BRIEF In 2014, Bush’s Baked Beans asked Doner to create a commercial that would be a spiritual successor to their “Action Figure” spot, which had been hugely popular and had spawned the production of actual action figures (sold online and at the company’s museum).
The new spot had to be a continuation of the long-running gag that Jay Bush had only ever shared The Secret Family Recipe with one other creature on the planet: his dog, Duke. For completely inexplicable reasons, Duke is blessed with the gift of speech and is bound and determined to share the recipe with the world. The spot also had to have the potential for some sort of life beyond broadcast, as the action figure spot did.
SOLUTION At the time, I was Director of Design for Doner, but weird challenges are super fun, so I wrote “High Score” and my adver-buddies Chris Taylor and Jeff Eaker, polished it up. Working together, we shot and art directed the spot (working with Framestore for the visual effects and with Psyop for the game footage), with the hope that ultimately the client would be excited enough to follow through with a playable game.
RESULT The client was so thrilled that they committed to the downloadable game before the spot even aired. Psyop brought on additional staff to create the game and its elaborate, 16-bit-style graphics that we’d fought so hard to retain through the production process.
As of this writing, the spot remains in high rotation and the game has been downloaded over 250,000 times. You should download it and play it. It’s pretty fucking fun.