btm8AkX7Zy9qPhil Spector may have invented The Wall Of Sound, but times have changed a bit since his big hits with The Ronettes, and the Righteous Brothers. For one, we now have Stereo and Surround Sound mixing. For two, the only recent “hit” that Phil has orchestrated is Lana Clarkson, a woman who’s murder has put an ironic wrinkle in the lyric – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin”.

Its safe to say that few things might be more unpredictable than Mr. Spector (check out the hair) – other than the world of retail. Gone are the times when a simple Back To School event was guaranteed to bring in large wads of do-re-me. Or, in Phil’s lexicon, “da-doo-ron-ron”. Creativity and ingenuity are now the order of the day.

Enter, the Video Wall…with sound.

Phil Spector. Cute & cuddly as ever.

For Marshall Fields Back To School Event we did the sound-design and mixes for four in-store video wall shorts that were created in an Anime style. This was a fun challenge because sound effects in Anime are rarely literal and are commonly awkward; birds might not twitter but honk, while snails utter bizarre notes. When sounds work – its creative euphoria. When they don’t, you’re parked at the Mac – perplexed, curious, and in need of someone throwing you a bone. Thankfully, Jocelyn Okubo, the producer, got us the picture ahead of time so that we could frame in our sound effect treatments before we put in the music – which, by the way, was done by former Soul Coughing keyboardist Mark De Gli Antoni.

These animated shorts were the brainchild of Jency Collopy (Art Director) Adam Reynolds, (Copywriter) and Chad Alan Albers who did all the illustrations. Knowing that Anime would be popular with young adults and their parents they designed some visuals that hit on the trends — denim, backpacks, home/dorm items etc. Those ideas lead to in-store signs that displayed the trends without screaming “You need a backpack” or “buy denim to be cool.” The videos became the logical extension of those illustrations.

The names that pop-up during these shorts have their own funny back story. When Adam was a kid his family hosted some foreign exchange students named “Tomoye Nawata” and “Yukari”. Great names, but nobody thought they’d work for this project. So they checked the credits of the Anime flick, Spirited Away. But “Tsunehiko,” “Bunta” and “Lauren Holly” didn’t cut it either. In the end, they used “Kumiko” (Jency’s name – translated into Japanese) and “Illian” which is Adam’s friend’s daughter’s name. Or so he thought. His friend lives in China and his baby girl’s name is spelled “Iilen”, and pronounced Ee-Lan. Oops.

Hopefully, Adam’s friend doesn’t cue up and play an old Wall Of Sound classic from Phil Spector – “I Don’t Need You Anymore”

Here’s “Stock Up”

Additional kudos need to go to Marshall Field’s Creative Director Greg Clark, Creative Manager Heather Thornswood, and Media Specialist Brian Shelly. No Twin Cities voice-over actors were harmed, injured, or otherwise maimed during the course of the recording and production.