The evolution of Ted Raimi from actor to mad man ad man


When Ted Raimi told me that he was spilling the beans on his Shemp’s Beer campaign for STARZ, I was immediately all in! Courtesy of the man himself here is a look inside the creation of the Season 3 hot 80s promo featuring Bruce Campbell, Dana DeLorenzo and Gwendoline Taylor.

“Goi hahd or goi hoim!” (Go hard or go home)

Reporting for Duty

Everyone who is familiar with the Evil Dead universe knows Ted Raimi. As a kid, he appeared in his brother’s Super 8 shorts alongside “Michigan Mafia” members, Bruce Campbell, Rob Tapert and Scott Spiegel. At 21, he was playing the crazy Deadite, Henrietta who delighted in wanting to swallow Ash Williams’ soul.

Segue to 2016 and the second season of the STARZ series, Ash vs Evil Dead. This time, Ted was playing Ash’s best friend, Chet Kaminski. In addition, he was also reprising his role as Henrietta.

As if his plate weren’t full enough already, he was also putting in time doing multiple voices for the Netflix series, Buddy Thunderstruck. Always on the lookout for challenging opportunities, Ted heard that STARZ wanted to create a unique ad campaign for season 2 of the show.

Intrigued and wanting to make the jump into directing, Ted pitched STARZ his idea for ads. They liked what they saw and Ted was ready to add the title of commercial director to his already impressive resume.

So, It Begins

Originally, STARZ had a concept that the marketing campaign would mirror the episodes of the show and in fact, would function as mini-shows. However, once Ted began to write the spots it became readily apparent that this approach was going to be extremely costly. So, back to the drawing board.

For Ted, this would be an exhausting but worthwhile process. By day, he was an intrepid actor on two shows. By night and on his days off, he became an ad man. Creating innovative copy utilizing the cast of Ash and the spirit of the show took up most of his downtime.

Assisting him in this adventure would be staff writer, Suzanne Keilly who was one of the scribes responsible for the terrific Ashy Slashy episode, production coordinator and 1st AD, Amand Weaver who according to Ted was his stand-in and double on Xena: Warrior Princess, production assistant, Daisy Lawless (Lucy’s daughter) and DP Clint Rarm.

Check out Ted’s first effort as a promo director, the STARZ short segment, Beep, Beep.

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Next up, the show runner at the time, Craig DiGregorio had a terrific idea of using Ray Santiago as Pablo and doing an MTV Cribs type spot where Pablito takes you inside Ash’s Airstream trailer where the “magic” happens.

More fun spots followed featuring Lucy Lawless as a diva (which couldn’t be farther from the truth) and Michelle Hurd getting Zen. Even Ted had some screen time running around the production office doing crazy stuff.

One of the wildest promos was courtesy of Dana DeLorenzo. The premise is that she wants to help the production cut costs so she pitches the season finale where she plays all the roles to Cam Welsh (AVED head writer).

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The Invention of Shemp’s Beer

Anyone who is a fan of Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi and Sam Raimi know the importance of the Three Stooges. One Stooge in particular has captivated them for years, Shemp Howard. So much so that they coined a term, “Fake Shemp.”

Well, Bruce brought that love to Ash vs Evil Dead when he suggested that Elk Grove have its own local brand of beer. Thus, that is how Shemp’s was created and what a genius idea it was!

Planning the next STARZ spot came to Ted while he was drinking of all things, a brewski. Thinking about the AVED storyline which involved time travel, Raimi started to recall those sexy, slightly smarmy Michelob ads from his formative years in the 80s.

After that, the concept for the Season 3 hit promo was born. STARZ loved it and gave Ted the green light. The commercial took two days to shoot with Bruce Campbell, Dana DeLorenzo and Gwendoline Taylor.

In Denver, the team of editor Thomas Fugelsang and producer Stacey Libbrecht shepherded the ad to its conclusion. The end result is sheer perfection as Campbell, DeLorenzo and Taylor nail the smoldering smoothness of Ted Raimi’s after dark Shemp’s ad.

You can check out more of Ted’s work in the Best Bruce Campbell Ash vs Evil Dead Promos article.  The series returns on February 25 on STARZ at 9 p.m.

Next: Ash Wednesday: Best Bruce Campbell Ash vs Evil Dead promos

Did you know Ted Raimi directed the Shemp’s Beer commercials? What do you think of them? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below. We want to hear from you!