CP+B’s Reaper Helps Fine Living Get Out of House

A frustrated grim reaper is at the center of Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s first TV campaign for the Fine Living Channel.

Two spots breaking next week from CP+B in Venice, Calif., are aimed at building awareness and buzz for the Scripps Networks brand, said Robyn Miller, svp of marketing for the Los Angeles-based client. Spending was undisclosed.

The ads, tagged “Live like you mean it,” show a dejected reaper who is unable to capture his prey because they are out living life.

In one spot, the reaper stands in front of a house, holding a card bearing the name Jeff Norcross. He rings the doorbell, and when no one answers, he peers in the windows and tries to unlock the door by reaching in through the doggie space. The next-door neighbor, who is trimming his hedges, tells him that Norcross is in Morocco. The reaper then chops off the top of the hedge with his scythe.

In the second spot, the reaper arrives at the office of Mark Simmons, who is out. He decides to wait, passing the time by playing golf on a tiny putting green, stapling his hand, chewing thumbtacks and flipping through a magazine. In the final scene, he sits in a dark office as a maintenance worker vacuums. A sign on the office door reveals that Simmons is off camping.

The network wanted to avoid the kind of “eye candy” used in most lifestyle-brand advertising and be “more interruptive,” said Miller. “When you think about lifestyle brands, you wouldn’t think about the grim reaper.”

CP+B creative director Sally Hogshead acknowledged the irony in a cable network encouraging people to get out of the house, but she added: “Fine Living is about having extraordinary ex-periences and living life more fully.”

More than 100 actors auditioned to play the reaper in what Hogs head called “one of the creepiest casting sessions.” The Miami-based agency chose “the Giorgio Armani version of the reaper” over “the cliché reaper,” she said.

The 30-second spots will run on Scripps Networks channels Fine Living, Home & Garden Television, the Food Network and DIY—Do It Yourself Network. Some 60-second versions will appear online.