Left; John Kritch celebrated the super bowl ad yesterday with two of his daughters who covered him in silly string. Right; John Kritch on set for the Toyota Camry ad directed by Nicolai Fuglsig.
John Kritch ACD/Art Director at Saatchi&Saatchi Los Angeles worked on the Toyota Camry super bowl spot, a spot that placed in several top ten rankings today. Adland flagged him down to ask about what it's like to work on a super bowl ad.
Dabs: Because this was a super bowl ad, was your creative approach any different when you started working on it?
John Kritch: Not in terms of the creative, I always try and do work that is powerful, impactful, and from my heart. The diplomacy on the other hand was a different story. I haven’t worked on a project before that had that many eyes and opinions on it before. It seemed like every day there was a person who needed to weigh in. Getting that many people onboard with an idea is a challenge.
Dabs: Do you have an interesting behind-the-scenes story you could share about your spot?
John Kritch: The spot was pretty much straight forward and had a lot to do with the lives of the people who worked on it, especially me. The most interesting moment that happened was when the male lead, Louis Herthum, finished the crying scene at the end, we all rushed up to him in awe of his amazing crying on cue ability. When my writing partner, Nick Cade gave Louis a hug he started balling again. Louis has a 10 year old daughter and the whole spot was very relatable to his life. I haven’t worked with an actor that was even crying between takes. He was the best to work with and an overall great guy.
Dabs: You’ve produced a few spots now. Did you learn anything new from working on a super bowl spot?
John Kritch: I always knew casting was important, but this was a casting experience that I haven’t had before. We didn’t do a traditional commercial casting, we looked for real established actors and actresses. Ones that had done lots of movie and TV show work but weren’t too recognizable that their fame would detract from viewers’ being able to relate to the story. We would get a list of reels from agents, but couldn’t get people to come and read for the part. It was very much a leap of faith with whom we chose. We had a 3 min Skype call with our two leads. That was it. It was a bit nerve-wracking and a challenge to get the client on board with our main choices without having a traditional casting read for the part. I’m really glad we went with this casting process. It’s one I’d like to try more often.
Dabs: What’s your favourite super bowl ad and why? (You can pick any year,we have them all you know)
John Kritch: The McDonald’s showdown with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan from back in the day is my favorite, I was obsessed with Jordan as a kid growing up and any commercial he was in just made me feel. I don’t think it’s the best creative idea, or as good as the Nike ads Jordan’s done, but I loved it. I remember after watching that ad, trying all the ridiculous trick shots when my friends and I would play horse.
Dabs: What do you think makes a great super bowl ad?
John Kritch: I think what makes a good Super Bowl spot is something that moves the viewer from the first moment. Whether it makes them think, cry, or pee their pants with laughter. It should create an emotion that stays with them. So many different ideas have been done over the years that there’s a version of everything in some form or another. Whether or not it sells the product or pushes the brand forward or not, depends on if the spot can elicit that reaction and emotion. I’m sure this is an answer you’ve received before, that’s just my humble honest opinion.
Dabs: On Monday, Everyone from USA admeter to other ad trades that aren’t as good as adland will weigh in with their opinions of the spots. Whose opinion really matters to you?
John Kritch: The opinion that matters to me the most is my family and friends. People that I’ve worked with that I respect, former teachers and partners, people I admire that in some way have been mentors to me.
I also know adland is brutally honest--maybe the most out of all the sites and that’s something that carries a lot of weight with me.