Advertising agency Element 79 recently tapped production company DETOX to help create “Rock the Cut” – an integrated ad campaign for Supercuts. Led by director Barney Miller, DETOX helmed the production, teaming up with HOOLIGAN for editorial and TANQ for graphics and finishing. Showcasing the artistry and level of care Supercuts offers its clients, the documentary-style spots feature rising musical talent spanning rock, electronic, country and indie. Comprised of four broadcast spots (:15 and :30), as well as 60-second versions and in-stream ads for the Web, the campaign is supported by Supercuts’ “Artist Ambassador” program – an online community of over 500 bands and their fans – as part of its larger word-of-mouth social marketing campaign.
Each spot pairs a Supercuts stylist with featured bands and musicians; among them, Vintage Trouble, DJ Ken Loi, Laura Bell Bundy and Gold Motel. Candid salon interviews, live concert footage, rehearsals and photoshoots provide the stage for the musical artists to share their pre-show rituals.
“I got into advertising and filmmaking through my love for music,” said Miller. “Having made a career editing and directing music videos dating back to MTV’s golden age, and even once touring with a band myself, the Supercuts campaign was a great project for me to combine all my music sensibilities and background in the director’s chair.”
Miller worked closely with Element 79 creative director Chris Laubach and producer Michael Gabriele to develop a treatment for the campaign.
“When you prepare for a concert, you think about maybe buying a new pair of shoes, your set list, changing strings, and even getting a new haircut,” said Miller. “So we had the musicians discuss their own creative process and experiences touring, interacting with their stylists in real documentary fashion to creatively showcase Supercuts.”
“We had worked with Barney before as an editor on another real people ad campaign,” said Laubach. “These Supercuts spots were totally unscripted. The dialogue came entirely from interviews that Barney conducted in his own affable style. His eye for detail in the film, and his ear for sound bites in the musicians’ and stylists’ stories, made the resulting spots both beautiful and believable.”
Miller, working closely with DP David Lanzenberg and art director Ryan Bloecker, staged and shot live concert footage and band interviews to achieve the campaign’s behind-the-scenes feel. While the documentary approach served as the most effective means for showcasing the band stories, it presented the biggest creative challenge, which was the interview process. Miller and Element 79 creatives had to craft engaging interview questions that maintained relevancy to the Supercuts brand and campaign message.
Miller explained, “We had to put a lot of emphasis on getting what were actual Supercuts stylists and real working bands to open up and genuinely interact and talk about pre-concert rituals, while also tying in how good hair is part of that. All the interviewees made the process great, and that comes through in the campaign.”
Production took place over the course of five days. The interview portions were shot at a Supercuts in Long Beach, Calif.. For the concert footage and remaining interview environments, DETOX shot at sound stages and music venues in Los Angeles and San Diego.