Jan 2017 16

Continuing with ‘my favourite Canadian commercials ever’ theme, no list would be complete without including this epic spot.

Long before I was in advertising, or even thought I wanted to do this, this spot was already a legend. I may have paid more attention to it because I knew my mother had some kind of connection to the Prairies that I wouldn’t understand until I was in my 20s and learned about her life.

I don’t know much about its’ production or credits other than Bill Irish was the director, but it seeps with nostalgia, Canadianism, and a sweetness that today would be made fun of.

I guess what I still like about it is that the world has become so cynical and this spot is just so straight up sincere. A simple story, beautifully told. Big cinematic feeling and photography. And great performances. We’ve all had a ‘bike story’. It may not have been a bike that you wanted, but you know the feeling.

Jan 2017 09
Recently, I asked a friend why they quit social media. I think we meandered from the topic before I got an answer, but then I saw this and it made sense. Even though I didn’t write it, I feel it, man… I mean, I don’t want more time to run. Makes my knees hurt. And I have very flat feet. But time… I don’t need more of it. I think I just need to refocus it. Couldn’t we all?

 

 

Credits:
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Creative directors: Chris Groom & Antony Goldstein
Creatives: Stefan van den Boogaard, Tim Arts
Motion designer: Alex Bernard
Editorial company: Joint

 

 

 

Jan 2017 04

Canada is turning 150 this year. If you haven’t heard about that, you certainly will as advertisers seem to be getting on the One Fifty bandwagon. I’ve been lucky enough to get phone calls for a few freelance projects from advertisers looking to celebrate their Canadian heritage. Due to scheduling, I haven’t taken any on yet but I have to admit that it’s a creative challenge that any Copywriter in Canada would love to take on.

The history of this nation runs deep and there is so much humour and nostalgia to tap into.

Over the next months, I’ll occasionally tab a spot from Canadian Advertising History that I wish I had done. This first one features some of my favourite copywriting from the last 5 years or so. It’s for The Bay. And although I’m not a fan of the heavy-handed shots of the clothing etc. at the end (I know, a necessary thing of course), I LOVE the writing and tone of this spot. So Canadian. So patriotic.

The perfect tone to send us into the Vancouver Olympic Games from Canada’s Outfitter.

 

Dec 2016 31

Dreading your New Year’s resolution of quitting smoking, getting in shape, or giving up all your worldly possessions and moving to a mountaintop in Bhutan?

Good news. You have an extra second in 2016 to keep sinning and putting it off.

A Leap Second will be added to the clock today at 6:59:59 pm EST. There will officially be a 6:59:60 before the clocks hit 7:00:00 pm. Apparently the earth’s rotation is a bit wobbly and some days are a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second longer than others. Not just Mondays. So every few years, scientists ‘resynchronize’ our clocks to account for that. This is one of those years.

So enjoy that chili dog, cocaine, internet Viking Fantasy porn, and menthol king-size extra lights for just a little longer. 

The end is nigh. But one second not as nigh as you think.

 

Dec 2016 18

With Canada gearing up for the 150th Birthday celebrations next year, I was contacted by The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this week. They’ve been compiling a list of the 150 Essential Works in Canadian Cinema History.

And I’m proud to say that ‘Start The Car!’, a commercial I was the writer for back in 2005, was named to the list.

It was selected by a 200 member cross-country wide panel as part of Canada’s cultural legacy, one of 10 commercials to make the list.

So yah, that’s pretty cool eh? When Allan Mah, my creative partner at the time, and I cooked that up back at the ad agency, Zig, we had no idea it would resonate like it has for the last ten years. I still remember shooting all night in the IKEA Etobicoke location, and then in the morning we moved production outside into the parking lot. A snowstorm blew in just as we were getting our last shots, but we managed to squeeze in at least one good take of our Heroine in the car celebrating ‘Whooooooo!’ before weather shut us down. There wasn’t enough room in the tiny red car for me. So I was listening to the performance on headphones as I watched the little red car drive maniacally around the parking lot. Once I heard one that sounded crazy and unhinged enough, I knew we were good to wrap. And it snowed for a couple of days after that. We were lucky.

As for the spot itself, I guess it taps into a human truth about feeling like you’re getting away with something. And as Canadians, we’re so polite and law-abiding, even when we think we’re breaking the law we do it with a bit of guilt.

‘Start the Car!’ and the entire 150 list will be part of celebrations, starting in April of 2017.

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