‘On the Go’ Riffs for Sportswear

Those endless, self-indulgent guitar solos that occur at every rock concert are the theme of Fitzgerald & Co.’s new campaign for Jerzees.

The television spot, part of the Atlanta agency’s estimated $10 million effort for the manufacturer of casualwear, broke last week on TNN, USA, TBS, TNT, Fox and other cable outlets.

The campaign will also include radio, print and retail components, including a “Weekend of Country” sweepstakes, created by Fitzgerald’s promotional unit, The Botsford Group.

In the television ad, a voiceover asks: “Ever wonder what singers do during the big guitar solo?” In a rapid and effective montage, country singer Jo Dee Messina dashes from performance to dressing room, shucks her sequins for Jerzees sweats, goes bowling, takes a kickboxing class, gets her eyes checked, picks out paint samples, then hustles back on stage while lead guitarist Tony Obrahta is still flailing away on his axe.

The narrator reminds viewers that Jerzees are “sweats you’ll feel good in when you’re on the go.”

Jerzees, an Atlanta-based division of Russell Corp. in Alexander City, Ala., teamed up with Messina earlier this year.

“They let us know they’d be using a celebrity spokeswoman, so we’d been working on an idea where we could bring her world into the spot while keeping the brand running through it,” said Fitzgerald vice president and group creative director Chris Schlegel, who was the art director on the commercial.

The intent of the message, according to Schlegel, was to combine Messina’s life on and off stage with that of the target audience—multi-tasking moms with no time for overdressing.

The concept came from copywriter and group creative director Susan Willoughby, who wondered what singers do during instrumental solos. “We played ‘What if,’ ” said Schlegel. “Jo Dee actually does kickbox.”

Jeff Koz of Los Angeles music house HUM composed the guitar improv mimicking Messina’s band, capturing the sound accurately, Schlegel said.

Adam Massey, most recently with Reactor Films in Los Angeles, directed the two-day shoot in Toronto. The production team cast extras, clearly a SAG strike-inspired effort, with the exception of Messina and Obrahta.