Henry Blackham Perfects Lehman Millet's Vision in Preproduction and Post


Last fall Henry Blackham was contacted by Lehman/Millett Boston to shoot an ad for the pharmaceutical company Abbott. The product was Vital Jr. a nutritional drink for children with digestive problems.

The concept was great. The idea was to put the important ingredients and features of the product on the signage of a concession stand at an amusement park, reinforcing the nutritional qualities of the drink as well as it’s market for kids. A Ferris wheel was highly desired.

The timeline was tight and the first challenge was to find a suitable location. After a lot of research, Henry and his producer came to the conclusion that no single location would meet all the needs of the client. They decided that to accomplish the creative goals of the agency they were going to need a mix of locations and props and then they would compose the final image in post.


They settled on using the Santa Monica Pier and renting a concession stand. Santa Monica Pier was perfect because it had a Ferris wheel, several buildings that were suitable for backgrounds and a large parking lot where the crew could park and shoot the concession stand. After many hours on the phone and online Henry's producer finally tracked down a concession stand that the client was excited about. The specific signage on the concession stand for the ingredients of the product was created in post.

After an intense week of permitting, casting, propping, and wardrobe shopping,
the shoot day went very smoothly and as planned. Henry and his team began with shooting the concession stand and flags, followed by the Ferris wheel, and then several buildings on the pier.

All the elements--concession stand, Ferris wheel, flags, buildings, background people, and clouds were combined in post.

After all was said and done Henry couldn’t keep his hands off the project. He was inspired to tweak the image a bit to create his own ironic approach to the image. In Henry's version he replaced the ingredients of the Vital Jr. with healthy eating ingredients, like broccoli, spinach and other vegetables. All foods that run counter to the foods you would normally see on a concession stand at the local fair.

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