The Makings of a Commercial: “Just One”

Posted by Tina on January 9, 2013

“Just One” is a PSA we did for the North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control Commission. Our goal was a tricky one: To create a 30-second spot that highlighted the dangers not of drunk driving, but of buzzed driving. Our first mission was to figure out what exactly that meant. Sure, it’s easy to tell when you’ve had too much to drink—for me, at least, it’s about the time that I start thinking that I’m a good dancer. But what about the times when it’s not so easy to tell? What about the times when you haven’t eaten much all day, or the drink is a particularly strong one, and you start thinking everything is a good idea, including driving?

1. Create a Concept

I figured this message would be easier to get across in context, so I began to brainstorm scenarios where a single thing effected an outcome. Our aim was to keep the PSA as accessible as possible, so I relied on common events, like sports and voting. Then, I drafted a simple script from the idea:

2. Revise the Concept

Chris, the project’s producer, and I puzzled for awhile about how to create four distinct scenes with at least three different actors on what was a pretty tight budget. We also didn’t want to be too self-serious, because many people can (and do) drive after one drink with no problem whatsoever. Given those limitations, we decided to see what the spot might look like if done graphically. I sent the concept along to Hung Le, our art director based out of New York City, and he came back with these style frames:

3. Create the Commercial

We loved it. The simplicity of black and white kept the graphics from overpowering the message, and made the spot more fun. Additionally, each scenario naturally wiped into the next, eliminating the problem of deciding how to transition between scenes. Hung Le spent a few weeks animating the project, and came back with the final product you see today:

And that’s how you make a commercial!