Utopic Bags The Humor For Spartan Stores And Fairly Painless Advertising


The Chicago-based Editorial and Production Company Takes The Spots From Production Through Finish With A Seamless, One-Stop Collaborative Approach To Launching The Retailer’s Comedy-Driven ‘Yes Rewards Program’

Last Updated: March 1, 2014 8:16 pm GMT
(Chicago, Illinois--March 1, 2014) Utopic recently produced a pair of comedy-driven spots for Spartan Stores, one of the largest grocery distributors in the country. Created by Fairly Painless Advertising, the two: 30’s, ‘Hugs’ and ‘Digital Coupons,’ tapped into Utopic’s model of production, editorial, finishing and audio services to launch its ‘Yes Rewards Programs’ with a seamless, one-stop approach that delivered the campaign’s message with humor and wit.

Utopic’s comedy director, Al Wyatt, captured hilarious footage during a two-night shoot in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Both spots feature two Spartan employees brainstorming about the best way to show their appreciation for their customers while improving their shopping experience. Although the initial ideas and banter plays like a comedy sketch, the employees ultimately deliver the spots’ messages and introduce the ‘Yes Rewards Program’ with clarity, as well as humor.

“The fact that Fairly Painless took advantage of Utopic’s full-service capabilities for this job was key to the success of the project,” says Wyatt. “Kat Pryor (Utopic editor) and I got together before we shot a single frame to ensure we had good coverage. We were fortunate to start with such smart, funny scripts, and work with tremendous comedy actors that delivered very genuine and funny performances. Working closely with Tim Hackney, the agency's creative director and copywriter, we created the right tone for the spots quickly, which enabled us to make stop-on casting choices."

Wyatt tapped some of the brightest, funniest new talent with an assist from Paskal Rudnicke (Chicago) and Fahey-Dreher (Grand Rapids). After the shoot wrapped Hackney joined the crew back at Utopic in Chicago, where editor Kat Pryor delivered the right moments - and perfectly awkward beats - with precision.

“There are directors and editors who help you make commercials, and then there are directors and editors who help you make commercials better,” says Hackney. “Thanks to Al, Kat, Heather and all the folks at Utopic, we got the latter.”

Pryor edited the spots on Premiere, and her cuts were not only unanimously loved by all, but also approved by the client without a change. “Working so closely with Al and Tim made editing these spots a pleasure from beginning to end. I had no shortage of options thanks to great writing, casting and coverage,” ” says Pryor. “You know it’s a good session when you can’t stop laughing.”

Utopic’s recently signed director of finishing, Christopher Elliott, used Autodesk Smoke to color and finish both spots.

“Christopher did a great job finishing the spots and Brian Leitner added the perfect complement of sound effects to the mix,” adds Pryor.

Production and post are inextricably linked, and Utopic’s ability to take the job from concept through production, editorial, animation and audio allowed the company to optimize efficiency, maximize the budget and deliver a final product that exceeded the client’s expectations.

Rumor has it that more Spartan Store spots with even more outlandish suggestions are already in the works for early this year.

About Utopic:
Utopic is an award-winning one-stop broadcast/digital company dedicated to providing agencies and brands with multi-platform integrated editorial, production, VFX, audio and interactive services. Its collaborative consortium of artists and producers offer a seamless approach to everything from traditional broadcast commercials and promos to complex interactive rich media, web content, mobile apps and virals. Utopic’s mix of work includes broadcast spots and digital media content for clients such as Samsung, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, Toyota, GM, NBC, Kraft and Jim Beam to name a few.

Project: Broadcast Commercials
Titles: ‘Hugs’ + ‘Digital Coupons’ (:30’s)
Client: Spartan Stores, Grand Rapids, MI

Advertising Agency: Fairly Painless Advertising (Holland, Michigan)
President: Chris Cook
Creative Director/Copywriter: Tim Hackney
Account Director: Craig Davis

Production Company: Utopic (Chicago)
EP: Heather Mitchell
Director: Al Wyatt
Producer: Michael Pearson
DP: Chad Terpstra

Post-Production Company: Utopic (Chicago)
Senior Editor: Kat Pryor
Asst. Editor: Christen Nehmer
Online: Christopher Elliot

Audio/Sound Company: Utopic (Chicago)
Mixer: Brian Leitner

Chicago Casting: Casting Director Jennifer Rudnicke, PR Casting
Grand Rapids Casting: Casting Director: Maureen Dreher, Fahey-Dreher Casting


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