Saturday, August 22, 2009
This is an ad about a 1973 TV commercial. As I recall it ran only in Life magazine--maybe the Saturday Evening Post too. The commercial was a repeat of one done years before in the same location with pretty much the same result--great impact and recall. The original was called "Pinnacle" and was a real stopper at the time. There were reports of airline pilots doing a double take as they saw a car on top of the 2000 ft. high rock as they flew by. Both commercials were leadership statements about Chevrolet and it's position at the time. I made the recommendation to Chevy for the second version represented here. For lots of reasons advertisers seem reluctant to repeat ideas even when they are very good ones. Or maybe it's the creative people in the agency that feel they just can't use a concept thought of by someone else, at another time, even if it was a great idea. All of us making the ads want to do the next great one and the credit that goes with it. This is the only time I can remember asking Chevrolet to redo an idea and now that I look back I think I should have done it more often.
I didn't go on the shoot for the commercial because all the pre-production and production needed were obvious when we viewed the original spot. I did however ask for a bunch of stills so I could put together an ad later. At the time there were very few ads and commercials that worked hand in glove together. The pictures in the ad kind of tell the story of how it was done and the copy tells the story of how Impala had improved over the years. There is more to tell about how it was done. The engine was removed along with the transmission, doors and trunk lid to lighten the car as it was lifted by the helicopter. Reassembly took place on top of the rock where it was discovered to be very windy and kind of dangerous especially for the young lady model. There wasn't a lot of extra room around the car for the model unless she was close to the edge so Doug Mahoney hid in the trunk of the Impala and held on to a rope wrapped around the young lady's waist as she waved to the camera in a helicopter. Doug is seen in one of the pictures helping the model into the helicopter. He was in charge of our LA facility where we prepared cars and trucks for ads and commercials--a jewel of a guy who could make things happen.
When the shoot was all over and the commercial and ad in the works Doug presented me with a memento of the shoot--a small piece of rock from the top of the location mounted on a wooden base with an inscription that dated the event. I still have the "trophy". Thanks Doug.