Client: United Way
VP Marketing: Louise Bellingham
Director, Marketing and Communications: David Bernard
Marketing Manager: Yishey Chowden
Agency: Publicis, Toronto
Creative Director: Duncan Bruce
Art Director: Kenneth Forthergill
Writer: David Savoie
Producer: Erica Metcalfe
Account Director: Pamela Gilbert
Account Supervisor: Amy Letkemann
Production Company: Sons & Daughters, Toronto
Directors: Mark Zibert & Sean Cochrane
Executive Producer: Dan Ford
Producer: Erwin Abesamis
Editing House: Sons and Daughters, Toronto
Editor: Kim Knight
Visual Effects: Crush, Toronto
Visual Effects Supervisor: Sean Cochrane
Visual Effects Artist: Kaelem Cahill
Executive Producer: Jo-ann Cook
Producer: Stephanie Pennington
Music House: Grayson Matthews, Toronto
Some notes on the production of this campaign from Sean Cochrane, Co-Director and Visual Effects Supervisor.
Publicis Agency Producer Erica Metcalf brought the two United Way spots “A Way Out – Youth” and “A Way Out – Homelessness” to Crush. The script was technically challenging and Erica needed to know how we could execute the effect of the face and clothes ripping off of the main characters to reveal the different version of themselves underneath. The solution we came up with was to pre-composite the face onto the masked face shots and reveal the clean face as the mask is ripped off. We shot a test in our freight elevator at Crush and composited it all in one day.
The agency liked the test so we then teamed-up with Sons and Daughters’ Mark Zibert to DP and co-direct the spot with myself. Mark and I tweaked the script slightly and gave the pieces more of a documentary feel using “City of God” as reference for tone and camera techniques. The hope was that this approach would make this effects spot feel nothing like just a display of flashy vfx within a commercial. It had to blend.
Casting was especially essential for “A Way Out - Youth” and finding the right young boys was very difficult. We went through four rounds of casting before finding the right boys to play our street kids.
Once shot, we had two weeks to finish the spots. The on set effects were fantastic but once the footage came in we quickly realized that it lacked the unique look that we wanted to give the transformation shots - so we had to give them something extra. We decided to go into our studio to shoot some stop motion pieces of ripping shoes, clothing and ripping 'skin' to augment the effects shots to give them a more exciting look. Once we had all of the stop motion and live action, we went to work in the Flame. Once completed, we went to Notch to have them give the spot a documentary feel.
We are proud of the finished work and we hope that it inspires people to remember that United Way doesn't just hand out money - but that they help to rehabilitate youth and adults by providing tools and training programs. As United Way’s tag line proclaims, "What you are really giving, is a way out."
The TV Commercial titled Youth was done by Publicis Toronto advertising agency for product: United Way (brand: United Way) in United States. It was released in the Nov 2008.