Creatives you need to know: Nathaniel Lawlor and Colin Selikow

Nathaniel Lawlor and Colin Selikow proved that you can win the
Super Bowl by avoiding the game altogether.

The pair helped lead Skittles through its most daring antic to
date—a Broadway musical that ran on this year’s Super Bowl
Sunday (Feb. 3) and bit the hand that fed them. Its premise:
Advertising ruins everything.

On the surface, “Skittles Commercial: The Musical,” starring
Michael C. Hall of “Dexter” fame, was a bold message saying
“Screw you!” to the industry on its biggest day of the year.
But it ultimately served as a reminder that making a brand Super
Bowl-famous need not happen on a screen: “Broadway the Rainbow”
garnered over 2 billion earned impressions and more than $40
million in earned media, according to the client.

“The idea of disrupting what’s become predictable is at the
heart of the brand,” says Selikow, executive creative director at
DDB Chicago. “The Super Bowl has become extremely
predictable—it’s based around TV ads, celebrity, humor.”

The musical was a full-blown production with an impressive
talent lineup (along with Hall, it included theater vets like
playwright Will Eno and director Sarah Benson). It had all the
details you’d expect from such a show, including a soundtrack, a
Playbill packed with Easter eggs and even merch.  And it was a
risky step up from the pair’s anarchic move for Skittles last
year, “Exclusive the Rainbow,” a multi-Lion-winning effort
centered on a Big Game ad that only one consumer got to see.

It “taught us something about the Super Bowl,” says freelance
copywriter Lawlor, who wrote the “Skittles Commercial” lyrics
and penned the libretto alongside Eno. “We learned maybe it’s
more than just a football game, it’s a cultural moment around
advertising. So by doing this thing that separates itself from the
media buy, we proved to ourselves there’s more than one way to
skin a cat.”

Both Lawlor and Selikow had proven their chops before they ever
tasted the rainbow. Lawlor started out as an intern at Goodby,
Silverstein & Partners before becoming a copywriter. As a
freelancer, he’s gone on to create notable campaigns including
Apple’s “Appocalypse” film; KFC’s ads featuring the first
female Colonel, Reba McIntyre; and Old Spice work starring Terry
Crews. Selikow, a South African native, had previously been at Leo
Burnett Chicago, where one of his projects was Samsung’s
acclaimed spot about an ostrich experiencing flight, thanks to the
brand’s VR goggles.

Selikow approaches the job by leaving everything behind. “The
biggest trick is emptying myself and forgetting what we’ve done
before,” he says. “The last two years on Skittles have been
really good practice.”

For Lawlor, it’s about finding balance. He’s a self-described
“auteur,” an obsessive who visited bodegas until the late hours
to ensure the authenticity of the Skittles set (much of the play
took place in a typical New York City minimart). “My biggest
challenge is figuring out how to get to a place I want,” he says,
“but not drive everybody else and myself crazy in the

Source: FS – Advertising Blogs !
Creatives you need to know: Nathaniel Lawlor and Colin Selikow