ATLANTA – Doritos’ Goat 4 Sale spot relies heavily on creative sound design. Directed by Ben Callner, the :30, which debuted during the Super Bowl, uses authenticity, tension and humor to hold the audience’s attention. In it, a man is shown with a sign, offering a “Goat 4 Sale.” Another man looks at the cute brown animal and makes the purchase, unaware of what he’s getting himself into.
This goat likes to eat — Doritos! Not a problem — his new owner’s cupboard is loaded with bags of Nacho Cheese flavored chips. But as the day wears on, it becomes clear that this goat’s appetite is never ending, and in an attempt to distance himself from the problem, the owner moves the stash and begins work on his own “Goat 4 Sale” sign. The cute goat catches on to the plan and the spot ends leaving the audience wondering of potential violence.
L-R: Ben Holst and Jeremy Gilbertson
Callner tapped longtime the Tunewelder Music Group (www.tunewelders.com) to come up with the soundtrack. Music/audio post supervisor Ben Holst worked closely with Callner to hone the spot through sound design, editing, Foley, voiceover, mixing and mastering.
"Ben Holst and Tunewelders put the project first," remarks Callner. "Other than being just really down-to-earth, excellent people, they go above and beyond to make sure that you're not only happy, but that everyone — including them — is proud of the final product. In something like the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest, I wouldn't think of going anywhere else. I know they're going to make whatever I give them, in whatever condition, sound absolutely fantastic."
"Ben has a way of theatrically pushing the envelope and making the absurd believable and not too cartoony," adds Holst, who has collaborated with Callner on numerous film, commercial and interactive projects since the two first met on set during a film production in Atlanta in 2007. "A big part of that comes from his care for detail across the production, and with his deep musical background, that certainly extends to sound and creative where he's very hands-on. Even inside all the tedious work of syncing goat crunches, which fly by you in a matter of milliseconds, there's always an element of fun and general silliness working with him."
Capturing sounds unique to Callner's story required more than the SFX package and pre-cleared music that Doritos made available to all of its contestants. Location sound recordist Greg Linton provided a library of real goat crunches. The tedious process of syncing the crunch sounds with the goat's chewing gestures needed to demonstrate both believability and comedic timing.
For the comedic payoff, when the goat screams, the challenge was finding the best voiceover performance and then realistically syncing it. The solution involved Callner's childhood friend Keith Bahun and an iPhone.
"Goats actually have a distinct scream, so mimicking it with the human mouth was tough to cheat," Holst recalls. "We explored it all the way to the final delivery because it was so crucial to the punch line. A bunch of us had recorded some takes, but Ben still wasn't sold. Keith was known for this great scream, but he was all the way in Savannah, GA. I said, ‘iPhones make great recordings, just have him do a lot of takes and make sure he stands far enough away from the phone so it's similar in distance to the goat in the shot.' We managed to pull it off last-minute and it came out perfect."