Tronvig Creates Super Bowl Ads for Consumer Directed Choices
It’s not every day that you get to put your client on the Super Bowl. It’s one of the holy grails of advertising. This is the abbreviated story of our little 15-second ad for the big day.
Our ever-working media buying partner DCW Media sends our team a note saying that CBS in New York still has some slots left for the Super Bowl in 2 weeks. That is not a lot of time, but we decide to share the opportunity with our clients who are in the market, figuring we can scramble and pull it together if one of them says yes.
One of our nonprofit home healthcare clients, Consumer Directed Choices, who we have been helping expand their reach across New York State, says “Yes!”
This happens late on Friday, January 26th. The finished Super Bowl Spots for Consumer Directed Choices is due to the CBS affiliate 10 days later on February 5th, a Monday. So in reality we have five and one-half business days and two weekends to get this concepted, created, approved, and produced.
In this moment, we must rely on the definition of creativity that was deeply ingrained in me by Jim Crane: problem-solving within formal constraints.
Constraint 1: No time
Needless to say I did nothing on Saturday and Sunday other than think about what the ad could and could not do and what it would take to get there. This is Think, Think, Do, a principle that when not followed, even in a panic situation like this one, gets you into trouble if you do not follow it.
We never panicked.
We also checked with all the talent segments that would need to be engaged to make this work: our copywriter, who was already well briefed on strategy for the campaign, having just come off of a New York City subway campaign for Consumer Directed Choices; our designer who had created the characters derived from the logo for the same campaign; our animator who had delivered on other rush projects before and who could be relied on to add significant value quickly; a reliable resource for original voice talent; and finally, our go-to roster of composers and musicians, because I’d be damned if I was going to have a Super Bowl ad with stock music in it.
So on Monday, the race was on with the writer, composer, animator, designer, and voice talent briefed and set in motion, after a full team brainstorming session to set the constraints and choose a strategic direction and tone for the ad.
Constraint 2: Fifteen seconds
In a one-time 15-second ad, you cannot lose sight of what is possible and what is important. As I see it, the biggest miss would be to not focus on the brand. Brand recognition is at the greatest risk of being lost in too much other stuff. We are not going to be able to educate or convince or compel any action really, but we could introduce the brand—as a tangible visual asset and possibly as a mood or personality.
Constraint 3: Assets
Developing original and compelling branded assets takes time, so, what did we already have? We had just launched a New York City subway campaign and that was already moving in the direction of turning the elements of the Consumer Directed Choices logo, which we inherited, into “Connie,” a character who reflects their brand strengths of friendliness and caring competence. So building on this was the right direction.
Constraint 4: The client
The back and forth, client input, approval, and final production. By Friday night, we were done. No working over the weekend—just fun with the family.
I know that if we had had three weeks instead of one, we would have used them all and the result might have been different. But given the stringent formal constraints of this project, I am proud of the team, the process, and the result. The client is also very happy, and we all know that at the end of the day what matters is what you can get approved. Now this coming weekend, our Consumer Directed Choices Super Bowl ad gets to say “Hello there.” to New York.
It has a teaser and a more practical payoff. Each 15 seconds. Here is the teaser. Enjoy.
For more on our work for Consumer Directed Choices, please see our case study.