For Quaker Supreme, It’s All in the Casting

NEW YORK Director Errol Morris coaxes authentic performances out of non-actors in three TV spots that broke this week for Quaker Oatmeal Supreme.

The commercials are by Element 79 Partners in Chicago. Each shows a person who is an expert in one of the new Supreme flavors like pecan and banana. In “Nut Cousins,” a pecan farmer measures his crop with an instrument and talks about how much he likes Quaker Oatmeal Supreme with pecans. “I’m a nut expert so I know what I’m talking about,” he says. Ads are tagged, “Something to smile about.”

To find the real-life experts (whose lines were unscripted), the agency turned to Jane Brody, a casting agent who, along with Morris’ production company,, canvassed 15 cities and found some 2,000 candidates during a six-week process.

“Its tricky finding people,” said agency producer Cheryl Lindquist. “They have to look good enough to be on camera, and tell an interesting story.”

Once the people were selected, they appeared on set in their own clothes and were recorded by Morris and his Interretron camera. They were each shot in a studio in Los Angeles for about two-and-a-half to three hours each as Morris asked them questions about what they thought of Quaker Oatmeal Supreme.

The people were not told exactly what they would talk about until they got to the set.

“We like not setting it up a lot up front, having it be a surprise, then finding those great moments when they get on set and getting great film out of them,” Lindquist said.

Campaign credits go to chief creative officer dennis Ryan, group creative director Susan Bertocchi, creative director and copywriter Chris Laubach, and associate creative director and art director Dave Boensch.