It took more than a quick phone-call to put Ian Wright together
with Martin Luther King for the latest One-2-One commercial.
As with all the ads in the mobile phone campaign, the producers relied
on some clever techniques to match the football star with his human
But before the visual trickery could be set up, a lot of hard graft was
called for. The search for film footage of the 60s consumed a huge
amount of time, and specific film of King was surprisingly difficult to
come by. The Image Bank searched 20 sources, many of them transatlantic,
as well as trawling through its own archive.
Staff at Bartle Bogle Hegarty sat through hours of film, alongside the
director, Chris Palmer at Gorgeous. King’s estate has a policy of only
allowing its footage to be used for educational purposes and is unused
to being approached by advertising agencies. Happily, the script was
acceptable, although the agency had to inform the estate of every
Two scenes - a bathroom and a riot - were chosen from the footage to be
recreated for the ad. Location experts found a hospital with acres of
ground and set up a period replica of the US - just outside Boreham
The team recreated a famous 60s civil rights demonstration when King
marched across Pettus Bridge into Selma, Alabama, with a mass of
followers behind him. The march, which turned into a riot, was re-shot
so Wright could be blended in with the action.
In the bathroom scene, Wright puts his face into a refreshing spout of
water. The camera pulls away to show archive footage of a small, grubby
water spout right next to a larger, pristine fountain.
Above the first is the sign ’coloreds’ while the other, cleaner version
is labelled ’whites’.
Wright also acted for a scene in a bus where a young black man jumps up
to give his seat to a white man who has just boarded.
All the 90s film was degraded at Smoke & Mirrors to make it look like
Although Wright’s original choice of hero was the athlete, Jesse Owens,
the footballer was happy to go with King and surprised the production
team with his knowledge of the man.
Amanda Jardella, the TV producer at BBH, said: ’Although the script was
not written by him, Wright’s interpretation is there and he gave us two
whole days on location as well as half a day in the studio at Elstree.’