Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Friday, Apr. 9, 1999
Dermatology Spot Goes More Than Skin Deep

A man looks into the camera, reflecting upon his days as a boy playing on the beach. His face appears a bit odd, as if he's had a skin graft around his left cheek area. The man recollects how a deep, dark tan was considered cool-looking and that as a kid, he was encouraged to catch more than his share of rays in order to get "a good burn," replete with "peeling skin." Home movie-style footage accompanies his childhood remembrances of fun and sun.

The spot then cuts back to the man today as he continues to relate his story; the youthful memories dampened by the diagnosis of a malignancy on his nose three years ago. At that instant, the PSA transitions back to a home movie-like scene in which a dad affectionately touches the tip of his son's nose.

We then return to our storyteller-the man who presumably was that boy. A profile shot of the man fills the screen as he abruptly and shockingly removes his prosthetic nose, revealing a scabbed red hole in the center of his face. "Life is very precious to me now," he says. "Almost losing it makes that very clear."

The ad, entitled "Prevention," then dissolves to a series of supered messages: "Prevent skin cancer" followed by "Cover up" and then "Use sunscreen." Finally, a toll-free 800 phone number for the American Academy of Dermatology appears.

"Prevention" was directed by Amy Hill & Chris Riess, a.k.a. Hill & Riess, of Tony K., Santa Monica and London. As earlier reported (SHOOT's Directors Special Report, 3/26, p. 39), the co-directors-nominated earlier this year for the coveted DGA spot award-specifically requested that they be able to cast someone with skin cancer to star in the PSA. Hill related that if that prerequisite wasn't met, she and Riess probably would not have taken on the assignment. Riess served as DP, with Hill handling some second unit Super 8 shooting for the home movie-genre sequences.

For agency Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, the creative contingent included: executive creative director George Halvorson, creative director/copywriter Bill Johnson, art director Lou Flores, exec. producer Donna Gary, production manager Sandi Pink and music director Steve McCabe.

The Tony K. support team consisted of exec. producer Natalie Hill, producer J.J. Morris and production manager Jose Flores.

"Prevention" was cut by Elisa Bonora of Us 2 Editorial, Venice, Calif., backed by exec. producer D.J. Dole. Mark Wilkins of Encore Santa Monica (now RIOT) served as the colorist. Online editor was Jerry Steele of Steele VFX, Santa Monica. Andy Simon and Chris Winston of AudioBanks, Santa Monica, were the audio engineers.

Sound designer was Brian Banks of Ear To Ear, Santa Monica. Producing for the music/ sound design house was John Author.