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The Totes, Cray-Cray Adorbs Behind-the-Scenes with Sprint

We're the first to admit, not everything typed (er, tapped) onto our mobile devices is the stuff of Shakespearean plays. But Sprint, with a little help from Leo Burnett Chicago and DigitasLBi, has been on a mission to change that very perception. The "Everything's Important" campaign features a tuxedo-clad James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell grandly reciting banal mobile exchanges and, if no reason beyond wanting to hear Darth Vader say the words "Totes McGotes" again, we decided to give fans of the campaign a backstage pass.

To learn a little bit more about how our creatives got from the brief to the soundstage, we sat down with Ryan Wolin and Nuno Ferreira to chat inspiration, gummy worms and the real height of James Earl Jones.

Where did this idea come from?

Nuno: We looked at the category’s advertising landscape and realized there’s no humanity in any of the work. Everyone’s shouting out data speeds and price points and coverage maps. And really, they’re just talking to themselves. We wanted Sprint to be the brand that really gets people.

Ryan: I hate when brands portray the loftiest possible use of their product. “We don’t just make power steering fluid, we make power steering fluid so you can drive your wife to the hospital and deliver your baby girl.” No. You make power steering fluid so I can swerve onto the exit ramp cause I thought I saw a Wendy’s. So with this campaign, we wanted to celebrate the mundane uses of cell phones. Because those are the real things people can relate to.

Ryan, we heard that you used a good amount of personal experience to inspire the writing – is that true?

Ryan: Oh yeah. If you watch enough of these spots, you can pretty much piece together a week in my life. One spot is about a guy ordering a pizza, but they wont deliver unless his order reaches a certain price. So he just keeps adding Diet Cokes until he gets to the delivery threshold. The director told me he didn’t want to shoot it because he didn’t think it was realistic. I’m like “Really? I go through this every Sunday night."

Nuno: We learned a lot about Ryan from this campaign, particularly his view toward relationships. Every spot featuring two people in a relationship ends with one of them unhappy.

Ryan: What can I say? The campaign’s realistic.

Tell us what is was like to have these world famous actors recite your copy.

Nuno: Going into the shoot, we’d always imagined these words being spoken in a certain way. So it was strange to hear them performed in a different voice. Strange, but in a very good way. They took it to a whole other level.

Ryan: It was great. Half of the concepting process was just thinking up words we wanted to hear James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell say. It was “I want to hear James say ‘gummy worms,’ let’s make a spot out of it."

Nuno: I want to hear Malcolm say ‘cray-cray amazeballs,’ let’s write a spot.

We have the behind-the-scenes here. Any other on-set stories you'd like to share?

Ryan: Probably when we first showed up. Because we got on set to meet James, and he was only like 4’11’’. No, I’m kidding. After James and Malcolm did the very first take of the very first script, the entire crew burst into applause. That was really cool.

Finally, Mufasa or Darth Vader?

Nuno: Love both, but I’m a Terrence Mann man.

Ryan: That's like choosing between the Stones and the Beatles.

Nuno: You hate the Beatles.

Ryan: Mufasa.