Talk about multi-media. One of the nation’s premier daily newspapers recently partnered with one of the world’s leading ad agencies to become the location for a television advertisement for a major prescription medication.
During two days in mid-August, the Omaha World-Herald’s Freedom Center production facility and its three MAN Roland GEOMAN presses starred as the setting of a PLAVIX commercial created by Saatchi & Saatchi Consumer Healthcare.
The 60-second spot portrays a super editor who not only can command a newsroom, but is leading the charge on the print production side as well. Then suddenly he’s stopped cold by an unseen enemy – platelet build-up in his arteries.
Of course, there’s a Hollywood ending. PLAVIX, an anti-platelet-clotting medication from the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi Pharmaceuticals Partnership, saves the day and the editor gets the paper printed and out to his readers.
From Rolls to Roles
Joel W. Long, Director Public Relations at the Omaha World-Herald, remarks that the paper’s three MAN Roland GEOMAN web presses played their roles well. “One day of filming was done on and around the presses,” he says. “The actor who played the editor pulled a paper out as they emerged in one shot, and in another he is overseeing printing from one of the press platforms.”
The commercial team had scoured half the globe for the most modern and inviting newspaper production facility they could find. “The Freedom Center was selected after site searches throughout North America and Europe,” Long notes. “The producer was shown a picture of the Freedom Center and immediately got excited and contacted us for more photos.”
The real-life picture didn’t disappoint. “The client, the ad agency, the producer, and director were all thrilled with the ease of filming.” Long says. “The design of the building allows for quite extensive camera and lighting set ups, without disrupting the normal workflow in a production environment.”
Keeping the GEOMAN presses rolling was key to an agreement the newspaper forged with the film crew before they were welcomed to Omaha. The commercial required a pressroom that was printing live papers. And the World-Herald needed to protect its ability to meet its production deadlines. “The director and crew were very respectful of this fact and made every effort to honor the agreement,” Long reports.
Reflecting an Industry
The World-Herald doesn’t expect to get any publicity spillover from the commercial shoot. In fact the paper won’t be identified in the ad at all. However, Long says the newspaper industry as a community should benefit: “That was one of the first things we looked at when we considered letting them film here. The commercial will show a hard working staff and state of the art presses producing a great paper.”
Now that the World-Herald has gotten a taste of stardom, does this mean the newspaper will be trolling for bigger and better roles for its Freedom Center? Not likely, says Long, who points out that serving its readers and advertisers will continue to be the World-Herald’s focus.
But he did leave the door open to the possibility of future shoots: “I suppose when word gets out in the film industry, we may get some calls. And we do think the Freedom Center will look awesome on the commercial. But again, that's not our motive.”
The 60-second TV ad is scheduled to air worldwide in October. And it will not only show an editor getting healthier, but a healthy industry hard at work as well.
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