Bacardi Halloween

It’s ALIVE!!! Or I guess more appropriate would be “It’s Gone Live”!

This summer we were asked by BBDO NY to create Bacardi Rum’s 2018 Halloween social videos. The direction was loose at first: concept and create two Halloween drink videos, but don’t make stereotypical drink videos. They were looking for mini horror movies with the cocktails incorporated. We were given a mood board of images from classic horror films, two drink recipes, and free range to explore all things creepy while developing scripts to pitch back to BBDO.

Adam and Robin watched countless horror shorts for inspiration as well as scenes from classic movies of the genre, then sat down over a couple dark & stormys and got down to writing. Initially, we concepted and wrote 6 different script outlines for the client and agency to choose from, 3 for the Mojito cocktail and 3 for the Zombie cocktail, covering everything from a possessed machete, to an axe murderer, a seance, even to being chased through a Caribbean jungle by bats. In the end, everyone fell in love with the Mystery VHS tape concept and our nod to The Ring. So much so that we were asked to take that concept and adapt it to both cocktails.

We watched the VHS tape from The Ring again and again, analyzing all the aspects that made it creepy and uncomfortable, while not being overly gory, then funneled all that inspiration into short snippets that nodded to the cocktail ingredients for both the Zombie and the Mojito. Thick red drops falling on white marble next to a knife revealed to be grenadine. Orange peels crawling across a worn table into and around a human skull allude to triple sec. Zombie hands crudely stitching together a Frankensteined lemon-lime called out sweet and sour mix. And the best: two different Bacardi rums flickering as they make their way down a long hallway, like the twins from the Shining.

Once all the scenes for the VHS tape were hammered out, we turned our attention to the room setting. The POV of the films was set as the camera was the viewer who had just received a tape in the mail and starts to watch it in their Caribbean living room. Nick Cabrera turned a stark white corner of our studio into a colorful tropical interior with yellow louvered doors, coral exposed brick and aqua green plaster walls while Nicki Longoria scoured Austin sourcing the perfect furniture and decor elements to finish out the room, including pulling a few items from her own living room.

This production also gave us another chance to work with our favorite Special FX makeup artist Tara Cooper. Tara meticulously created custom zombie fingernails in advance, then on the day of the shoot did a KILLER (pun intended) job creating the perfect zombie hands and face. Seriously, the lady works magic.

When all the filming was done, the footage went to Beast Editorial Austin where Ben Ellis turned our hope of a creepy VHS tape into reality. The grain, the timing, the jump in footage, all of it came out perfect!

We could not be more proud and honored by our team who helped pull this whole production together in record time. Nicki Longoria, Nick Cabrera, Dave Creaney, and Josh Verduzco, you all are amazing and we could not do it without you. Molly Ross and Joao Unzer, thank you for venturing to Austin and allowing us to let our creepy cocktail fantasies run wild. This was one of those special jobs that make us think “I can’t believe people are paying us to do this!” It was too much fun to make.

Here’s some behind the scene shots of things in the making.






Popular Science, The Tiny Issue

Apparently there are no harvester ants in Austin. This was only found out after Nicki and a summer intern spent 4 hours in the heat and sun looking through public parks and nature preserves looking for them. Solution? Hire your 9 and 6 year old nephews to collect them from their back yard in West Texas and overnight them to Austin.


What’s New at Whole Foods

Excited to share an image we made for the creative team at Whole Foods a couple weeks ago highlighting one of the new products to hit stores this month. Huge thanks to Avalon McKenzie and Mackenzie Dunn for asking us to help out on this one. Also big thanks to Nicki Longoria for finding Rhonda, the incredibly kind cherry grower in Washington state who agreed to chop off some branches from her trees, drive who knows how far to the closest FedEx, and overnight us the most beautiful pristine cherries and cherry leaves we’ve ever seen.

“Nobody Trashes Tennessee” Litter Campaign

When EnviroMedia came to us to create type out of litter, our inner Oscar the Grouch sang a little tuneĀ (or maybe that was only our assistant Nicki Longoria, she likes to collect junk). There were 3 scenes we had to create: the side of a highway, a convenience store parking lot, and a street complete with tell-tale road stripes. Robin set to work creating the surfaces, while Nicki went out collecting mass amounts of items to use as litter, enlisting various members of her family to save their trash for her to pick up. Once everything was in the house, Robin and Nicki set to work creating the letters from various types of litter. And if anyone out there is jealous of us getting to eat so much candy, know that none of us are little kids, so it was only cool for the first 3 bites and then after that it was borderline gross. Fun fact: Lefty the dog did manage to sneak the first Sno-Ball snack cake off the set when we weren’t looking.



Popular Science Summer 2018

WooHoo! The Summer issue of Pop Sci is out and looks fantastic! Loving these conceptual issues. This one was the Life and Death issue, or more like The Cycle of Life issue. Once again we were honored to be able to collaborate with Thomas, Pete, Joe and the whole Pop Sci team to dream up this cover idea.

Also, we were asked to create section openers for the different life stages shown throughout the issue. Following a plant from seed to germination, growth, death, and then rebirth became our metaphor. Thank you to Adam’s kindergarten teacher who taught him to sprout seeds 30+ years ago. He still remembers the instructions and they work beautifully.

Lastly, we were able to create some fun images for a story on NASA and space farming. We were trying to replicate the exact greens that were grown on the space station. Most were easy but one kind proved to be pretty hard to locate.Thank goodness Nicki found Agua Dulce hydroponic farm in East Austin. They saved the day with their Mizuna mustard greens. That was a hard one to find!



Newsweek International Edition, “Bible Thumpers”

Michael Goesele at Newsweek tapped us for creating this cover for their International edition and we were excited to take on the challenge!

The fun part about bears is that normally you can’t just rent a bear paw, you get to rent a whole bear. Then you get to drive across town with it in the back of a pickup truck and see numerous phones pointed at your truck getting their Instagram post of the day. Meanwhile, Robin got to work creating some killer claw marks, and Adam figured out the best way to shoot this mostly upside down setup. Lefty the dog was inspired by the brave pose of the bear to show off a bit on his own.








Field & Stream “Jam Packed Summer” issue

You know that game where there’s a glass jar full of marbles or whatever and you have to guess how many are in there? Now we know how many outdoor related items can feasibly fit into the back of a full size pickup truck if you do some careful arranging. We set the truck up in the back lot of our studio, and all the props took up all the tables we had inside. Bentley the Dog got to stay indoors until he was ready for his close up.

THANK YOU John Toolan and the rest of the F&S team for having us do this one! It was a beast of a job but super rewarding. Robin is deathly afraid of snakes, but Austin Reptile Service made it 100% bearable. Any if you want to make those amazeballs s’mores, you have to hit up Nicki Longoria to find out what voodoo she did to the bacon before it hit the set. And lastly, we can only pull off complex shots like this cover with the help of Nick Cabrera. Thank you Nick for always figuring out how to make it work, even if what we’re asking you to do is safely anchor a 20′ sail to c-stands in 15-20 mile per hour wind gusts.