August 2007


To promote the Alliance Theatre's production of Cuttin' Up, a play about the culture of the African-American barber shop, we created a guerilla campaign based on a classic icon that figures prominently in the play - the afro pick. We hired Atomic Props to produce a series of five-foot-tall afro picks and then we set them in large shrubs and bushes around the city.

Our goal was to generate buzz and ticket sales, and we got both – five stories on the local news, and a 60% increase in ticket sales.


Cuttin' Up
A play about barber shops.

Advertising Agency: BBDO Atlanta, USA
Art Director: Marco Howell
Creative Director: Kyle Lewis
Producers: Patrick Hudson, Kelly Harden
Production Company: Atomic Props
Writer: Phil Gable
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Billy Hill's picture

What's worse than an ad with an afro? A whole fucking play dedicated to the hairstyle.

C'mon, am I the only person sick of this shtick?

Billy Hill
proverbialthought's picture

For some the afro was a "cool" trend; for others it's just one of the types of hairstyles that they can wear. So, it may have gone out of style for some; it is always in play for others. Kind of like grundge music and neo soul. May have gone out of style in a mass media scale, but the purists still get down to it regardless of media attention.

As for a play about the afro... It was probably written by people who do not and cannot wear an afro so I will guess that it is sooooooooooo lame.

Culture In Ads:

Activity Score 278
Graphic Designer |


Phil Gable's picture

It was written by Craig Marberry.

Phil Gable
Activity Score 4
Copywriter at BBDO
Guest's picture

Hey go suck yourself. I'm sure the whole thing is not only about getting an afro.

It also has to do with the times and events that occurred while the hairstyle was in.

klaussnow's picture

I haven't seen afros done, I think this is cute, translation gets lost about a theatrical play, but thats only because I don't read anything, actually, I should just 'fess up...I can't read...

Activity Score 1645
Art Director |

... its already been done...

nycCreative's picture

i agree, seen this approach done so many every media possible...

Activity Score 98
Art Director at freelance
fersvax's picture

Can anyone see what I see??? This is fake, just compare the pixel in the VW and the pixels over the red thing (dunno how to say it) and the difference is huge.

Activity Score 1239
Art Director |


Bye's picture

I see what you see.

Activity Score 1464
Jean_BR's picture

i see it also

Activity Score 48

// Advertising is beautiful

ODoyle's picture

I see dead people.

Activity Score 260
Art Director
Jet Propulsion Lab's picture

You just made me spill my fuckin' coffee.
You owe me $2.50 and another $10.00 for the dry cleaner...

Jet Propulsion Lab
Activity Score 10679
bknowlden's picture

Just because the comp was "comped" doesn't necessarily mean the whole thing was faked...

Activity Score 3647
Art Director |


Phil Gable's picture

We did actually produce this piece. We took this photo at Clark Atlanta University. We touched up the lighting in the photo because we wanted it to look crisp and clean when we sent it out for shows, but it's not a fake piece – that pick was actually in that bush. It might look weird also because the pick is only about half an inch thick, so I can see you might question it, but it was a real thing. I actually have the last remaining pick and the shipping crate they came in sitting just a few feet away from me as I type this. I can send you more pictures if you're still skeptical.

Phil Gable
Activity Score 4
Copywriter at BBDO
Guest's picture

that's hilarious banter.
wow. haters.
too bad they never saw the ATL news coverage of this "fake" event.


laserbeak's picture

It's just too bad it hasn't actually been executed. Photoshopping an ambient idea doesn't cut it. That said, it's a great idea despite what the usual chorus of frustrated creatives/haters on this site have to say.

To criticize is easy. To realize takes hard work.

Activity Score 101
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