production stories recalled
What the Puck?
as recalled by
Kerry Rasikas & Lisa Mulry
It's the 90s
. . . and Dot-Coms are setting up cool offices for throngs of young coders typing HTML. Herman Miller launches a new “performance” chair that New York magazine would call the “Dot-Com Throne”. MoMA acquires one for its permanent collection. In 1999, Business Week names the Aeron chair “Design of the Decade”.
A subsidiary of Herman Miller, SQA (Simple, Quick and Affordable), is responding to Dot-Coms’ burgeoning need for office furniture by offering limited-selection, rapid-ship furnishings. Rasikas Films has been producing numerous videos for SQA in collaboration with Dan Botruff, SQA’s marketing whiz. Botruff is put in charge of a showpiece Aeron video for the “Design of the Decade” event in New York – where Herman Miller would be seated next to the likes of BMW and Apple. No pressure.
An idea session with SQA, Fairly Painless Advertising and Rasikas Films occurs over craft beers at a befitting, multi-floored, warehouse restaurant complex. After several ideas are tossed around with none gaining traction, Fairly Painless Creative Director, Peter Bell, reveals his brilliant, two-word concept that would evolve into a campaign reaching across continents: “office hockey”.
Next up was to film this new game – or at least enough of it to be convincing. Production meetings result in numerous “must haves” including board checks, saves and errant pucks. Rasikas Films’ Producer/AD Lisa Mulry recruits high school hockey Coach Joe to help guide talent auditions (which resemble scrimmages) and as technical advisor on the 35mm film shoot. Fish bowls, vintage bikes and other dot-comish office props are gathered. Various densities of paper-wad pucks are constructed and tested. Off-speed, slo-mo, chair-cam and bullet-time camera techniques are explored. Producer Mulry negotiates the perfect warehouse office location with room to roll. Director/Editor Kerry Rasikas mulls over a finale he’ll try at the shoot.
It's a Smash
The video is a hit. A Herman Miller executive exclaims ”that should be on the Super Bowl!”. It also receives a few complaints of white male bashing. (It never runs on the Super Bowl and the bashing complaints are ignored.)
"Office Hockey" : 60
Director of Photography
Music & Sound Design
Theresa Host Barry
The Office Hockey video is revised into a thirty-second TV spot broadcast around the world in dozens of languages.
Fairly Painless Advertising expands Office Hockey into print ads, posters, rule books, game events and more.
Over seven million Aeron chairs have been sold worldwide.
Three nicked and scratched ones from the shoot are still in service at RASIKAS World Headquarters.