Where were you on September 11, 2001? That’s the question asked in a series of advertisements commissioned by the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation for the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York’s heart.
The 60-second television ‘Were You There’ spot features Marianne Robertson standing in her suburban kitchen; Christine Bates and Peter Greenough in their apartment living room; Andy Sellinger, a hockey player seated in the locker room of an ice rink; Udodi Okoh, a student standing in a classroom; Jack Chung, a train conductor at Grand Central Terminal; Dr. Warren Licht, a doctor in a hospital boardroom; Michelle Winokur, a student in the hall of her elementary school; Anthoula Katsimatides who lost her brother on September 11th, in her bedroom; Kiara Bradley, a bus driver; Gary Robertson, a farmer standing in a field; New York City Fire Department Lt. Mickey Kross who responded on 9/11 and survived the collapse of the World Trade Center, at his former firehouse, Engine 16; and Bill Ludwig in an office building across from the World Trade Center site.
The television campaign, developed pro bono by TBWA\Chiat\Day, was in two parts: “It’s Time”, and “Where Were You When It Happened?”. The team included executive creative director Gerry Graf, creative director Anthony Sperduti, and senior agency producer Nathy Aviram.
Director was Joe Pytka, who was also led filming for the earlier ‘Miracle’ campaign. Editor was Jun Diaz with Mackenzie-Cutler, with colorist Tim Masick at Company 3. The Charlex team included VFX producer Anne Skopas, senior editor John Zawisha and Flame/Smoke artist Joe Wenkoff. Sound mixer was Philip Loeb at Sound Lounge.
So where were you when it happened? I was at my home on the Gold Coast, Australia waking up on Wedneday September 12, to hear the news over the phone from a colleague. New York is 14 hours behind the Eastern coast of Australia. Later that morning I had to take my van into be serviced, as it was leaking petrol. I caught up on much of the unfolding events on the television screen in a second hand dealer’s shop, and talking to others as I travelled by public transport. I returned to the church where I was on staff, and organised a memorial service which was attended by hundreds of stunned people who needed an opportunity to grieve.