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LA Gear_Step into The Lights.jpgGertrude Inc./Chicago has just completed what is indeed a flashy new commercial for a line of flashy L.A. Gear sneakers with flashing lights embedded in their heels, collectively known as the L.A. Lights Collection. The TV spot features the flashy movements of four young members of the Borjas family, a.k.a. the Chi-Town Finest Breakers, who do a fine job of showing off the shoes and their own deft dance moves.

The four dancing stars are Lucio, Alazaie, Santos and Enrique Borjas.
Gertrude Inc. also brought on board an extended team of talented individuals and firms to create the spot called "Step into the Lights." They include director Jay Patton of Dictionary Films, copywriter Peter Toutant, motion designer and editor Chris Anderson of Sol Design, editor Christopher Gotschall of Cutters Editorial, and music composer Mark Share of Easyfeel. Overseeing all aspects of the effort was Gertrude chief creative officer Otis D. Gibson.

"Step into the Lights" is being released to coincide with the ramp-up to the all-important holiday selling season. L.A. Gear was originally founded in 1979 to market and rent roller skates in Venice Beach, Calif. It expanded into footwear in the mid-1980's and was re-introduced to the marketplace in December, 2008.

Otis D.Gibson.jpgPortfolio Night has become an annual event that happens on the same day (this year it's June 11) at ad agencies in 22 countries around the world and that allows young men and women about to graduate, or just graduated from, college to present their work and get constructive feedback from working advertising creatives. Given the current trying state of the ad industry, this may not be the most upbeat of nights. But who knows.
Portfolio Night this year in Chicago is being orchestrated by Gertrude Inc., a boutique shop that has a low, but hip profile. At least the agency's flashy Web site certainly suggests the shop is striving for hipness. DDB/Chicago, whose local profile isn't what it once was, had run the Portfolio event in Chicago in years past.

Gertrude founder and Chief Creative Officer Otis D. Gibson (not to be confused with the cricket player) told us he was happy to take over the event from DDB because he's always been a big supporter of young advertising talent in this city and likes to hire young recruits at his agency as often as he can. "I see lots of young talent with great ideas, but they need to learn how to implement," said Gibson.
Gibson has reserved Chicago's Relax Lounge for the Portfolio evening and commissioned Dale Levitski of "Top Chef" fame to prepare what are being characterized as "small bites" for the occasion.

Since Gertrude is relatively small, the shop has reached out to creatives from other local agencies to interact with students at Portfolio Night. That list of participating professionals includes some familiar names, including Steffan Postaer, the famously quirky chief creative officer at Euro RSCG/Chicago, and Vinny Warren, the cheekily comedic creative director and founder of the Escape Pod/Chicago. Several creatives from Leo Burnett/Chicago also are on the list, as are Jim Schmidt and Joe Stewart from Downtown Partners and Paul Brourman from Sponge.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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