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.'''