Lazare:ABC7 scores big with 'Huddle' promo

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Posted by Bud on August 21, 2009 at 09:42:29:

From today's Chicago Sun-Times:


Ch. 7 scores big with 'Huddle' promo

PRICELESS | Creative unit snared Giangreco for quick shoot in drag

August 21, 2009


Hands down, it has to be the funniest, most smartly executed promotional spot for any local TV station so far this year. We're talking about the "Chicago Huddle" TV spot touting an ongoing audition for an announcer/ hostess to work alongside host Ryan Chiaverini on WLS-Channel 7's Sunday morning football show that has its season debut Sept. 13.

Since we first saw the commercial with a priceless cameo drag turn by WLS sports anchor Mark Giangreco, we've been wondering how the station pulled it off. Props, it turns out, go to a fast-moving WLS creative services department, which annually produces about 300 promotional ads for the station.

According to Danny Tag, a producer in WLS's creative unit, the "Huddle" spot was completed in a quick five days. It all began with Tag receiving a one-sentence request for a TV promo for a "Huddle" announcer audition. Tag immediately envisioned a twisted version of "American Idol." Twisted, of course, because Tag knew the "Chicago Huddle" wasn't exactly searching for the next great young American singer. So why not have some fun with it?

Tag drew up a script that included several different types of wacky female audition candidates -- a sporty she-jock, a klutzy cheerleader and a vain diva. And, of course, Giangreco dressed as a woman to cap it all off. Once he had the concept clear in his mind and on paper, Tag and his creative services team quickly jumped into action.

The trickiest hurdle came early in the production process when Tag realized he had about an eight-hour window to secure Giangreco's services and shoot his part -- because the sports anchor was headed out of town. A quick call to Giangreco's producer, Larry Snyder, cleared the way for the anchor to do the shoot.

WLS art director Jason Adams wasted no time whipping up an original T-shirt with "I Love Ryan" scrawled on the front for Giangreco to wear, while the station's makeup artist Alx Galasinao conjured up a drag look for the quick-with-a-quip sports anchor.

Tag said five takes of Giangreco mugging for the camera was all it took to get what they needed.

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