Invariably, a career in commercial storyboarding will eventually involve drawing celebrities endorsing products. Sometimes the celebrities not only endorse products, but also the retailers that the products are sold in, and even the charities that benefit from the sales of the products, and ultimately the show that features the celebrities that compete to benefit the charities. This kind of multiple-commercial-in-one approach is called synergy. Synergistic commercials are very difficult to storyboard because the weighted balance of the many brandings must be highly calculated, to ensure that hierarchy of sponsors remains in equilibrium.
In this spot, a veiled promotion for the celebrity apprentice, two celebrity contestants, Penn Jillette and Trace Adkins implore the viewer to help them win the grand prize of the Celebrity Apprentice. Whoever sells the most of their particular, limited edition brand of Ice Cream, available only at Walgreens, will win. At stake is a $250,000 donation for the contestant’s charity, furnished by the Trumpster himself, ostensibly.
The theme of the commercial itself is an old favorite: “Anything you can do, I can do better.” A modern vaudeville in which we see our celebrities make their case to the audience, “buy my special ice cream,” and then perform a series of one-ups that leave no-clear-winner, and now it’s up to the viewer to help their favorite win. So go out and buy that ice cream!
As you look at the boards, pay attention to the many brands that are balanced, and the equal weight/favor given to each celebrity. It’s a science. Enjoy the science!
Some of the difficulties involved in this project include the production timeline, which was quite harried for my part (double-booked nights and weekends), and the multiple levels of executives that have to approve the boards for these synergistic campaigns, which resulted in many many many revisions. Also somewhat difficult was getting the required celebrity likeness to read, and then again of having to draw such immensely tall men in widescreen format- it wreaks havok on the compositions and you can see, in the final commercial, how the staging had to be “cheated” a little bit from shot to shot, as a result.
Here’s a link to the final commercial, as produced by one of my favorite clients, B2+. I really do appreciate them because they actually use my storyboards to plan their shots, and it shows.
As a final comment, I would like to go on record as saying that The Celebrity Apprentice, while arguably more successful, is not as entertaining to me as the original The Apprentice format, of which I was a big fan.