In a surprise move, splatter-punk auteur Quentin Tarantino has agreed to direct a tampon commercial. Okay, so we made that up. But the truth is just about as weird: David Lynch, he of such surreal fare as Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet, has helmed a series of ads for a home pregnancy test.
The moody black-and-white spots, which started airing last month as part of a $7 million campaign, climb inside the mind of a woman nervously awaiting the result of her ClearBlue Easy One Minute pregnancy test. Everything she sees — from the clock to shampoo bottles to the faucet handles — reads yes or no.
”The client was a little nervous that the spot would be eerie and scary,” says David Cohen, executive producer at Ogilvy & Mather. ”But on the set, Lynch was constantly making sure the client was happy.”
Lynch — who also directed a 1990 Obsession ad for Calvin Klein — heard about the idea for the commercial from his agent. He contacted Ogilvy & Mather saying he liked the bold, simple concept. But copywriter Lisa Mayer knew better: ”I said to him, ‘Mr. Lynch, you were attracted to this because it involves the psychological torture of a beautiful young woman.’ And he said, ‘Yes.”’
In fact, Lynch engaged in a little good-humored on-the-set torture himself. The veteran director made the spot’s actress (newcomer Marisa Parker) actually take a pregnancy test so he could tape her real-life reaction. The twist: Lynch switched her results with those of a pregnant crew member. Says Mayer, ”[Marisa] held her own, then as soon as the camera stopped rolling, she screamed, ‘You bastard! Very funny.”’