In his first collaboration with The Martin Agency, photographer Randal Ford was hired to shoot an integrated print and live action campaign for Purina Mills’ entitled Animals Speak Louder Than Words. The campaign consisted of four print executions and a :30 broadcast spot. Having Randal direct the live action and shoot the print made for a stunning campaign showcasing a cohesive aesthetic.
The concept was simple: Shoot the most beautiful animals that could be found on an extra black background and place red quotation marks around them as they peer proudly out of the darkness.
Most of Randal’s work with animals is shot in Los Angeles because there are a number of studios set up to work with animals and an abundance of animal trainers to work with. The Purina Mills project however was shot in Dallas because that’s where they were able to find the caliber of show animals they were looking for.
“This campaign is targeted to people who really know animals, so we wanted to find the absolute prettiest show animals possible,” says Randal. The campaign images include a horse, a cow, a chicken, and a very regal looking pig.
“Because we were using show animals rather than actor animals like you would find in LA, they didn’t necessarily have a lot of on camera experience. They’re not super well trained. For example, it was difficult to get the pig to stand with his head up, because that’s not how pigs are designed—they’re designed to have their nose on the floor. Every animal has some different challenge, and there’s a certain amount of control that you sacrifice when shooting them, which is one of the reasons I like it so much.”
However despite their lack of Hollywood experience, Randal says the animals didn’t have a problem getting used to the powerful strobes he was using.
“This is such a simple concept but it still tells a story—I think those are the hardest to come up with, but I think they’re also the most powerful. The Martin Agency and the creative team really did a great job coming up with the concept for this project,” says Randal.
Randal’s images for the Purina campaign just won in the 2016 Communication Arts Photography Annual. The opening spread of the CA gallery of award-winners includes this quote by one of the judges, Lionel Ferreira; “The creative mix of concept and craft still owns the day.” What a perfect quote to describe The Martin Agency’s simple and stunning concepts and Randal’s gorgeous imagery.
Take a look at the behind the scenes of this amazing shoot.