Barry Sanders, Kirk Gibson, Rick Mahorn, and Darren McCarty walk into a bar…

By John Heiple, VP of Creative Production

Late last summer – a grainy cellphone video arrives from one of our clients.  An idea for a commercial with some former athletes, a trivia night, and everyone answering the client’s tagline at the end. 

Fast forward to today – that rough sketch is now a 30-second Super Bowl spot for the Sam Bernstein Law Firm and features Mark and Beth Bernstein along with comedians Jason and Randy Sklar.  And the former athletes who join them?  Icons of Detroit sports lore – Barry Sanders, Kirk Gibson, Darren McCarty, and Rick Mahorn. 

So how did we get here?  What does the creative process look like and what are the axioms you must always remember about the process, so you don’t lose your mind along the way? 

To Get from A to B, you must get from 1-50 first

In my mind, the best way to describe the creative process is a wildly veering, erratically swerving, straight line.  There’s a clear starting and end point but what happens in between is anything but uniform.  Case in point – that finished commercial involved a great deal of brainstorming, writing, location scouting, rewriting, storyboarding, a few disagreements, more rewriting, a few more disagreements, an insane amount of Mediterranean food, along with the usual moments of self-doubt, consternation, and resignation.  Just when you think it can’t possibly come together or work, it just does.  It’s the combination of all those experiences and steps, however wayward they appear at the time, that somehow lead you to your destination.  Trust the process.

This was an incredible project to participate in.  I’m forever grateful to the Sam Bernstein Law Firm for having faith in us to pull it off and so proud of our entire team who worked unbelievably hard to make it happen.  The creative process can be ugly, it may be a different road every time but where you eventually end up can pretty awesome.