Your Shot: Elizabeth Banks Helms ‘Little Adjustments’ for Tommy John
Tommy John is a brand known for dishing up lines of super comfortable men’s underwear, so their launch of a collection for females was a big deal. Long-time agency partner Preacher enlisted actress and director Elizabeth Banks to helm the line’s launch film, ‘Little Adjustments’. The spot is an amusing take on the situations that uncomfortable undergarments can place women in - with a refreshing honesty maintained by Banks’ direction.
LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with Preacher strategy director Marika Wiggan to find out more.
LBB> What was the brief like from Tommy John and what were you thinking when you first saw it?
MW> We’ve been long time creative partners with Tommy John, so we knew the launch of their new women’s line was on the horizon. When they briefed us, we quickly identified the two biggest things we had to get right: 1) Truly understanding the issues women face when their underwear fails them, and 2) Finding the balance between speaking authentically to women, while not losing our distinct Tommy John voice. That’s why our strategy team did a ton of research with women before our creatives started concepting - to make sure we found the most compelling insights that would resonate with viewers.
LBB> Why was humour the right approach for this?
MW> We’ve spent the last four years helping Tommy John refine their premium wit and humour and knew a similar style of humour would resonate with women too. In fact, women were responsible for much of the sharing of our men’s underwear anthem film, ‘The Big Adjustment’.
A lot of women’s campaigns are taking on a very serious tone at the moment, which is really important, but Tommy John has always been about finding the levity in uncomfortable situations and we wanted to maintain that tradition with women too.
LBB> The two creatives on this were male - how did you ensure that you didn’t fall in a sort of 'male gaze' approach and were empathetic and writing from a point of view that women could relate to?
MW> The great news, for our male creatives, was that they were part of a larger team, many of whom were women and who helped keep them honest. The research and interviews our team did with women who were dissatisfied with their underwear also helped guide them because their creative ideas were based off real truths we heard from women.
LBB> How did the relationship with Elizabeth Banks come about and why was she the right person to direct the spot?
MW> We’ve had our eye on Elizabeth Banks as a director for a while. So, when it came time to find the right fit for Tommy John, Harvest was our first call. We thought it was important to work with a female director, in general, but gravitated towards Elizabeth specifically for her wit, sense of humour, and dedication to bolstering up and coming, comedic talent. We couldn’t have been more thrilled when she signed on.
LBB> How was she to work with? Did you work quite collaboratively?
MW> Elizabeth was great to work with. We knew she understood the comedy we wanted to achieve, and she elevated it. In meetings and on set it was always collaborative. It was easy to trust Elizabeth to get the best performances from our talent and tell the story we were striving for. She was always open to our notes and to talk through ideas.
LBB> What were the trickiest components and how did you overcome them?
MW> Going into the shoot we knew it was a very ambitious day. The spot is built on five different vignettes, with different locations and talent. We knew that in order to appeal to a broader audience, it was important to highlight different women in different situations. By staying close with Tommy John and with Elizabeth Banks, we made an agreement to keep things moving once we felt that we had what we needed and to not keep going on the same scene. If we achieved what we wanted in one or two takes, we would move on.
LBB> Any parting thoughts?
MW> In the end, we hope people come away with a sense that even though life may put them in some uncomfortable situations, their underwear should never. And that switching to Tommy John is the fastest way to overcome the uncomfortable… because nobody’s got time for underwear that behaves badly.