The value of writing in advertising is undervalued these days. And then a spot like Mike Rowe’s prostate exam comes along and you can’t help but notice how much of the ad’s impact is carried in the script. Yes, an onscreen prostate exam is a striking idea.
It was striking when McCann Canada did it.
Yes, Mike Rowe’s delivery is perfect. So is his doctor’s. But the script is doing most of the heavy loading. It has to deliver a lot of dry information, overcome a lot of resistance to what it’s trying to “sell”…and keep a two-minute ad engaging. It does all of this.
Mike Rowe is a US TV host and voice-over artist, whose fandom has been used by a number of brands like Ford and Novartis.
Agency, Erich & Kallman, made a wise choice for its PSA, created with Zero – The End of Prostate Cancer, a non-profit organisation involved in prostate cancer education, testing, patient support, research and advocacy. Rowe was willing to participate because a good friend had recently undergone treatment, apparently successfully, for prostate cancer. This was able to be worked into the ad – another plus for the campaign. And there’s a wonderful little device, a fake button in the bottom right corner of the film, Click here for reverse angle. The writer has deftly turned that into a memorable hook for the ad.
“Jeff Wilson [Rowe’s friend] is the reason I agreed to get my prostate examined on camera,” Rowe explained. “I wanted men to see – for real – just how fast and simple the process is, and just how critically important early detection can be. But men don’t need a lecture, and the world doesn’t need another PSA filled with sad faces and cello music because lectures, sad faces, and cello music don’t work. What works is authenticity, and this is quite possibly the most authentic thing I’ve ever filmed. With a little help from my actual doctor, his actual finger, and my actual rectum, I’m hopeful we can save some actual lives.”
The spot is running on social media (no paid media is planned), on Rowe’s website and social media accounts, on YouTube and via Zero.
Agency: Erich & Kallman
Production Company: ContagiousLA
Director: Andrew Laurich
Executive Producer: Natalie Sakai
Producer: Hannah Rome
DOP: Scott Uhlfelder
Colourist: Stephen Derluguian
Audio Mix: Matt Keith @ Barking Owl
Music: Haystack Music
Track: Your Smile is the Sun by Andrew Sherman
Music Supervisor: Ryan Alons
Executive Producer: Ian Jeffreys