If you're relying on your local barista to talk you through life's challenges, stop right now, says this amusing video for a text/video-chat counseling service called In Your Corner.
The spot was written and directed by Pete Marquis and Jamie McCelland, who are perhaps best known for making HelloFlo's "Camp Gyno" and "First Moon Party" ads. It features a barista named Theresa, who is an amateur advice-dispensing "baristapist"—a portmanteau combining barista and therapist.
To say Theresa is an inept counselor is putting it mildly.
We caught up with Marquis and McCelland to find out more about the project.
AdFreak: How did this project come about? Did you know the company beforehand?
Jamie McCelland: Bea [Arthur], the founder of In Your Corner, had seen our work with HelloFlo and reached out to us. And when you get an email from someone named Bea Arthur, you respond. She wanted to take the stigma out of therapy through humor.
Pete Marquis: We hadn't heard of the company before, but we sat down with Bea and loved her vision for the brand. Offering therapy via video chat and text opens the door for so many people to get expert help, even lazy people like us.
Where did the idea for the Baristapist come from?
Marquis: The idea came from the insight that people are hesitant to seek actual, professional therapy, but still get it from everywhere—their friends, relatives, their hairstylist, even the barista. And that's when advice can be the absolute worst.
McCelland: We wanted to show what unprofessional advice can look like, and ultimately emphasize that In Your Corner offers professional, expert help, which is way better.
What was the scriptwriting like?
McCelland: Theresa the Baristapist is a barista who believes her true calling is therapy. We thought of her as a Jane Lynch-like character—as self-important as she is delusional. We wanted to have fun with the idea that she's giving unlicensed advice with no accountability or concern for anyone's long-term mental health.
The actress is pretty great. Where did you find her?
Marquis: Casting for this role was way too easy. Alex, the actress, was the first one to come into the audition, and she blew us away. Bea wanted to stop the casting then and there—we didn't, but we could have because Alex set the bar extremely high. She channeled that character frighteningly well, and her improv was incredible. A lot of the stuff she made up on set ended up in the cut, which was something we always hope for. We could not have been happier with her performance.
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