Lowe Lintas gives RCA a sharper, richer image
Old dogs may not be able to learn new tricks, but they can sometimes teach a few.
So say the RCA creatives at Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, who recently put the brand›s lovable Jack Russell terriers, Nipper and Chipper, into their first high-definition commercial.
The spots are part of an estimated $35 million ad effort in the U.S. and Latin America touting the company›s heritage as a technological leader as well as its new line of high-definition televisions.
Nipper and Chipper, known for performing movements in unison in RCA›s ads, make brief cameos in the new spot. But since it was filmed in high-definition, which is much crisper than analog, the agency had to devise a way to merge the separately filmed frames that make the dogs look in sync.
˜As soon as you put it in high-def, you can see when a blade of grass doesn›t match up with another blade of grass,” says copywriter Doug James. ˜We had to learn new ways to fake everybody out.”
Of course, the star of the ad isn›t a person, it›s the row of hash marks that appears on TV screens when the volume, color and other controls are adjusted.
In the spot, as a man adjusts the sharpness on his TV, the bar extends to the right and then zooms completely out of the set. It hits a lamp and careens through the neighborhood, knocking over a garden gnome, a kid›s ice cream cone and a pile of leaves. A boy is seen running from the bar, yelling ˜Mom!” as the terriers follow the action from the foreground. The tagline is: ˜Changing entertainment. Again.”
˜We sat in a dark room for a long time debating exactly what a sharpness bar in the 3-D world would be and how it would move,” says James.
Two earlier spots in the campaign broke late last year, focusing on RCA›s brand heritage.
˜Static” offers a frenetic vignette of snowy images from past RCA ads. A voiceover says, ˜Do not adjust your set … There›s nothing wrong with your TV. We just made a better one.” It ends with a clear picture of the dogs and the new high-def TVs.
In ˜The Future of TV,” a museum security guard turns off the lights in an exhibit room showing families enjoying advancements in TV technology, all brought to them by RCA.
The guard sits down to watch the last exhibit: an RCA high-def television. A little too enthusiastic about a football game, he accidentally knocks off the head of the mannequin next to him.
The Lowe Lintas team completed all three spots in analog and high-def. RCA has requested both formats for all future spots until the conversion to HDTV is complete.
˜That added a lot of pressure,” says creative director and art director Niko Courtelis. ˜If the spots didn›t turn out well in high-def, it was kind of a moot point.”
Among other concerns, the creatives had to frame the ads for both screen shapes and add stereo sound. ˜We twisted knobs that you don›t normally get to twist and made things come from all angles,” says James.
The added details will only be discerned by viewers with HDTV, probably only 1 percent of the television audience, James says. But the experience did help the team get a head start on technical skills it will need for the future.
˜It helped me develop my understanding of the craft,” James says. K
Agency: Lowe Lintas & Partners, New York
Creative Directors: Niko Courtelis, Adam Goldstein, Doug James
Copywriters: Doug James, Glen Hunt
Art Directors: Niko Courtelis, Andrew Golomb, Mike MacNeill
Producer: Jack McWalters
Production Cos.: @radical media, Santa Monica, Calif., Tomato, London
Directors: Barton Landsman, Graham Wood
Editors: Clayton Hemmert, Crew Cuts, New York Dirk Greene, The Mill, London