While it’s common for ad agencies to enter their work in design shows and juried competitions, it’s not something I’ve chosen to do. On one occasion, however, I did consider entering the “No Show”, a collection of work from various agencies that had been rejected by the client. In the advertising business, it’s not unusual for some of the best creative work to be rejected, sometimes because the client fears offending someone.
Because the Vancouver market is small, freelancers like me are asked to do a variety of work. When I’m working for an agency I’m required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, usually because ad agencies don’t want clients to know the creative work may not have come from their staff. As a result many freelancers have a large amount of work they can neither show nor take credit for.
Nevertheless, I’ll share with you three TV ad scripts I wrote for an Oakley eyewear campaign. Even though the ads were rejected by the agency, I never found out why, or even if they were presented to the client. These scripts are an example of how to use storytelling for product marketing and make the consumer, rather than the product, the hero of the story.
Open with a close-up of the face of a teenage boy reading an eye chart in a doctor's office; he is holding a hand over one eye. When he switches hands to cover his other eye it reveals a black eye. The eye doctor places an ugly pair of glasses on the boy’s face. The doctor is wearing the same glasses..
The boy is playing soccer with an elastic around the back of his head holding his new glasses on. He goes up for a header and smashes the glasses.
The boy is in a school hallway talking to a girl, there is tape on the bridge of his glasses. He is saying something that we can’t hear. She slaps him and his glasses go flying in slow-motion across the hall.
He wipes out on his skateboard straddling a railing, the glasses go flying again.
He falls off his bike, again the glasses go flying and a lens pops out.
He falls again and again in a time-lapse montage.
He experiences everything thats sucks about having glasses as a teenager.
But then the boy learns not to fall and the glasses stay on his face.
He completes a spectacular trick; we notice the frames are Oakleys.
Now they’re an asset rather than a problem. The boy, like the glasses, have become cool.
He pulls them off and we see that he’s no longer a kid,, but a famous Oakley athlete.
Open on a raccoon on its hind legs leaning against a garbage can, he rocks it back and forth until it falls, then investigates the contents to find his breakfast .
Cut to a wide shot of an empty, beach-side parking lot; It’s early morning, the sun is rising. The toppled garbage can is in the foreground, at the far end of the lot is a car that appears abandoned.
Cut to a close-up of the car’s windshield as the sun illuminates it, revealing a dashboard full of the assorted debris found in the cars that people call home. The pile begins to move, a hand emerges from the trash and gropes around the dashboard, searching for something.
Cut to a side shot of the car; through the windows we see a silhouette of a person in the car putting on their glasses.
Cut to a heroic ground-up shot as he looks out to sea; we can hear surf. He is shirtless and his hair unruly; he is wearing sunglasses.
Cut to a wide shot with the car in the foreground. The sun has risen enough to illuminate perfect sets of waves in the distance. The trunk of his car is open and he’s sitting on the bumper pulling on a wet suit.
From inside the car we see him toss the glasses through the window onto the dash; we see that they’re Oakleys.
The last shot is from a board-mounted camera facing the surfer as he paddles out. We now see his face for the first time with a raccoon tan left from his glasses.
Droplets of water appear on the camera lens, fade up the logo as he duck dives the first break.
The image dissolves in the wash of the wave; fade to white, only the logo remains.
The sound of the surf continues . . .
An elderly black man standing in front of a mirror; he is wearing dark glasses and speaking to somebody off- camera: “How do I look?” he says.
A woman’s voice from off-camera: “You look good baby.”
Cut to the backseat of a cab. The man is sitting with his trombone.
Cab driver’s voice: “Evening Mr. Basil.”
Wide shot of the cab driving through nighttime New Orleans.
Mans voice: “Pull over, I’ll walk from here.”
As the man steps from the cab he unfolds his white cane. He taps the sidewalk, then begins to walk as the cab pulls away.
Fade to black.
Oakley logo fades up
Audio: the last notes of a trombone solo fade as the applause begins.