Butter recently joined forces with Kishi Bashi, a member of celebrated indie pop band of Montreal, to complete work on a :60 for American Express. The commercial serves as a motivational call to support the nation's millions of small businesses, and is the latest product of the studio's dynamic talent model, bringing in versatile artists like Kishi Bashi or Arcade Fire collaborator Son Lux to add an unpredictable edge to their work.
"We are developing a rotating roster of collaborators who have their hands in many musical pots, commercials just being one of them," noted Butter EP Ian Jeffreys. "The benefits are twofold: Butter is able to raise the bar on the overall quality of its product, and our clients get access to music from emerging talent that will bring a buzz factor to their productions. This American Express spot is a superb example of that."
The commercial opens on the coffee-pouring, stretching sunrise of an American Saturday and ambles through lumberyards, hardware stores, clothiers and barbershops across the nation.
"Kishi Bashi's mix of classical instrumentation and electronic elements is the perfect fit for American Express and their musical brand identity," observed Ogilvy Music Producer Michael Freeman. The propulsive, wonderfully ornate string arrangements of Kishi Bashi's song Manchester fit seamlessly into the montage, accompanied by a narrator extolling the virtues of shopping at small businesses.
"Kishi Bashi, who is emerging as a rising star on the indie scene, really represents the evolving nature of our music company," noted Jeffreys. "His unique sound is really apparent on this spot."
This spot comes at an exciting time for Kishi Bashi, who played six shows in 12 hours at SXSW in Austin, earning rave reviews from NPR, and whose solo album drops on April 10. Collaborating with Butter makes a lot of practical sense for an artist like this, who keeps busy with a diverse set of musical projects. The studio's considerable talent roster can easily step in when he's on one of his frequent tours (which in the past have included Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and Alexi Murdoch), as was the case during the final stages of this production. As the artist himself remarked, "I think that licensing is really a big part of the future for revenue for artists. Butter is great because they passionately care about quality and have really helped to give me the time to be creative."
Because the agency chose to work with Butter throughout the spot's development, rather than simply purchasing the track, they were able to take advantage of the studio's full range of expertise. "Most of the time, when you license a track, you get the track and you're on your own," Jeffreys explained. "In this case, Amex not only got a great track, but they also got the supervision of an experienced music house to oversee the edits. It was a win, win."
Client: American Express
Spots Title: Shop Small
Air Date: February 2012
CD: Steve Simpson
ECD: Gerard Caputo
Agency Producer: Melissa Mapes
Prod Company: Independent Media
Director: Scott Hicks
Editorial: Lost Planet
Editor: Charlie Johnson
Assistant Editor: Adam Witten
Producer: Marcia Wigley
Composer: Kishi Bashi
Arrangement: Judson Crane