Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Making of the Axe Deodorant TV Commercial

Last spring we were really jazzed to have one of our trained goldfish (Albert Einstein) star in a commercial for Axe Deodorant.

In it, a geeky, fish-loving teenage boy (played by a boy-faced 20-something actor named Mason from New York City) has supposedly spent six months training his goldfish (played by Albert) to do tricks. He is very proud, and makes a humorous but rather amateurish video to show off his fish on YouTube. At the end a cool bare-chested young man is shown surrounded by several attractive women while he sprays Axe deodorant on his chest with the punch line "Get a Girlfriend", suggesting if he'd only use Axe, he'd be a hit with the chicks.

Here is the finished Axe commercial:





It was a real thrill to participate in the filming and post-production of a real TV commercial. Since our trained fish don't travel, the film crew agreed to come to the Fish School headquarters, located in the basement of our home in Gibsonia, PA. The crew included a producer/director named Brent Harris from Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang Productions, who's credits include several cutting edge commercials featured on MTV.

Brent brought with him a camera/sound guy, and Mason, the actor who played the young fish trainer. Mason was selected from several dozen in a NYC casting call, and fits the 'geek' stereotype to a T - and I should know :-).

Brent and company spend an entire weekend filming at our house. Kyle and I participated in all aspects of the production. Since the commercial is supposed to have an amateur feel to it, they even used our camcorder for the filming. They used a combination of tank footage I had previously recorded, and live footage with Mason interacting with Albert. They even including a cool shot that I dreamed up, where the camera appears to be looking up from the bottom of the tank with Mason looking down and dropping the ball into the water. I felt like a real filmmaker, almost like Alfred Hitchcock :-)

We thought the commercial came out great. Unfortunately, by the time it was finished, Axe had moved on from the "Get a Girlfriend" series of ads, and so it has never aired on US TV, although it was shown a few times in South Africa. What we thought was the coolest (besides getting paid $2000 for our effort!) was that the production company thought the ad was good enough to enter it to win a "Lion" in the ad division of the Canne film festival. The Lion is basically the advertising industry's equivalent of the Oscar awards.

Our ad made it to the top six in its category at the festival, which was very good. But unfortunately it was up against some very stiff competition and didn't win a Lion. Oh well. We were a bit disappointed, but we were also very happy to have the experience.

--Dean

2 comments:

Bec said...

Your youtube video seems to not be working...

Dr. Dean Pomerleau said...

Bec,

Strange you are having problems. It worked fine for me when I just tried it. You can go to the Axe commercial directly using this YouTube link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze-2Z7Wh1nQ

I do see on the YouTube site this message that might explain your difficulty:

"We are currently performing site maintenance. Be cool - we'll be back 100% in a bit."

Perhaps try it again now, or shortly.

Thanks for taking the time to check it out!

--Dean