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Thornberg & Forester Revisits the Old West for Ad Spots

Jesse “Fewer” Watts is back in action for Efficiency Vermont, thanks to two fresh spots produced by design and production company Thornberg & Forester and ad agency Kelliher Samets Volk.

Press Release from Thornberg & Forester

New York, NY – Oct. 19, 2009 – Jesse “Fewer” Watts is back in action for Efficiency Vermont, thanks to two fresh spots produced by design and production company Thornberg & Forester and ad agency Kelliher Samets Volk.

Jesse is the returning hero character in a series of old west-themed teleplays—almost like the old western serials of Tom Mix and Gene Autry—except he happens to be an anthropomorphic, compact fluorescent light bulb decked out in chaps, boots, a hat and a sheriff’s badge. He brings his New England audience messages about the versatility and energy efficiency of CFL bulbs through a variety of settings, each couched in a gentle sense of humor and infused with rich details and nuance designed to make the spots pay off with each successive viewing. The campaign is the second go-round for T&F with Kelliher Samets Volk for Efficiency Vermont—the studio produced four commercials last year that aired in the New England market and now live on an Efficiency Vermont microsite,

“We updated the character design across the board and were able to develop and evolve the individual light bulb personalities in these spots,” explains T&F Partner and Creative Director Scott Matz, who directed the campaign.

For example, in “Villains,” Matz notes that Jesse seems to have a drinking problem. He continues to spill his root beer foam all over the place as the barkeep annoyingly cleans up the mess. Jesse also takes note of a group of old and dingy incandescent bulbs (the villains) who play a shady game of poker beneath a slow fan to keep them cool in a dark corner of the saloon.  Jesse states that waiting to use up all your old incandescent bulbs can actually cost consumers more than switching immediately to new CFLs.

In the second spot, “Intros,” Jesse is seen at the bar with “Shopkeeper Joe,” who, sporting a sweet comb-over and handlebar mustache, is crunching numbers with his adding machine. Careful eyes will note that he is propped up on a number of phone books stacked on his barstool. The point of this spot is to introduce the fact that CFLs come in lots of different shapes and sizes. You see and learn that Joe and his boss, “Gladys,” have distinctly different light bulb heads.

“We refreshed and updated the sets we designed last year and decided to make the spots even more fun and interesting by adding big and little touches wherever we could,” adds Matz.  “For example, in ‘Villains,’ a vintage photograph hangs on the wall behind the poker table.  In it, Jesse is seen posed with three actual human beings...the founding forefathers of Efficiency Vermont perhaps? We believe in details at Thornberg & Forester.  From comedic timing, expressions and performance, to lighting, texture, color and photorealistic reflections, our ultimate goal is for viewers to catch something new each time they see the spots.”

About Thornberg & Forester

Thornberg & Forester is a New York-based design and production company founded in 2007 by executive producer Elizabeth Kiehner and designers and creative directors Scott Matz and Justin Meredith.  The studio works in the areas of advertising, design, branding, interactive, animation, live action and content, and is built on the belief that every project has to start with a powerful message, one tailored to the right medium in order to effectively communicate it.  As such, T&F regularly collaborates with a roster of talent includes directors, animators, 3D artists, digital programmers, mixed media artists, illustrators and photographers, resulting in a diverse portfolio of work produced with an emphasis on distinctive ideas that achieve our clients’ goals.  Recent projects include the launch of Planet Green for Discovery Communications and the redesign of Thomson Reuters’ on-air promotion package, as well as commercials for McDonalds, Target and Dodge, along with interactive and digital work for Microsoft, GE and Procter & Gamble.