DFS Dorland Males It Golden For Molson
ADWEEK, June 23, 1986
by Debbie Seaman
NEW YORK - Garrett Brown and Ann Winn, that couple with the engaging, sexy voices that have been entertaining us in Molson Golden radio commercials since 1981, have never revealed their faces to the public, an aspect of the advertising campaign that gives it a dash of mystery as well as allowing listeners to have their own images of the characters.
And although DFS Dorland uses the pair in two new TV spots for the brand, we still don’t see their faces. But in some ways there is more of Brown and Winn in this campaign than in any previous advertising the agency has created for the beer client.
"Basketball" and "Tex-Max," for example, were filmed, respectively, at Winn’s house (the two are not a couple in real life) and at their favorite bar in the historical section of Philadelphia. What’s more, the guys gathering to drink Molson Golden with them are really their friends. Finally, to give the spots a different "one-take" look, DFS chose to shoot them with the Steadicam, a camera that Brown invented. "The guys" in the spot are all Steadicam cameramen.
The original theme, "Molson makes at golden," has been revised to "Molson, make it golden for me and my friends," and it’s spoken by Brown. The spots are in test markets and will be rolled out nationally soon.
"This campaign has set out to make this imported beer friendly and accessible," explained agency executive creative director Eric Weber, who had called in associate creative director Steven Dolleck and vp/producer John Lacey to discuss the campaign. "Many imported beers have forbidding feel to the American beer drinker."
A couple of years ago the agency briefly ran a TV spot based on Brown and Winn’s radio campaign, showing only body parts and not their faces. This time, while retaining the wittiness and contemporary feel of the radio spots, the DFS Dorland creative team wanted to project camaraderie among friends, since people, after all, enjoy drinking beer in social situations.
"We felt the desire to see people in these spots, to provide user imagery in addition to the couple, "Weber said. "Also, it’s modern to show a woman hanging our with the guys."
In "Basketball," Brown arrives home early with his teammates because they’ve lost the game. There is a little suspense as to whether Winn has gotten the Molson Golden ("Domestic beer’s good enough for you bozos," she calls from the shower), but it’s out on the porch , where everybody troops out to crack it open. "This is why we stay friends," one pal responds to Winn’s "Everybody happy?"
(Just for the record, the woman running out of the bathroom swathed in towels is not Winn but a stand-in.)
In "Tex-Mex," the camera follows from behind as Brown and Winn meet their friends at a bar. The guys use their tacos and their charm to lure a couple of lovely ladies who are looking in the window, and then they scramble for chairs. "Chairs!" the group cheers, clinking bottles of Molson Golden together.
The spots are designed to look and sound as natural as possible. The dialogue moves smoothly and fast, and the same thing can be said of the Steadicam as it follows the action. Brown’s Steadicam allows the cameraman a 360-degree range with unjarred uniform motion, and its efficiency in these spots is perhaps best seen when it turns corners and "swishes" from room to room. "The whole approach was to do something visually distinctive, as the radio campaign is distinctive," Dolleck said.
So real is the visual, verbal and social pace in the spots, in fact, that it takes several viewings for one to feel clued in to what’s going on. Yet that;s just fine with the creative team. Weber called the spots "Advertising that you have to come to."
"Durable" was Lacey’s description. "Garrett talks about the wear-in factor rather than wear-out," he added.
The agency first looked for actors to play Brown and Winn’s friends, "But we couldn’t find anybody with the warmth and feeling of realness these guys had," Dolleck remembered of the casting sessions before Brown and Winn proposed that their friends be the talent. "They all know each other, and it really comes across."
That "the guys" were all expert with the Steadicam was an added plus, Lacey pointed out, since timing and knowing where to stand were crucial in the filming.
Brown and Winn developed the dialogue - as they did in the radio campaign - and were very involved in the whole project. "It’s almost like having a very talented art director and copywriter working for you," Weber said. "I joke with them and ask, ‘Can I hire you guys on some other assignments?’ "