Spot adds humor to debate

Geoffrey B. Roche took time out from collecting creative awards last month to put together a hilarious 30-second tv spot for the Yes side in the recent referendum on the Constitution.The spot, by the founder of Toronto ad agency Geoffrey B....

Geoffrey B. Roche took time out from collecting creative awards last month to put together a hilarious 30-second tv spot for the Yes side in the recent referendum on the Constitution.

The spot, by the founder of Toronto ad agency Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners, opens on a two-story house in shrouded darkness except for a light glowing from an upstairs window.

Exclaiming

As the camera zooms slowly in on the window, a woman is heard passionately exclaiming ‘yes’ over and over until the climax when she unleashes one final feverish ‘yes.’

Then the picture fades and the following graphics appear: ‘SAY YES, Do It For Your Country.’

Roche, who set up his shop less than two years ago, has won several fistsful of creative awards for his print and billboard work for such clients as the Royal Ontario Museum and Summerhill Hardware, both of Toronto.

He says he sent the spot to the Canada Committee, the central committee representing the Yes side in the referendum, but the powers-that-be refused to air it.

Apparently, members of the committee thought it was a riot and even requested additional copies for their personal use, but they did not feel it fit strategically with their larger campaign.

(Roche, who produced the spot on the spur of the moment, was legally barred from running it on his own because he was not registered with Elections Canada as an official Yes or No Committee.)

Undaunted, Roche sent copies to the news departments of the major tv networks as well as Citytv in Toronto.

‘They all said they found it interesting, but nothing came of it,’ he says.

Finally, on Oct. 24, two days before the vote, Roche paid $350 to Buffalo tv station wutv for a single airing in the middle of the night.

Didn’t change fortunes

Roche concedes the airing did not change the fortunes of the Yes side, but he says what he really wanted to do was inject a little humor into the Constitution debate.

‘It would have been helpful if everyone had lightened up a bit,’ he says.

Citytv subsequently ran the spot on Nov. 1 during MediaTelevision, a program exploring issues in the media.

Creative direction was by Roche. Also involved in creating the ad were agency art director Scott Dube and freelance copywriter Judy John.

Terry O’Reilly of Pirate Radio was responsible for the soundtrack.