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Umlaut Goes Nutty In Clever Campaign For Emerald Nuts

Following success of 2005 acrostics campaign, another spot premieres at 2006 Super Bowl XL (February 07, 2006)

Comically absurd situations are cleverly translated into acronyms that spell out the universal appeal of Emerald Nuts in a new campaign from ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and edited by Jean Kawahara of Umlaut. The spots follow the success of last year's Super Bowl and enthusiasm for acrostics.

"Druid" broke in the fourth quarter of the 2006 Super Bowl yesterday. The other two commercials, "Manicurists" and "Matadors," first aired on December 29th on ESPN during the nationally televised Emerald Bowl game.

"Manicurists" starts off in a busy nail salon. The setting would be pedestrian if it weren't for the crate labeled "10,000 FIRE ANTS" looming above the workers and customers. Secured only by a single cable tied onto a flimsy cabinet hinge, the big loops of the knot prove tempting for a curious customer. Before the woman can unleash the fury of 10,000 furious insects, a worker, with his back turned to the situation, simply blurts, "I wouldn't do that" without missing a beat. If "Engrossed Manicurists Eventually Relay Advice Like Do Not Untie That String," then everyone must love Emerald Nuts.

Similarly, "Matadors" shows a group of littering matadors on the run who love Emerald Nuts and don't use the steamroller. The last spot, "Druid," reveals an offbeat group of machete enthusiasts who encounter a little druid networking under the stairs.

For Umlaut Editor Jean Kawahara, the challenge with the spots was in deciding whether to portray the people in these absurd situations as matter-of-fact or to play up the absurdity with bigger performances by the actors.

"We decided on the more naturalistic approach, which we thought emphasized the absurdity," explains Kawahara. "The 'Druid' spot was mostly ad-libbed so I had plenty of material to choose from. There were several versions that worked pretty well; narrowing it down to one was a little difficult, but that's a great problem to have."

Since Director Jim Hosking lives in London, Kawahara frequently communicated with him via email during the editing process. She credits his close attention to detail during the shoot, as well as the smooth collaboration with Art Director Stacy Milrany and Copywriter Will Elliott for translating so well into the edit.

Kawahara was familiar with the product and what the agency was going for having edited the original Emerald Nuts campaign, which was also directed by Jim Hosking.

"I had seen the boards and the casting pictures so I knew what to expect," concludes Kawahara. "Still, seeing a druid screaming into the phone is sort of hard to imagine so the dailies were a blast. On the whole, the scripts were funny, the casting was perfect, Jim [Hosking] covered every spot well and the art direction was great. We also did the sound design and music here with Nathan Petty so everything came together pretty quickly. All that makes my job extremely easy and fun."

Client: Diamond Foods, Inc.

Spot Titles/Airdates:
"Druid" :30/February 5, 2006 (during Super Bowl XL)
"Manicurists" :30/December 29, 2005
"Matadors" :30/December 29, 2005

Ad Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco, CA
Creative Director: Jeff Goodby
Art Director: Stacy Milrany
Copywriter: Will Elliott
Producer: Elizabeth O'Toole

Production Company: Partizan/Los Angeles, CA
Director: Jim Hosking
DP: Bob Yoeman
Executive Producer: Sheila Stepanek
Where Shot: Los Angeles, CA

Editorial Company: Umlaut/San Francisco, CA
Editor: Jean Kawahara
Assistant Editor: Doug Brown
Executive Producer: Gina LoCurcio

Titles: Motion Theory/Santa Monica, CA
Art Director: Mark Kudsi
Designers: Mark Kudsi, Mike Slane, Paul Lee, Rob Resella
Post Production Supervisor: James Taylor
Executive Producer: Javier Jimenez

Postproduction Companies: Spy Post/San Francisco & The Syndicate/Santa Monica, CA
Colorist: Beau Leon @ The Syndicate
Online Editor: Darren Orr @ Spy Post

Stock Music: Extreme Music Disc #XEL003 Track #4 "Sweet and Low"

Sound Design Company: Umlaut/San Francisco, CA
Sound Designer: Nathan Petty

Audio Post Company: One Union Recording/San Francisco, CA
Mixer: Eben Carr

Umlaut: 123 Townsend Street, Suite 100, San Francisco, CA 94107.
T: 415.777.0123. F: 415.777.4123.
For more information visit


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Related Keywords:Umlaut, Emerald Nuts, Editor, sound design, Editorial Company,


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