One of my career highlights was creating an ad for Sesame Street – one of my all time favorite television shows! Children's Television Workshop was one of the accounts I worked on at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, back in 2000. (I also worked on the launch of Dragon Tales, but I don't much care for that show.) Jim Henson has always been at the top of my list of people I truly admire, so I feel privileged to have added – in a small way – to Jim's dream.
The ad was intended to highlight the upcoming curriculum of Sesame Street's new season. So we decided to visually show all the characters acting out the various teachings of Sesame Street. A super-market seemed like a good setting so I designed what the store should look like. (I wish I still had my original sketch, but I misplaced it.) We then hired a set designer to build the set. I also designed all the food labels in Bert's basket and the posters hanging in the windows.
When it came time to pose the Sesame Street characters on set they arrived in crates. The odd thing is that all the Muppets' pupils were missing...so they looked like zombies. The "Muppet Wrangler" (that's his title) informed me that they add the pupils to the eyes last so the eyeline is perfect. He made sure no one took any pictures of the Muppets without their pupils because he didn't want any zombie-Muppet photos floating around – though, anyone with limited Photoshop skills can easily make a zombie-Muppet.
When deciding which characters to use in the ad it was mandatory to include the newer characters like Elmo, Zoe and Rosita, because the kids today connect with them. Not me. I made sure to include some of my favorite characters from when I was a child, like Grover, Cookie Monster, The Count, and of course Bert and Ernie. Unfortunately, Oscar's garbage can just didn't fit in to the super-market scenario...conceptually. One thing I'm specifically proud of was the inclusion of Sherlock Hemlock, the detective. He's been pretty much retired from Sesame Street so I was happy to dust him off and give him a prominent role.
Advertising can sure be fun!