Arkansas’ N.Y. State of Mind

Quick. Where is the nation’s top Fortune 500 company located?

That is the question posed to passersby on New York City streets in Stone & Ward’s new television spot for the Arkansas Department of Economic Development.

Respondents’ answers range from Houston to Zurich, Switzerland, before they are informed that the company [Wal-Mart] is located in Bentonville, Ark.

The 30-second commercial be-gins airing this week on CNNFN. Print ads in newspapers throughout Arkansas will support.

The Little Rock, Ark., agency, with the help of local director Dan Waymack, shot the solo spot over a three-day period earlier this month. A split screen’s busy cityscapes on Wall Street, Fifth and Park Ave-nues and the Upper East and West Sides convey the constant movement in Manhattan. Traffic noise fades as the commercial cuts to a visual of Wal-Mart’s corporate offices, followed by a listing of other businesses that call Arkansas home.

“Arkansas, a natural for business” is the tagline.

“Some people knew that the top Fortune 500 company was Wal-Mart, but they didn’t know where it was located,” said agency creative director Jay Cranford. “So that’s the problem. And that’s why we conceived this simple way to remind people that Wal-Mart got its start in Arkansas.”

Cranford said the shop, which has held the Arkansas DED account for six years, decided not to use actors in the spot.

“We just pulled over any kind of business-looking person we could find and asked them our question,” he said. “That way we knew all their responses would be natural.”

The colors in the footage, however, were anything but natural. The crew used color filtering and post-production techniques to give both New York and Bentonville more pop.

“Spring hadn’t quite sprung yet,” Cranford said.