Every ad has a story behind its creation, and Kayak CTO and co-founder Paul English revealed a particularly funny one at Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored event in New York this week.It’s about the popular “Frank” ad that aired last year (in which Frank is banned from Kayak for life after giving the website’s founder wedgies in high school) and it all began with Gerry Graf, the creative director whose agency has been responsible for Kayak’s commercials since 2010.
Graf, who went to Lexington High School in Massachusetts in the 1980s, remembered a guy named Frank Reardon who “was a bit of a bully in high school,” said English.
So Graf called him up. He told him that he does advertising now and was writing a sketch, then asked if he could use Reardon’s name. Reardon thought it was funny, and so he signed a release (so that they wouldn’t have to pay him.)
The character was modelled after a prom picture from Reardon’s personal Facebook page (click here to see the page, which English assured Kayak didn’t create.)
Graf went to a casting agency, and tasked it with finding someone who looks exactly like Reardon. They somehow managed to find his doppelganger and the “Frank” ad was born.
According to the blog Gorilla Dunk Daily, the author of which was friends with Frank’s brother Lynx, Frank’s bullying might have been featured on Saturday Night Live as well.
“Frank Reardon was big and burly and actually attended my alma mata Curry College were he was a four year starter on the football team, and I’m pretty sure made at least a handful of kids eat lightbulbs on the peer pressure tip. When another lexington high graduate legend, Rachel Dratch made it big on Saturday Night Live, Frank was convinced the bully, drunk character was based off of him in her famous Boston prom skits.”
Apparently Reardon is now a bartender in Boston who thinks “a lot more hookups happen behind the bar than over the bar“—he met his wife when they were working together; she was his boss—and is famous for making drinks named after celebrities.
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