Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Biting the Hand That Feeds

A few years ago we were hired to shoot a TV commercial for a spin-off version of Cap’N Crunch called Cozmic Crunch. Cozmic (the “z” makes it that much tastier) Crunch is Cap’N Crunch with a twist. The cereal came with a packet of rust colored sugar that you poured on top of the Crunch. When milk was added the rust shavings turned the milk Puke Green. Lovely. And you wonder why America is full of fat kids with no attention spans.

The concept of the commercial was this: Get real kids to A) Describe Martians and B) have them turn the milk green, do a “bite and smile” and tell us how great Cozmic Crunch is. No kidding, ad agencies make a lot of money coming up with these ideas. What were the rejected concepts?

The agency handled casting and we were going to shoot 70 kids over two days. The first 20 kids didn’t know from Martians, so they couldn’t describe them. They also didn’t want to eat the cereal. When they saw the milk turn green they got scared. One little girl tried to eat it and her lower lip quivered and shook. There were tears, there was gagging, there was retching.

During our breaks I could hear the agency complain in stage whispers, “Maybe he’s not so good with kids? “ Maybe we should pull the plug. Is Ebel free? (Bob Ebel is the BIG kids director in town- “If my baloney had a first name it’s O-S-C-A-R…” that’s Ebel.” Crew members avoided making eye contact with me. You know it’s bad when a teamster tries to comfort you. “Kids. Whatta dey know ‘bout Martians?” He said. On top of all this my dad was in town and decided to visit the set. I kept looking at him and he was giving me the “I told you you should have gone to law school” look. It was Hell.

Finally after about 3 hours of this- and shooting film which we knew was never going to see the light of day- one kid comes in and does it right. He practically is a Martian, the green milk was the dietary supplement he waited 10 years for. He wanted to take home a box. Relief. People spoke to me again. My dad gave me the thumbs up with only a trace of the law school look. We were home free.

Over the next day and a half we got plenty of good footage. We edited the commercial and it really was funny. Lots of quick cuts of kids describing Martians. Very nice. Two weeks later we were informed the cereal company was going to go in a different direction. They canned the commercial and the national release of Cozmic Crunch. Our loss. Proving again nobody knows nothing.

PeterH

6 comments:

Lyn said...

Ha, ha, ha! I loved this! So true and so well stated... It is amazing what the ad world conceives to be great ad campaign... Glad that it worked out for you...

PeterH said...

Lyn,

Thanks for reading. It worked out ok and we have worked with kids lots of times before and since Cozmic Crunch.

PeterH

Winston said...

Sounds fun to me! Hmm, do we get to see a clip of the final edit? Hehe. Or, can U mail me a box of the cereal? I want to see how green does the milk become. Just kidding.

Donnacha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donnacha said...

When life imitates art, it's bad enough. When it imitates satire, it takes all the fun out of the joke...

http://www.transmogrifier.org/ch/comics/94/04/07.gif

Anonymous said...

I bet if Bob Ebel directed the commercial, we'd be eating Cozmic Crunch Today!