The buzz I feel from the Nexgard shoot still lingers as if it was just yesterday. This production was a perfect example of the term "collaboration". I really love that word…it is the essential element necessary for a successful production of any sort…teamwork!!
I gotta thank Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness for the opportunity to do what it is I love to do. The concept they created for their Nexgard campaign was a perfect match for my love of dog photography. And it was such a treat to have the agency so excited about the shoot themselves. They kinda just gave me the reigns and said run with the ball…that is of course, after numerous conference calls and crazy planning, down to the smallest of details…all of which paid huge dividends in the end!!
Looking throughout these images, one might think it was a rather simple task…get the dogs dirty, and shoot them having fun. Yeah, that was absolutely the concept, but getting to that point was where all the behind the scenes magic of our amazing team took place.
Without a doubt, casting of the dogs was a key starting point. Obedient dogs partnered with their outstanding handlers allowed us the palette to basically start making the biggest studio mess you could imagine. The entire crew loved dogs, so the team's enthusiasm was kinda through the roof. NYC producer Cynthia Cohen was at the helm of our rock solid production. Her brilliant suggestion to bring in master prop guru Steve Halterman was an absolute blessing in disguise. Steve and his team of 4 assistants pretty much floated between our two identical sets rather effortlessly. By far they were tasked with the most difficult aspects of the shoot, but they were all smooth as silk…there was no ruffling their feathers! Just coming up with the perfect recipe for the mud mixture was a science project in itself. Steve and his crew were the perfect chill energy you wanna have on set when working with dogs.
I believe I mentioned how awesome these dogs were. The pre game festivities may have required some serious patience on their behalf, but once we started shooting, they were able to let loose and have a pretty good time.
If you're wondering what in the heck you're looking at in this next image, we ended up draping a rather pliable, and easy to clean linoleum over a raised stage where the dogs did their dirty work! And hence the need for two identical sets…once we basically destroyed one set, we jumped over to the second to continue shooting, allowing us ample time to clean, mop and reset the first.
And now, some of the final product…the "before and after" pics are particularly fun.
And it wasn't ALL about mud…
So remember I mentioned how excited the agency (Saatchi) was about the shoot? While Chico the dog was shredding a pillow of feathers (our first shot), Saatchi's Creative Director Carol Fiorino, along with 3 of the clients, were so inspired to the point where they felt they needed to "be" a part of the action as well…think "method creative direction". Ya gotta go with the flow…and keep in mind, these were unprovoked moments…they actually "asked" if they could try and replicate Chico's destruction. This more or less set the tone for our two days together!! We all had a pretty good time moving forward.
BUUUT, not to be out done, Art Director Carolyn Gargano took it a step further after watching Mailo the Corgie roll around in the mud. I was at the computer with the digital tech after completing Mailo's shot, only to turn around to this…there was no hesitation whatsoever…and she had on a really nice dress!!
AND then…the aftermath…but since the entire studio was pre-lined with visqueen, it wasn't quite as bad as it looks.
The carry over of inspiration from this shoot will stay with me for some time to come.
Below is an abbreviated list of the wonderful cast of characters who contributed to the creation of this NexGard campaign.
Credits: Merial - Executive Director Mike Hutton, Director, Consumer Marketing DJ Perera, Sr. Manager, Consumer Marketing Jennifer McCormick, Product Manager Firda Keel; Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness - SVP, Creative Director Carol Fiorino, VP Associate Creative Director Carolyn Gargano, Account Director Rohit Chainani, Account Supervisor Stephanie Vano, Account Executive Allison Sharkey, Director of Art Buying Ali Cohen, Art Buyer Missy Dimas; Crew - Photographer Michael Brian, Producer Cynthia Cohen, Prop Stylist Steve Halterman, 1st Photo Assistant Jason Goodrich, Digital Tech James Abke