FX to Air Shield Ads

Its second season won’t launch until Jan. 7, but FX Networks is already looking to capitalize on the buzz for its hit drama, The Shield, with a campaign directed by famed celebrity photographer Albert Watson.

Watson, whose work has graced the covers of more than 200 magazines, in cluding Vogue and Vanity Fair, was originally retained to shoot stills for the show. “The head of marketing said to me, ‘It’s a shame you don’t do TV spots,’ ” he said. “And I told him that I most certainly do.”

The effort, breaking this week, was created in-house, said Chris Carlisle, evp of marketing and promotions, “because no one knows our show better than us.”

Watson’s spots use close-ups and dramatic lighting to capture the essence of each character as dialogue plays from the first season. Each ad ends with a new line written by series creator Sean Ryan that foreshadows that character’s role in the new season.

One spot features rogue cop Vic Mackey, played by Michael Chik lis. The 30-second ad shows the cop moving through a dark space and pointing his gun. The sound track uses lines from last season that include a description of him as “Al Capone with a badge.” The spot ends with Mackey’s voice asking, “Who can I trust?”

Watson also di rected four other commercials that focus on other characters. The next one features Mackey’s colleague Claudette Wym, played by CCH Pounder.

Carlisle said Watson’s “film noir” technique will help the cam paign stand out in the general TV-marketing blitz this fall.