Norman Mews

Norman was the Phil Dusenberry before Phil was Phil. Leo Burnett was an incredibly powerful and profitable agency and virtually controlled the business in California. CHEER was a flagship account and Procter and Gamble did a cost analysis and found they could save a considerable amount of money by using 16mm film, especially since most of their commercials ran on a spot buy on local television stations. The public couldn’t tell the difference and Procter and Gamble made the decision to use that film except for special incidents, elaborate optical effects, etc. Many directors balked at using 16mm but I had extensive experience with 16mm from all the documentaries I had done and was completely comfortable with the medium. Norman decided to use me, although I was relatively new to commercials and we had a strong and gratifying professional relationship for many years. I learned a great deal because the spots contained a lot of intricate dialogue that was extremely well written. Years later, Norman was the head of the judging at the Cannes Film Festival that gave the John Hancock spots the Grand Prix. These spots were completely performance driven and I’m sure Norman had much to do with recognizing this quality. He always wanted the stuff we did together to be short films. Norman retired at a rather young age, and, as with Phil Dusenberry, we’ll not see his like again.