World: My Portfolio - Bob Kerstetter

Bob Kerstetter, previously an award-winning copywriter at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, went on to found his own agency, Black Rocket in San Francisco. Not content with that, however, he decided to try his hand at directing. "I'd been working as a creative for 20 years. I needed to sit in a different seat on the train - one with windows," he says.

In 2002, while still working at Black Rocket, he won the Directors' Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials for a campaign for Musco Olives. A year later, he left the agency and then, earlier this year, joined Chelsea Pictures. "I figured since everyone else was starting to take me seriously as a director, I'd better do the same," he says.

The Musco Olives caused an international buzz. The campaign created a surreal world in which people who stick olives on their fingers are treated as outcasts.

Kerstetter says it is important to create a story in an ad and find something to say. "I'm interested in any story that takes me farther than simply wanting to meet the girl with the big boobs because I drink the right beer."

With his spot for Fusion One, "diner", he worked hard to get the casting just right. "Finding the right actors for film is everything to me. 'Diner' works for me because of the people. So much is conveyed with so little action."

Kerstetter is clear about what made this ad work. "Again, it's about story. Get a good story with good actors and good film. It's hard to go wrong."

He followed the same rule for his Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online ad, "note". "Anytime you can create an obese Texas guy in a cowboy hat on a crowded plane thinking he's downright sexy, you win," Kerstetter says.

It's also possible to do all that in just 15 seconds, according to Kerstetter. While at Black Rocket, the director was one of the team that launched Yahoo!. His direction on a spot for Yahoo! Hotjobs demonstrates that it is possible to make something unusual in the shortest span of time. "We shot in the smelliest restaurant kitchen we could find in San Francisco. And, strangely, there's a sense of hope," he says.

Kerstetter's reputation goes before him. Jeff Goodby, a founder of Gooby Silverstein & Partners, gives impressive testimony on his behalf. "There are some people who don't really expect to have their spots turn out as good as Kerstetter will make them. Don't let his cut-off sweats fool you. This isn't a hobby for Bob."

- Bob Kerstetter was talking to Pippa Considine.

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