THE COMPTON COWBOYS
Los Angeles, USA 2018
We all have our favourite commercials. Many will be drawn to humour and chose something from a half time offering at a recent Super Bowl. For me the problem with many of these adverts is that they tend to be so topical and “on point” that they can date quickly. Also, the importance of the art directorship of the ad is normally second to the impact of the commercial message.
For those that focus on the directorship and filming, Ridley Scott’s 1984 Apple Macintosh advert remains iconic - almost as integral to his career as big features like Aliens and Gladiator. Then last year, the Guinness advert directed by Henry Alex Rubin featuring the Compton Cowboys struck a chord with many whether they were from Ireland, the UK or indeed LA or Compton itself.
I watched the advert many times and I would all urge you to view it on YouTube - it is not a wasted two minutes. It prompted me to go and check out Compton in LA and also to meet the Cowboys. They really do have quite a story to tell.
We did a location scout early one Sunday morning in Compton, but I found it difficult to find somewhere “in the hood” that would frame the group as well as I would like. It was all a little mainstream and clichéd. My leaning was towards an indoor shot, but that would put an emphasis on the visual strength of the location. Our production team - led by Doug Riggs - suggested a famous old nightclub in LA called the Warwick and we went for a drive by the next day. He was right - It was perfect and had a real sense of glamour and place. Conceptually I veered towards reinforcing that glamour with placed extras and then throwing in the rawness of The Compton Cowboys.
The singer - Nereyda Bird - is not a member of the Compton Cowboys - she is from Philly. But she did a grand job and is, I think, destined for great things. As for the Cowboys - they were a delight to work with and I look forward to partnering with them again soon. There are dudes and then there are dudes.