New York, NY (May 4, 2005)–It takes confidence to set the stage for hip-hop icon, LL Cool J. JECO Music had the poise and showed why word is getting around on its music and sound-design skills, with a sharply executed dance score for a new national spot.
In the :30 “Limo,” created in conjunction with JWT-NY and Unilever/Caress, JECO composer Leigh Roberts created a driving club track and subtle sound design to kick off the star-studded action. The spot opens up with lightning-quick cuts of the start of a night out for two young women, flashing between a cab ride and the shower with Caress that kicked it all off. Arriving at the downtown NYC club, they shrewdly skip the long line outside by grabbing onto a surprised LL Cool J as he steps out of his limo. “Caress adds smooth radiance to your skin…and your attitude,” the VO intones as the threesome saunters past the velvet rope.
JWT-NY came to JECO to solve a number of interesting challenges that the spot presented. Although the temp track had the high energy that was needed, Roberts sensed that more careful attention to the on-screen action was called for. Making things even trickier was the fact that his music had to mesh well with the mid-paced, booming LL Cool J song, “Head Sprung,” that begins playing when the rapper appears onscreen for the second half of the spot.
“The ad team wanted the beginning of the spot to have clubbing music-level energy, but there’s a story being told, and the music on the temp track was just plastering the entire section,” Roberts explained. “In a spot like that, you need both the sound and images to tell the story. You have the mystique of the beginning of the film, the women are excited, then they see the line at the club, and then LL’s limo pulls up and they get an idea.
“All these elements in the spot have to be addressed. I decided to do something up-tempo, and everything about the track–the drum fill, the guitar–is all playing to the picture. It looks like the music is just evolving naturally, but it’s still synching to the picture. That’s why the results were so successful–the music helps tell the story without words. That’s what we do well.”
“JECO came through for us before, I was hoping they’d do it again and they have,” said Michael Hart, executive creative director for JWT-NY. “To come up with a track for ‘Limo’ that served as the proper prelude for the LL Cool J song was a complex assignment, but JECO did it. Ultimately, it’s their work ethic that makes them stand out: If you need something done fast or have last-minute revisions, JECO rolls up their sleeves to create music and sound design that fits the bill perfectly.”
Working out of their new studios in midtown Manhattan, JECO used live guitar, organ and intensive rhythm programming to create the track. “Beyond writing the music, we had to pay careful attention to the mix,” said Roberts. “The music is up front and center, with the goal being that the listener would think it was from a genuine dance track that had been licensed for the spot. The ‘beefiness’ of the drums, the lo-fi sound of the organ all contributed to that.”
The result is a fun, charged up composition that makes Caress, JWT-NY’s smart visuals and the music of a hip-hop maestro look and sound even better. “To get the right sound, you have to take the time,” Roberts concluded. “When you put that kind of care into a spot, it makes everything stronger.”
Also contributing for JECO were partner, Jon Ehrlich, and executive producer, Gus Reyes.