Along with the rest of America, as the five former living presidents individually watched Hurricane Harvey pound the Texas Gulf Coast and the approaching Hurricane Irma, they decided that they must answer the call and collectively do something to help — immediately.
“When five former presidents need help for such a noble cause the only answer is ‘Yes,’” said Roy Spence, co-founder of GSD&M and The Purpose Institute. “In times of disaster and devastation, it is our duty and our purpose as marketers to answer the call.”
Working closely with Bush 41 spokesman Jim McGrath in Houston, who was coordinating with the offices of the former presidents, Spence collaborated with his business partner Judy Trabulsi and together they contacted his daughter Courtney Spence in San Francisco to prepare for five video shoots, in five different locations across the country, within 72 hours.
“When the call came to produce the five former presidents PSAs for Harvey and Irma, we became one team in one day,” said Trabulsi. “And it is so inspiring to see the creative community both here in Austin and around the country answer the call.”
After receiving approval from the offices of the former presidents, Courtney Spence and the CSpence Group led an all-volunteer creative effort to ensure that the PSAs with five former presidents could immediately help inspire and activate a nation ready to help.
“The call to collaborate with the five former American presidents who were concerned came on Saturday night of Labor Day weekend,” said Courtney Spence, co-founder and CEO of CSpence Group. “And there was no question we would do whatever it took to answer the call. As a proud native Texan, I was reeling from this disaster and I knew it was our honor and duty to make some kind of difference.”
Production partner Humble mobilized teams across the country in Maine, Georgia, California and Washington, D.C., to record the former presidents in their homes, libraries and offices. Led by director Gerard de Thame, executive producer Mark Kovacs and producer Fabyan Daw, production was executed in just 48 hours. Cut+Run’s Frank Effron edited the PSA in one day.
“Putting together five filming shoots in 48 hours was no easy task, but it was an effort we’re honored to be part of,” said Humble president and founder Eric Berkowitz.
Mike Blair/Whole Life Films and Rocky Powell/Rock House Films filmed President George W. Bush in Dallas, Texas.
“Rocky and I have been creative partners with Roy Spence and Judy Trabulsi for many decades,” said Mike Blair. “When they call to help others with PSA productions, it is our passion and honor to answer the call.”