Minneapolis, MN (April 4, 2006)–It looks and sounds like an emotional appeal for a worthy cause, but the YMCA’s new PSA, “Button,” has its tongue planted firmly in cheek. Echo Boys helped agency Kerker/Minneapolis with the clever misdirect, composing the moody score and crafting subtle sound design to support wistful visuals. Sister company Crash & Sue’s recorded the voiceover and performed the mix.
The PSA, directed by Fischer Edit’s Josh Thacker, opens on a black-and-white expanse of wet street where a lonely blue button lies on the pavement. Next, a close up of a shadowy gold-toned escalator reveals a single yellow button wobbling on the edge of the disappearing steps. A telephone pole in a bleakly colored urban landscape bears a homemade yellow poster pleading, “Have You Seen My Button?” The first clue that this isn’t the usual PSA.
The serious voiceover intones, “Over the holidays, expanding waistlines force thousands of innocent buttons to pop off…” as the next shot shows a solitary pearl button on the sidewalk amidst distant bustling feet. “You can put an end to this unnecessary problem by joining the YMCA,” the voiceover continues. “Get back in shape and save a button today.”
Echo Boys “honed in on the misdirect,” said Tom Lecher, with Alex Berglund composing a mournful, plaintive score. “There was no sync sound so Alex combined his piano with synthesized elements and ambient textures to evoke an emotional appeal.”
Lecher created the sound design for the shots of the lonely buttons in their virtually deserted cityscapes. He tapped his own sound archive to craft sounds of the wind blowing the paper poster, crowds of distant feet and tires on a slushy road. Lecher also custom-recorded one of the hero buttons perched on the edge of a moving escalator.
Crash & Sue’s Bethany Lacktorin recorded voiceover talent Tim Russell in his most serious delivery and mixed the VO, music and sound-design elements. Kathy Yanko produced for Echo Boys.
Crash & Sue’s