Why T. Rowe Price Enlisted Acrobats for Its New High-Flying Ads

Aerial ballet from The VIA Agency

Nothing says investment management like a bunch of acrobats flying through the air with the greatest of ease. Right?

Judge for yourselves from the circus atmosphere in the spot below, created for T. Rowe Price by The VIA Agency. You’ll see some impressive moves, the conceit being that careful adjustments drive the aerial ballet, much as the client’s nuanced solutions can help your nest egg grow:

VIA attempted to “go beyond the tired category clichés of long roads and future dreams,” agency CEO Leeann Leahy tells AdFreak. “Instead, we needed a creative answer that highlighted T. Rowe Price’s unique approach to retirement products.”

Ultimate, she says, “the idea was born to show the beauty, nuance, thoughtfulness and precision of active management in the same way we might look at a dance performance or an acrobatic troupe.”

Casting the performers involved a global search.

“There really aren’t that many troupes doing these kinds of performances,” says VIA group creative director Mike Daitch. “We ended up with acrobats from Russia, London, Scotland, Sweden and Vegas.”

He adds, “All the performances were captured in camera. We also mounted the camera on a car so that we could keep moving with the acrobats. In post, we did add animation into the shots to highlight the small movements and really bring viewers’ eyes to the details we wanted them to see.”

Location filming in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland, enhanced the visual palette in unexpected ways. Note the contrast between the high-flying teeter-totter routine set against the industrial landscape. Such scenes might be just novel enough to draw viewers’ attention and, perhaps, entice them into giving T. Rowe Price a tumble.

“We were particularly relieved at the end of shooting—no injuries!” Daitch says. “To commemorate the week, we decided to capture a team jump in super-slo-mo. We got in place, counted down, and jumped as high as we could. And so much for the injury-free record—one of us landed funny and sprained a knee.”

Sometimes it’s best to leave the acrobatics, and the investment decisions, to the pros.

Client: T. Rowe Price
Heather Dzielak: Head of US Intermediary Product and Marketing
Mark Sobolak: Head of US Intermediary Integrated Marketing
Robert Ihle: Sr Manager, US Intermediary Marketing
Heather Buchanan: Lead Manager, US Intermediary Marketing
Carole Smith: Sr Manager Advertising

The VIA Agency
Chief Creative Officer: Greg Smith
Executive Creative Director: Teddy Stoecklein
Group Creative Director: Mike Daitch
Associate Creative Director: Chris Cote
Associate Creative Director: Lauren Croteau
Senior Copywriter: Judi Cutrone
Copywriter: Jessica Fidalgo
Art Director: Matt Scheumann
Art Director: Morgan Gelfand
Group Strategy Director: Julia Brady
Client Strategist: Moya Fry
Chief Strategy Officer: David Burfeind
Group Planning Director: Scott Macleod
Project Lead: Lawson Condrey
Producer: Barry Wolford
Associate Producer: Alexa King
Studio Manager: Duane Holmblad
Studio Designer: Jenn Arredondo

Production Company: Cut Media
Director: Stu Thompson
Producer: Katie Wright
Director of Photography: Scott Marshall
Photographer: Rutger Pauw
Phantom Op: Ross Pimlott

Post Production: Vacationland Productions
Editor: Sam Peisner
Post Producer: Amanda Gray

Eugene Butcher
Pip Elysium
Hauk Pattinson
Kate McWilliam
Craig Dagostino
Edd Muir
Aaron Hakala
Lukas Ivanow
Carole Demers
Andrei Saladonau
Anatolie Sandu

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@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.