The most fun, but equally ridiculous TV ad I’ve ever directed

More than a decade ago, I had my own production company. We were a vendor for Google TV Adwords (now defunct) and got a lot of requests from a variety of businesses around the country: tech, pebble tiles, wine, jewelers, software—you name it. We were pumping out a diverse mix of short, 0:30 spots for broadcast television and having a great time. 

One morning, I got the best phone call from the founder of the Slobstopper. Yes, the Slobstopper. An adult bib meant to help busy commuters who eat in their cars. The tagline? Bibs Aren’t Just for Babies.

You can see why I was skeptical, right? I immediately thought it was a joke or a prank, but then a box of Slobstopper’s of all colors showed up at our studio door. I quickly realized that Bart, the founder, was not joking, and in fact, his story was incredible. As a traveling refrigerator salesman, eating in his car was a problem, so he designed a product for himself. Thinking others had the same problem too, he started selling the bibs at his local flea market, and immediately sold out. Thinking it may be a fluke, he tried selling them again. He sold out again. And again. And again. Realizing he may have something, he decided to start a business and figure out how to market himself. And that’s when he decided to call me.

It was a match made in heaven, because if you know me, of course I said yes to Bart.

Prep was simple. I needed to cast a lead who would be down to take some spills, so I immediately called my friend from high-school, Dale, who is first in line when it comes to being ridiculous and not the least bit embarrassed. Everyone needs a Dale in their lives.

We filmed around Mountain View for the day and had a blast spilling stuff inside my green Honda Civic coupe. Oh and guess what? Nothing got messy because we had the Slobstopper. All the other actors were great sports too. Everyone put their hearts (and laughters) into it which made the video that much better.

Here is the final product that made its way around the airwaves. 

It went viral immediately and was even featured on the Ellen show. Go ahead and give Slobstopper a quick Google search and see all the ridiculous conversations and videos happening around the internet. And I say it again and again, but yes, the Slobstopper is real. 

Here are some BTS pics from 2010. 

Such a fun life moment and core memory. I laugh every time Dale spills on himself. There was one take where I made him “go bigger” which caused him to get chocolate milk in his eyes. I need to dig out that footage and play it for the homies next Thanksgiving.

Closing thoughts: As artists, we sometimes cringe at our past work. But if you can embrace it (and in my case, laugh about it), that’s the best type of learning and growth. Show people your art, I say!

Check my blog for more of my writing and directing adventures.