potted plant next to them.” The team wanted to lift photos out of the directory itself but failed to get the rights from its publisher. Instead, photographer Stephanie Rau reshot one of the churchgoers, Jack Wiborg. “I had $23,000 worth of liposuction,” reads a line of copy over the double-chinned man.

The client also wanted to show an “innocent cheerleader” type, but none were to be found in the older-skewing church directory. Matejczyk and Sage didn’t need to look far for their woman: They enlisted colleague Emily Frazee, a project manager on United Airlines. “There are three warrants for my arrest,” reads her ad. “One of them involves smuggling.” The ad made a stir in Frazee’s hometown of Kahoka, Mo., where it seems the campaign’s message was misunderstood. About a dozen people “totally freaked out and called my mom and dad, and thought I was a convict,” she says. “Everybody thought I was in trouble.”

The campaign’s main challenge was to find a light way to discuss a serious subject, Matejczyk says. “We didn’t want to be all scary,” he explains. “The obvious thing would be to say, ‘Ooh, this is bad, really awful.’ ” The two print spreads followed the original blueprint for Fallon’s TV commercials, which were to show squeaky-clean types talking about the terrible things they’d done, ending with the line, “At least, that’s what my credit report says I did.” Only later did Sage add the twist in the spots: the victims lip-syncing in time with incongruous voices.