Whimsical. What a lovely word. But trust us — when applied to television advertising — “whimsical” is among the toughest tricks to pull off with much success. And yet. Euro RSCG/Chicago chief creative officer Jason Peterson and his creative team have done just that in the agency’s new TV commercial for Reynolds Wrap, a client brought on board last year.
When we heard that Euro won the Reynolds business, our first — perhaps too flip — reaction was “yeah, so what?” Like so many accounts that wind up on client rosters in Chicago, this piece of business, at first glance, appeared to be yet another client that would fail — and spectacularly so — to help elevate the local advertising industry’s creative profile.
This new Reynolds spot called “Meal Magic” does far more elevating than we would have initially imagined. And it has done so with a hugely utilitarian product as its inspiration.
Granted, the concept for the spot isn’t at its core the most original. It would take years, probably, to count up the number of critters, creatures and mascots — or whatever one cares to call them — that ad agencies have conjured to help market any number of products.
Well, Euro RSCG has added more to the list by giving us a little army of tinfoil people and creatures who play out a cute little domestic scene while helping to prepare dinner in — where else — the kitchen.
Hero ‘Reynold’ heads helpful tinfoil men
At the top of “Meal Magic,” we see the hero of this little saga —a beefy tinfoil man nicknamed (what else?) Reynold — emerge from a Reynolds Wrap box. He straight-away is joined by others hiding inside, including a pudgy chef and a couple of his lieutenants, as well as a bird.
Before one can say “tinfoil,” one of the tinfoil men has become buried beneath a giant mound of potatoes. A comrade comes to his rescue with a knife, which is deftly used to dice the spuds and free the trapped tinfoil man.
Meanwhile, several other characters are busy helping place what look to be some breaded chicken tenders on a foil-covered sheet in the oven. Closing the oven door becomes a big production number as we watch the men atop their tinfoil steeds getting the deed done.
Others on the scene are airlifting a casserole from the stove to a nearby kitchen counter where several other dishes obviously prepared with the help of Reynolds wrap are waiting to be eaten for dinner.
The entire mission of cooking dinner now completed, Reynold takes one last look around the kitchen counter before hopping back in the Reynolds box from whence he emerged.
Detail, storyline, music elevate the work
“Meal Magic” shines more than most TV spots for a couple of reasons — reasons that usually elevate work beyond the ordinary on our report card.
First is the obvious attention to detail. An effort was made to develop a real story line for this 30-second spot, and it shows. This spot has a beginning, middle and an end. And that is rarely the case with so many product-focused commercials.
But even more than the well-developed plot, the musical underscoring from composer Robert Miller is what helps separate this Reynolds spot from a quite large pack of mundane commercials.
It’s a great piece of music for starters, but it has been carefully orchestrated and set just so to fit the action and the pace of the spot — a touch that adds immeasurably to the overall impact.
This little slice of life featuring Reynold the tinfoil man ultimately may not be the single most extraordinary spot we’ve seen in recent years, but it is charming without feeling overbearing or forced.
Peterson shows creative capabilities
We must add that the last couple of examples of work we’ve seen from the Euro advertising atelier headed by Jason Peterson have given us new insight into what he’s capable of producing. It would appear he is using his gig at Euro RSCG to stretch himself creatively.
When Peterson arrived in Chicago a while ago, we had an image of him as something of a punk type within the ad world. He has certainly shown with his recent delightful TV work for Cracker Barrel and now this turn for Reynolds wrap that he and the team he oversees have a much more interesting creative sensibility than we initially presumed to be the case.
That’s good. In an ad world that, increasingly, is pushing too hard for attention in ways that simply grate rather than compel, this Reynolds Wrap commercial and the Cracker Barrel work are welcome additions to — and respites from — an ad menu of mostly junk food.
Agency: CCO, Jason Peterson; CD, Bill Rogers; senior A/D, Jason Tisser; senior copywriter, Regan Kline; executive integrated producer, Peter Feldman; photographer, Ellinor Carucci; Flash designers, Joe Shoor, Brian Wilson.
Production/post/animation and effects company: Laika/house, Portland, Oregon; director, Kirk Kelley; EP/producer, Luurri Hammack; producer, Jenny Grayson; DP, Chris Peterson; editor, Steve Miller; character fabrication lead, Katie Mello; art/stage department manager, Erica Johnson; editorial manager, Melissa Ivetan.
Music and sound design: Stimmung, New York; composer, Robert Miller
Contact Lewis Lazare at LewisL3@aol.com