Fire, kids, cats, dogs and overflowing bathtubs come together to create a parent’s worst nightmare in Emmy Award-winning director Peter Atencio‘s new commercial for Canary, the fast growing smart home security system. Produced by Gifted Youth and created by CP+B Miami, the thrillingly delightful spot entitled “While You Were Out” marks Canary’s inaugural voyage into the world of television advertising.
Told through the lens of two parents out on a date night, the viewer is treated to a dizzying onslaught of unsavory and irrational “What if” scenarios that could possibly be going on back at home. In the 60-second spot, the calamity kicks in when the babysitter invites her bad-news boyfriend over, ignoring all three kids, two of whom give the cat a bath (thereby flooding the house) and one who takes Dad’s classic car for a spin (right through the garage wall). Elsewhere, the dog eats spicy pizza and the boyfriend’s pal falls through a second-story window, somehow igniting a fire around the periphery of the house. Yet back in wondrously uneventful reality, all worries are alleviated when Mom and Dad check in on home with Canary HD cams right from their smartphone.
The high-stakes hijinks caught on camera aren’t just a parent’s worst-case scenario, they’re also cause for many directors to run in the other direction. Thankfully Atencio, the visionary director behind the iconic sketch show Key & Peele as well as the feature film Keanu and Amazon’s Jean Claude Van Johnson, isn’t most directors.
“What initially attracted me to the project was the level of ambition behind it,” remarks Atencio. “Technically speaking, it’s everything you’re not supposed to do – work with kids, animals, fire, water gags…immediately it struck me as a fun challenge and my instincts were spot-on. The process was great. We bounced off ideas and went back and forth to ultimately find the way that would make it work logistically, while making it big and exciting at the same time.”
Thankfully the madness was an onscreen-only affair. Atencio worked with editor Sean Lagrange at Arcade Edit in Santa Monica, California, to seamlessly craft highly cinematic and suspenseful storylines for both the 30 and 60 second edits. A top-notch Canadian crew along with the keen eye of DP Jas Shelton came together to create a complex piece that is an exciting pivot for Atencio creatively, giving commercial audiences and the ad industry a preview of the filmmaker’s vision and versatility.
And the mayhem was all worth it…”While You Were Out” was recently named AdWeek’s Ad of the Day.