Tool's Zada launches Cargill site with celebrity chef Alton Brown

Following a major recent campaign for Nike via Wieden+Kennedy/Portland, Tool's director Jason Zada furthers his plunge into the live action and digital realm with the launch of a fully interactive website that makes the most unlikely of products - Diamond Crystal® salt - fun, interesting and educational. The site,, built in close collaboration with Carmichael Lynch and sister PR firm, Carmichael Lynch Spong, features renowned television personality and award-winning author Alton Brown dispensing cooking tips with his trademark humor and expertise.

The site's main areas are a unique test kitchen and a timeless laboratory which provided the setting for a pair of unique interactive games that flawlessly combine live action footage of Brown with various digital components. The kitchen features "The Proper Pinch," a game in which the user can control Brown's hand to apply the correct sprinkling of salt to meat, and "Finishing Touches," in which participants can choose food items to add salt to, from ice cream to cookies, and Brown explains the exact effect that the addition will have to each item. In the lab portion of the site, the "Power of the Pyramid" game allows users to try destroying a salt pyramid with different weapons. The "Stickability" game offers the chance to apply salt to different kinds of food to see how well it sticks.

Zada was creatively involved from conception to final product. This being a non-linear creative execution, Jason worked closely with the agency creatives to conceptualize the games and help write the scripts and story trees; designed the set and shot all of the live-action footage; orchestrated the web integration of live action and digital; and led the Tool digital team that constructed the website.

"The agency got way more than they asked for when they chose Jason to lead this project," noted Tool Digital EP Dustin Callif. "Not only is he one of the best integrated directors around and totally comfortable working with celebrity talent like Alton Brown, but he's doing some incredibly interesting things in the cross platform space. He handled all the live action, and creative directed all the post, web design, and web development. The interactive games are fun and flawless. This is exactly the type of project that not only Jason, but all of Tool's directors are looking to do much more of in the future."

"This was a one-of-a-kind project, and it was an incredible experience on multiple levels," stated Zada. "First off, the agency was incredible to work with - very easy to collaborate with on the scripts and they gave me a ton of room to run with the creative. Second, Alton is a really passionate and knowledgeable guy, and we had a lot of fun tweaking the scripts to add a touch of his peculiar humor without turning him into a character - he wanted to play himself. Finally, creating a site that was at once compelling and educational was an awesome challenge, and everyone around me, from the agency to Alton to the staff at Tool, really came together to make this a memorable experience."

Credits -
Client: Cargill
Site: Salt 101
Launch Date: November 2009

Agency: Carmichael Lynch, Minnesota
GCD: Brock Davis
CD/Copywriter: Kent Carmichael
AD: Dale Austin
Broadcast Producer: Jon Mielke
Digital Producer: Andrew Peterson

Prod Company: Tool of North America
Director: Jason Zada
EP(s): Brian Latt, Jennifer Siegel
Digital EP: Dustin Callif
Live Action Producer: Steven Steiner
Digital Producer: Peta Martin
Digital Coordinator: Alex Austin
Production Designer: Jerry D'Alesio

Editorial: Cosmo Street
Editor: Asako Ushio
Producer: Justin Smollen

Audio Post: Cosmo Street