Monday, March 28, 2011
The woman loved fish sticks.
I don’t think you can imagine the pressure if you weren’t there, if you didn’t live through it. If you weren’t—pardon the excess—present at the creation. It was crushing. Soul-sapping. Non-stop.
Here’s the “back-story.”
When we were a junior team, my partner Craig and I had somehow sold a spot to the Gorton’s Frozen Fish people that featured a fish stick playing chess with Death like in Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.” You can read about it here: http://adaged.blogspot.com/2007/07/ingmar-and-me.html
We outdid ourselves, Craig and I did, and even got the famously reclusive Swede to direct our spot.
You can imagine the fanfare, the success, the raises, promotions and awards we accumulated. We were drunk on our own power. How do you follow something like that up?
They said we couldn’t. But we did. First for our “Uncovering a Better Fish Stick” campaign which we shot with the beautiful and sultry stripper Bettie Page.http://adaged.blogspot.com/2008/12/bettie-page-1923-2008.html
We followed that award-winning spot with a campaign Gorton’s “Signature” Fish Sticks, where we did a spot featuring the great John Updike. http://adaged.blogspot.com/2009/01/john-updike-1932-2009.html
What now? Three award winning campaigns. And now our boss was breathing down our necks wanting more.
Five straight weeks of late nights and weekends had yielded us nada. Oh, we came up with great spots, of course we did. But nothing worthy of Gorton’s and their new “Giant” fish sticks. “These say big,” I said to Craig, tossing another sheaf of tissues into the trash bin. “They say big, they don’t say giant!”
Craig hit it. Or rather lightning hit Craig. “Giant! Starring Liz Taylor. We recreate the scene at the end where she waves goodbye to James Dean, only we have her wave goodbye to a Gorton’s fish stick!”
“Criminy!” I ejaculated. “That’s it.”
Craig and I quickly got on the blower with Liz’s people and in just a few hours the spot was sold through to Liz and Mr. Gorton himself.
Liz was a doll to work with. Took direction like well-trained golden retreiver. And at the end of the shoot, she gave us each a small diamond—a chip off the 66-carat one Burton (the cad) gave her. A small token of remembrance.
I’ll miss the violet-eyed beauty. Heck, I already do.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 5:21 PM