As is the case, at least my experience, with the entertainment/creative job market, there's no shortage of sure things that aren't in fact sure things. It comes with the territory, and if you're lucky, you come through the other side mostly unscathed, a little over worked, and you at least have something interesting for the reel and an interesting story in your back pocket.
Boy do I have a kind of interesting story for you!
About 9 months ago, I was informally asked/suggested to make a pitch reel/proof of concept for an ad campaign for one of Brazil's biggest brands in home cleaning products. This was through friends of the family. They dug my writing and thought I could lend an alternative sensibility to a foreign audience. If you couldn't tell by my last name, the Brazilian connection should be pretty apparent. (Silva roughly translates to "He who has bad credit")
The company was Bombril, and the bedrock of their legacy was a steel wool pad:
super photogenic, right?
For over 60 years, their slogan was "1001 Uses"
I appreciate the ridiculous, so 1001 it was. I talked my good friend, who also happens to be a great DP, Dan Reinecke, to fly up for a week, and see what kind of trouble we could get into. The basic outline of the campaign was thus. "Bombril Presents: 1001 Uses. Use # xxxx: blah blah blah" and then we’d proceed to show how Bombril could be used in a silly and kooky way. Pretty simple, tons of possibilities. Not too dissimilar to Geico’s never ending parade of absurdist advertising.
What follows are 4 of the 8 Bombril Commercials we produced over those few days.
Right out the gate, we got a little weird. We suggested you can use Bombril as a cellphone. Not to clean your cellphone, but as an actual cellphone. Edgy comedy, you guys. Big h/t to Gary Ahmed, who not only was a huge hand that day on the production side, but stepped in to act and deadpanned such a great reaction, that you actually buy it.
2. Polish Your Soccer Trophies
Cause Brazil loves soccer, get it? This one was one of the actual, practical applications for the wool pad, but I decided it would be fun to do this with my actual soccer trophy collection, which you’ll see is very impressive. The first few takes were fine, but then we came up with the final light gag, and Dan quickly rigged up the final payoff.
3. Washing Your Son’s Dishes
Being for an international market, I thought it’d be best to lean on one of Brazil’s most dependable comedic stalwarts; the lazy lounge-about son, and the no-nonsense mother. This one plays against the expectations of the title, just when you think you’re going to see a friendly mother doting on her son and washing his dirty dishes. This was made better by my actual mom stepping in to help out, playing opposite her own lounge-about son. Dan kept laughing behind the camera even though he had no idea what she was actually saying. So I’m not going to translate, we’ll just let the international language of abuse do all the talking.
4. A Pet for People Who Have Allergies
This one started off earnestly, and then took a very dark dark turn. Once we had the prompt of what kind of person would build and live with a fake pet, it just kept spiraling downward. Top shelf human being Matty Lisewski agreed to help out and be in these without me actually ever telling him what he would be doing. So he handled it like a champ when we had him shave his beard into a mustache and completely obliterated any expectations I had for how this would turn out. The critter was created entirely out of steel wool by Yulissa Morales.
Fun stuff right? No? Well forget you then. That’s it for the first batch, I’ll do a write up on the remaining videos next week or something, and those are pretty fun too.
Leave any feedback you’d like, and I’ll see you soon.