Michael Kelly, whom you might recall as the chief of staff on House of Cards, lends his edgy acting style—and more importantly, his balding head—to TBWA\Chiat\Day and director David Shane's delightfully droll brand campaign for Supercuts.
In the spots, breaking today, Kelly roams around town, envying folks with marvelous manes and fab follicles, saying stuff like, "Look at you, laughing and flicking and brushing your days away, unaware of how lucky you are. Hair. Such an under-appreciated gift."
At one point during the minute-long launch spot, dropping today, he envisions himself with an abundant new 'do …
… only to realize it's just a hallucination hatched inside his depleted dome.
"This idea is big and sticky precisely because it's so counterintuitive and unique," says Jason Karley, group creative director at TBWA\C\D in Los Angeles. "Just about anyone who hears it likes it before seeing a single second of film."
Another plus was that "people know what Supercuts is," he adds. "You don't necessarily need to show the stores. And you don't need to show an end-result haircut. These are all category conventions you need to break away from to be truly disruptive."
Supercuts sponsors Major League Baseball, so in the next spot, Kelly meets two uber-fans who root for opposing teams and make a "Loser shaves his head" bet while watching a game on TV.
Ah well, that Boston fan's hair will grow back by 2020 … which is the next time the Red Sox have a prayer of beating the Bronx Bombers!
Finally, Kelly takes the subway, and it's a predictably hair-raising (maybe that should be "hair-razing") experience:
"The actor that plays opposite Michael had to try to keep this sad, somewhat dumb and stunned look on his face but kept cracking up—which is usually a good sign you're doing something right," Karley recalls. "Also, I think we saw about 40 different reads and emotions on the single word 'Yeah' from the bald onlooker."
The scripts really sing, brimming with wry bits about "that little hairflip thing" folks do after swimming, and Supercuts' staffers assuming Kelly's just "looking for the karate studio next door" when he stops by.
Cast against type, he delivers a pitch-perfect performance. At times, Kelly seems to be seething just beneath the surface, primed to pull out what little hair he has left—sick fringe, dude!—as he encounters folks who take their luxurious locks for granted.
"Just telling people our haircuts are great wouldn't move the needle—that's all table stakes," Karley says. "The brand needed to be relevant and cool. They needed something bigger and noisier to get people to notice and reassess the brand. So, the idea is that nobody cares more about hair than us ... except maybe people who've lost it. That was the impetus for the bald spokesman. He becomes proxy for Supercuts' own love of hair."
TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles
Renato Fernandez, Chief Creative Officer
Jason Karley, Group Creative Director
Cyrus Coulter, Creative Director/Art Director
Josh Dimarcantonio, Creative Director/Copywriter
Andrew Livingston, Senior Art Director
Simon Bruyn, Senior Copywriter
Guia Iacomin, Director of Content Production
Alicia Portner, Producer
Robin Rossi, Director of Business Affairs
Jennifer Anaya, Associate Director of Business Affairs
Allison Fasano, Business Affairs Manager
Jennifer Nottoli, Managing Director
Pamela Lloyd, Account Director
Sharon Hsu, Account Supervisor
Raquel Devariel, Assistant Account Executive
Tim Tontz, Senior Project Manager
John Hickman - Group Planning Director
Corianda Dimes - Associate Planning Director
Iyana Sarrafieh - Senior Planner
Alana Gleason - Junior Strategist
Production Company: O Positive
Director: David Shane
Executive Producers: Ralph Laucella, Marc Grill
Producer: Jason Reda
DP: Stuart Dryburgh
Production Service Co/Mexico City: The Lift
Editorial Company: Arcade
Editor: Geoff Hounsell
Assistant: Ryan Andrus
Managing Partner: Damian Stevens
Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone
Producer: Alexa Atkin
VFX Company: Jamm
VFX Supervisor / Lead Flame Artist: Patrick Munoz
Flame Artist: Brian Hajek
Producer: Ashley Greyson
Executive Producer: Asher Edwards
Color: The Mill
Artist: Adam Scott
Recording Studio: Lime Studios
Mixer: Joel Waters
Music: Walker Music
Executive Producers: Sara Matarazzo, Stephanie Pigott
Producer: Danielle Soury