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***image1***Ad agency Fogarty Klein Monroe recently commissioned Director/DP Eric Saarinen, ASC of Plum Productions to helm its new “Think Green” ad campaign for Waste Management. The campaign aims to reposition Waste Management and link everyday collection to environmental protection in the minds of consumers.

“From the moment we saw Eric’s reel, we knew he was the ideal director for this job,” said FKM Senior Vice President and Creative Director Suzie Jennings. “Working with him and his talented crew was a pleasure and the results are worthy of our Fortune 120 client, Waste Management.”

In “Trees,” the first of three 30-second commercials in the campaign, highly visual and cinematic shots of a lush hillside forest and its animal inhabitants are juxtaposed against the familiar green Waste Management truck driving on a road. A bird flies alongside the truck, sharing a meaningful and approving glance with the truck driver. A soothing female voiceover informs the public that trees are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also help clean the air of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. As North America’s largest recycler, Waste Management helps preserve natural resources. Last year alone, Waste Management recycled enough paper to save more than 41 million trees.

“We had to visually convey the growing impact of Waste Management’s efforts to recycle and renew environmental resources,” explains Saarinen. “So we wanted sweeping aerial views of untouched forests, an allusion to the 41 million trees saved; breathtaking bird’s-eye views to represent the company’s respect for and connection to nature; and warm, heroic shots of a Waste Management truck driver who is an actual employee.”

The Cascades in Washington provided the picturesque and pristine landscapes that Saarinen and the creative team were looking for. The director and his production team used a diverse range of techniques and technology to execute the spot including a helicopter with a gyro-stabilized Spacecam for the impressive aerial shots in the opening scenes and the Ultimate Arm (robo-arm) for shooting the flying bird, the moving truck driver and the bird’s point of view. A 55-foot techno-crane was used to film the scenes of the bird flying away in the ending scene. Real-time animatics were also used to help plan and organize all of the shots, and try not to overshoot shots that end up “on the cutting room floor.”

For the flying bird scenes, Saarinen chose to use the actual moving background versus a bluescreen. Using the Ultimate Arm, Saarinen and the camera team drove alongside the flying bird to create the illusion that it was flying at 40 mph.

Some compositing was done for the closing scene when the bird flies into a heavenly treescape with soft rays of light shining through the trees. Atmospheric effects were added to accentuate the shafts of light.

Saarinen credits the FKM creative team for their wonderful collaboration. “They were so inspiring and giving in the creative process. We all poured our hearts into it. It was hard work, but we had so much fun working together.”

Since the spot was created for broadcast in HD, special attention was paid to the rendering in post to ensure the highest quality of picture. Saarinen also recognizes his production crew for their A+ talent and technical know-how.

Two other spots for the “Think Green” campaign, also helmed by Saarinen, are slated to break later this fall, and will deliver the messages that Waste Management saves enough energy each year to power more than one million homes, and that its landfills provide 17,000 acres of wildlife habitat, many of which are certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council.

Spot Title/Airdate:

“Think Green: Trees” / September 4, 2006


Waste Management

Ad Agency:

Fogarty Klein Monroe

Sr. VP Creative Director:

Suzie Jennings

Sr. Copywriter:

Dave Steinbach

Sr. Art Director:

Rex Gee

Broadcast Producer:

Laurie Mitchell

VP, Account Director:

Brooke Betts

Management Supervisor:

Rochelle Mintz

Account Supervisor:

Julie Faith

Production Company:

Plum Productions


Eric Saarinen

Executive Producers:

Shelby Sexton / Beth Pearson

Line Producer:

Doron Kauper

Associate Producer:

Sandy Haddad

Production Designer:

Sean Hargreaves

Where Shot:

Washington State

Editing Company:

Nomad Editing


John Murray


Nicole Steele

VFX Company:

Asylum, Santa Monica

Visual VFX Supervisor:

Phil Brennan

Visual VFX Producer:

Cara Farnsworth

Postproduction Company:

Company 3 & Asylum


Mike Pethel @ Company 3

Online Editor/ Sr. Compositor:

Phil Brennan @ Asylum

Music Company:

HUM, Santa Monica

Music Composers:

Adam Aaronson and Clint Roth

Sound Design Company:

Eleven Sound Studios

Sound Designer:

Jeff Payne

Audio Post Company:

Eleven Sound Studios


Jeff Payne

Plum Productions is located at 2202 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

T: 310.450.1942. F: 310.450.9424