This charming spot, “Free to Pee” for TaxAct, aired in the US during the first quarter of last night’s Super Bowl. Directed by Holiday Films’ Wayne Craig, it tells the story of one boy’s frantic, urgent, need to pee. Below is a Q&A with Wayne Craig about his experience making the spot.
Q: What was your overall vision for the commercial?
WC: For this spot I wanted to activate the primal emotional response we all feel when our basic human needs conflict with our duty as a civilized person. My goal was to entice the audience into feeling Tommy’s (the hero) desperate need to relieve himself – because we’ve all been there. When Tommy finally solves his problem in the pool, I wanted the audience to literally ‘feel the freedom’.
Q: What did you feel were the biggest challenges of the commercial?
WC: This was a fantastic project to be a part of. From start to finish the project and all the players, TaxAct, JW Morton, Mechaniks, crew and talent, were a pleasure to work with. Everyone bought into the vision and the humour in this story injected the set with fun. The biggest challenge was shooting in a cold swimming pool in November, as cold water can trigger a certain bodily response and working outdoors in November had a way of heightening it. Somehow, we all managed to get through the shots and make it to the rest room.
Q: Were you surprised by anything you saw or felt in the final cut?
WC: The shoot was meticulously planned. We knew that timing, pacing and performance were going to be everything. It’s a lot of story to jam into 30 seconds and I was afraid we might have to cut out little bits for the sake of pacing. Thankfully, everything fit perfectly in the edit and all my secret fears vanished. Many of the other ads on the Super Bowl will be 60 seconds, but I think that we’ve been able to accomplish as much in our 30 second story as any of them.
Q: What did you most enjoy about the whole process?
WC: I love the process of comedic storytelling, so anytime I get to be on set with a good script is a great day. Working on this project with TaxAct and JW Morton was a pleasure – we had a great script, a great agency and an unbelievable client. There was an amazing synergy on set, and everyone was open to any idea that raised the bar. By the end of the final day, there was a true fellowship that came from knowing that we had all done something great together.
Q: What can the advertising world learn from this commercial?
WC: Advertising is always changing as the tastes of our culture evolves. We’re always looking for new ways to hit the moving targets of trend and style. I think if there’s any one thing that the advertising world can take away from this project it’s that no mater where a script comes from, or who the client is. The public will always respond to a smart, human story that is well told.