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Final Cut and ONDCP Create Successful Ad Campaign

The commercials use wit and context to speak to young adults (December 14, 2005)

"When you give up the ability to decide for yourself, you give up what makes you, you." This is the closing quote from one of the ads in a new campaign for The Office of National Drug Control Policy, which was edited by Final Cut. The spots developed by ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding while working as a pro bono agency of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, are designed to help teenagers resist negative pressure and introduce the tagline, "Above the Influence."

The commercials use wit and context to speak to young adults on a peer-to-peer level without being too overbearing or dismissive of the pressures they face on a daily basis. In "Fist In Mouth", a young man sits in the nurse's office at school with his entire fist in his mouth. The nurse speaks directly to the camera and translates as the boy mumbles incoherently. The trouble began when his friends first told him to smoke some pot and then dared him to put his fist in his mouth, which he now can't extract. "I'm an idiot," the teen declares via the nurse. "I'm under the influence of others and that ain't me."

Another spot, "Smushed," features a girl who has literally been smushed to half her size by the pressures to be cool and popular and to drink and do drugs. When the interviewer asks what happened to her, she explains that pressure happened. "So, now what?"  inquires the person behind the camera. The crinkled, two-foot tall girl replies, "I don't know, but this isn't working."

For Final Cut Editor Akiko Iwakawa, who cut four of the six spots, the campaign offered a fresh approach to the anti-drug message. "It was exciting to see the creative from the teens' point of view. While the spots are anti-pot focused, their message applies to other types of pressure that young adults face these days such as the need to fit in or look a certain way."

Sarah Iben, editor on the "Awakenings" and "Transformation" spots, also applauded the concept of the campaign. "Instead of talking down to the kids, the ads present situations that empower teens to make their own decisions. 'Above the Influence' is a positive slogan for teens to embrace."

Each of the commercials uses a different tack and style to drive the message home. "Fist In Mouth" has the appearance of a documentary film complete with nervous camera movement, which Iwakawa maintained by keeping some of the edits rough and the shakiness on camera. In "Tic Tic," there is no immediately apparent link between the visuals of the dog and the VO of the teen who claimed he smoked weed yesterday; however, their relationship becomes clear during a slow-mo (and somewhat comedic) sequence where the teen tries to outrun the dog as a dare by his friends.

"Flat" and "Smushed" take on a performance-oriented visual approach. "Flat" focuses on the friend of a pot smoker who communicates that she's become boring as a result of the drug use and effectively captures the silence and discomfort between the two friends. "I worked closely with the effects team to make the situations look as real as possible," concludes Iwakawa. "The concepts are so unusual that we didn't want to detract from them. As such, we felt that smaller movements with the camera carried more meaning for these two spots."

For "Transformation," Iben says the challenge was to select elements from different performances and sequences and piece them together. Much attention was paid to decide which characters worked together at the same time and to ensure their actions and interactions complemented each other. "It almost became a mathematical equation to combine the various elements. I put together a rough cut in terms of what was and wasn't going to work and then sent it to The Mill so they could composite everything in a seamless manner. The agency was great in providing general feedback on the edits, but allowing me to do my job."

Client: ONDCP

Spot Titles/Airdates:
"Awakenings"         :30/November 2, 2005
"Transformation"   :30/November 9, 2005
"Fist In Mouth"      :30/November 16, 2005
"Flat"           :30/November 23, 2005
"Tic Tic"             :30/December 2, 2005 (in cinema)
"Smushed"        :30/December 14, 2005

Ad Agency: Foote, Cone & Belding/New York, NY
Chairman/Chief Creative Officer: Chris Becker
VP/Associate Creative Director: Keith Ross
Art Director: Keith Ross ("Awakenings," "Fist in Mouth," "Tic Tic", "Smushed", "Flat"), Daniela Montanez ("Transformation")
Copywriter: Gary Resch/Heidi Hackemer ("Awakenings"), Matt Bottkol ("Transformation"), Tim Roan ("Fist in Mouth," "Tic Tic"), Heidi Hackemer ("Smushed", "Flat")
Senior Producers: Liz Haberman ("Awakenings," "Transformation," "Flat," "Smushed"), John McAdorey ("Fist in Mouth," "Tic Tic")
EVP/Director of Broadcast: Andrew Chinich
Music Producer: Gregory Grene ("Awakenings," "Transformation," "Tic Tic")

Production Company: Partizan ("Smushed," Flat," "Awakenings," "Transformation")
Director: Paul Goldman
DP: Alex Melman
Executive Producer: Sheila Stepanek
Producer: Susan Rued
Where Shot: Los Angeles, CA

Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks ("Fist in Mouth," "Tic Tic")
Director: Jeff Fleisig
DP: Scott Buttfield
Executive Producer: Shawn Lacy Tessaro
Producer: Darrin Ball
Where Shot: House in Van Nuys, Van Nuys Medical Center, Lumber Yard/Los Angeles, CA

Editorial Company: Final Cut/New York
Editors: Akiko Iwakawa ("Smushed," Flat," "Tic Tic," "Fist in Mouth") &
Sarah Iben ("Awakenings," "Transformation")
Assistant Editors: Patrick Coleman ("Smushed," Flat," "Tic Tic," "Fist in Mouth") & Ashley Kreamer ("Awakenings," "Transformation")
Executive Producer: Stephanie Apt
Producer: Jennifer Hargreaves

VFX: The Mill/New York, NY
Flame Artist: Westly Sarokin
Assist: Nick Bennett
CGI: Wyatt Savarese
Producer: Melanie Wickham

Flame Artist: Dirk Greene
Assist: Jeanette Williford
Producer: Melanie Wickham

Flame Artist: Nick Bennett
Assist: Jeff Robins, Tara DeMarco
Producer: Melanie Wickham

Smoke Artist: Aidan Thomas
Producer: Lily Crowley

Postproduction Company: Company 3 & The Mill/New York, NY
Colorists: Tim [email protected] Company 3 ("Tic Tic," "Fist in Mouth") & Fergus McCall @ The Mill ("Awakenings," "Smushed," "Flat," "Transformation")
Online Editors: Aiden Thomas ("Awakenings"), Dirk Greene ("Smushed"), Westly Sarokin ("Flat"), Nick Bennett ("Transformation") @ The Mill

Music Company: The Lodge & Fluid/New York, NY
Creative Directors: Andrew Stein, Neil McClellan @ The Lodge ("Awakenings" and "Transformation")
Composer: Matt Robertson @ The Lodge ("Awakenings" and "Transformation")
Composer: Judson Crane @ Fluid ("Tic Tic")

Audio Post Company: audioEngine/New York, NY
Mixer: Rex Recker

Page: 1

Related Keywords:final cut facility, commercials, Office of National Drug Control Policy, "Fist In Mouth", "Im an idiot, "


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