My Father: TV Star aka “It’s okay to stay”

Jan
2013
30

posted by on Excursions, Family, Life

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(Just a FYI-I didn’t think I was going to write about this so I didn’t take my camera. The photos below are cell phone shots.)


(this is the longer version, no that isn’t our house)

Last summer my father received an inquiry from the local hospital. He had heart surgery there about 10 years ago. They were shooting a commercial and wanted him to come in for a casting call. My father stays active doing activities like the Senior Games and the Polar Bear Plunge, when possible, so he talked up those points. If I recall correctly he had one callback before they decided to include him in the commercial.

my dad the day of the shoot, in what I refer to as his Charlie Sheen shirt

my dad the day of the shoot, in what I refer to as his Charlie Sheen shirt

In July the commercial was shot. My father isn’t proficient at texting so he made short calls all day to give me the scoop. He told me how there was a group of heart patients so he didn’t know if they would do a medley commercial or just choose one or two people later. I told him that I thought it would be everyone (I didn’t know but wanted to keep his hopes up). The funniest calls were wardrobe related and would be a short call without explanation until later. “Gotta go, she just told me to take off my pants“. They let him keep the wardrobe, BTW, neat.

After the commercial he received some consent forms but we had no idea when the commercial was going to actually come out. In December he received a letter inviting him to the world premiere of the commercial at the local hospital. He asked if I could accompany him and they said yes. I was surprised as often they do not allow guests to activities that he does (I guess that’s just a specification of the local senior center, blarggh).

my dad’s ad

my dad with his ad

On the morning of January 3, 2013 we arrived at the hospital. In a small room up front they had a projector screen set up plus some ad mock ups. We hadn’t expected those and they were very neat. During the presentation someone from the production company showed the commercials a few times after explaining everything. There are two TV ads, one short and one long, so they can be played during different commercial breaks. I’m sure you’ve noticed commercials that have been cut down to fit a smaller ad space. This is the same thing. My dad made it into both cuts! Score, not everyone did. We were informed that they wouldn’t be played on local stations but cable ones. We don’t have cable but a few people have seen my father on TV and mentioned it. I remember hearing TNT, TBS and FOX (I’m guessing one of the upper Fox channels).

The print ads would be appearing on billboards and in the newspaper. To date my father’s ad hasn’t shown up yet but so far we’ve only seen two, which feature the eye catching color red, which makes sense. Keep an eye out in the future though if you live in Southwest PA.

The catchphrase for the ads is “It’s okay to stay”. What this means is that our local hospital is equipped for many heart emergencies (though not all) and if possible you should probably go right there instead of being trekked to Pittsburgh. They did save my father’s life so this is totally accurate.

Prior to the showing the other patients shared their health war stories and MD recommendations. I was asked a few times if I was in the commercial. That worried me a bit since I’m in my late 20s. I mean I know that Americans aren’t the healthiest but that seems young. Later I did notice that one the participants looked to be healthy and in his 40s (a guess) and I know that it can really happen to anyone, so not that odd, I suppose.

Cheryl with the billboard version of her ad

A pretty, petite woman sat to my right. Cheryl was very nice and told me about shooting the ad. She was referred to as “the dancer” by other patients and the production company dude, as she dances in the ad (and as a hobby IRL). I told her that I loved the dress that she wore in the commercial. She said that it was even better looking in person. She was very nice and surprisingly self deprecating. She had a great attitude for someone who had been going through this heart procedure rigamore since 1999. I’m happy to see one of the print ads/billboards that is getting a lot of exposure is hers.

All of the patients in the ad attended, the cardio nurses and even most of their doctors stopped by to check it out. There was even a bit of gossip about someone who hadn’t made the cut. (My guess is that it was either time related or she changed her mind and didn’t sign a consent form). They also had some refreshments, a table with bottled water, coffee and some type of pastries (it’s been a while and my memory isn’t the best). However I do remember thinking while this was nice and I did get both of us bottled water, that the pastries must be a test. I mean who is going to sit their eating one during a heart presentation? The answer? No one. I didn’t see one person pick up a pastry. (It could have conceivably happened later but not while I was there.) Hey, it’s like craft services on a Hollywood movie, they’re not supposed to eat the food.

It was a short presentation but fun and interesting to learn a bit of behind the scenes info on commercials.

Info on the Cardiac unit of the Uniontown Hospital an be found here on the hospital’s official site.
These ads were produced by Big Picture Communications Inc. of Pittsburgh.
The music is by Big Science Music, who also uploaded the above longer version of the commercial to YouTube. (awesome!)

I am not making a claim to doing any of this work. These were obviously made by the above entities. (This is called covering my ass, just in case, LOL.)

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