The Prudential Day One Stories Campaign


In mid-June, 2011 I submitted my photo, a short video and answers to some questions to the John Williams Agency in LA when I found out they were looking for Baby Boomers (I'm 1948) who were retiring soon for a national commercial. A couple of weeks later, I got a call from the casting director saying I had reached the next step in the selection process and I would be getting a call from the ad agency (Drogo5) The next day I got an email from Scott Chin at Droga5 asking me to take some sunrise photos to "be included in our spot." The answer to one of the questions they asked and one of the photos I sent is used here (the video has, sadly, disappeared).

Good article about the Day One Campaign

On July 6th Scott called and asked what kind of camera I use and for my exact date of retirement.  My retirement date had not actually been set, but I decided then and there and told him July 22nd.

July 13th - I had been in Nashville working for a couple of days and stopped by the Armstrongs on Lookout Mtn for a visit on my way home.  I left my phone in the car and found this message on it later.  I called Colin back twice that night but had to leave a voice mail both times.

July 14th - Sean Hobbs, producer of the films, called to say that I was one of 12 candidates, out of hundereds of applicants, who were being presented to the client, Prudential, the next day and out of the 12, 5 would be selected for the spot. 

Nothing happened then until late afternoon on July 19th, when I got a call from Katina Hubbard at Epoch films who asked me a lot of questions about my life, but would not say if I had been selected.  She told me to "forget we are coming" - which was my first clue that "they" WERE coming. 

Two days later, Thursday, Katina called back - asking more questions, hinting that I had been chosen but not confirming.  At one point she said "My boss says I'm telling you too much," after I had asked several questions.  Again, she said, "Just forget we're coming".

The next day, Friday - my last day of work, Sean Hobbs called to say that a crew would be here at 6am Monday morning to film me for the Day One Campaign.  Once again he said, "Just forget we're coming".  Riiiiight.....       That same 100+ degree day I had a flat tire and thought I'd lost my wallet. I had to try real hard not to panic and did manage to keep my cool.  Shelley, Melissa and I drove to Atlanta after work so we could celebrate Mom's (94) and Melissa's (7) birthday on Saturday, returning late Saturday night. No time to clean house!

Sunday I went to church and then out for lunch with friends, then home to prepare for whatever was to come. A neighbor was off his meds and had spread rotton tomatoes all over his backyard - 50 feet from my patio.  A visit from the police department was involved.  Did I mention it was very, very hot?

At 9pm Sean called me from the Chattanooga airport, saying he and "the crew" would be at my door at 6am.  He said not to comb my hair before I answered the door. Again, riiiight...... :)  This time he did NOT say to forget they were coming.

Sean HobbsI actually slept pretty well that night, woke up at 5:30 before either alarm clock went off, brushed my teeth, combed my hair (just a little) and answered the door in my pajamas at 6am sharp.  There stood this great big, friendly looking, grinning guy. 

"Weeeeeee're  heeeeeeeeere!"  Sean said.

"Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii see you are," I said.

"Iiiiiiiiiiiiit's film day!" he said.

"Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii know!" I said.

In trooped eight other guys, lots of sound and video equipment, laptops, briefcases,

The rest is there in the documentary.  It was a long day, we filmed here at the house then went to Greenlife to meet Shelley for lunch, then across the street to One Northshore, where I was considering moving.  We moved on to Baylor to pick Melissa up from camp, set up some croquet shots on Baylor's putting green (too bad we didn't have a real wicket) and they filmed me taking photos of Melissa on the Baylor red bridge.  It was hot, hot, hot, and humid, so we left Deacon at home.  Everyone was glad to get back to the coolness of home, where we did some more filming and interviewing and eating of cherries and peanut butter on apples. 
At 7:30, 13.5 hours later, they were packed up and gone.

Day One Team
First row: Tom, Julius, Will, Daniel, Deacon, Linda, Kevin Second row: Roger, Colin, Scott, Sean
Producer: Sean Hobbs Production Manager: Colin Moran
Directors: Will Hoffman, Julius Metoyer, Daniel Mercadante
Production Assistants: Tom Smith, Roger Shutters
Droga5 Agency: Scott Chinn, Kevin Brady

Vickie and Russell Webster had been kind enough to invite me and the crew on their boat that evening, but the crew had other work to do before flying out, so Deacon and I went by ourselves. It was good to have something fun to do after the excitement was suddenly over!

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