One Hell of An Eye
The Official Blog of Mike Salisbury
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House of Dancing Waters teaser billboard; creative direction, Mike Salisbury; designer, Lorraine Devon Wilke; photographer, Tomasz Rossa; copy, Jerry Kramer

“What, of all the things you’ve created, is your favorite?” said the caterpillar, puffing the words out between drags on his hookah.

I am always asked this after speaking to groups, teaching, starting jobs; meeting people. My usual response is: not any one thing (other than my kids who I co-created). Not an ad, a brand creation, TV commercial, magazine art direction, photography, or piece of writing

But there are a few things that stand out as favorites. Most are on my website at

But still, I can pick out and document the making of some of those that, after thinking about it, I’d say I do like best.

Here are more than one of those in a single job: The complete print and TV marketing campaigns for The House of Dancing Waters, a Franco Dragone (Cirque du Soleil creator) production in Macau.

Late this summer I drove to Las Vegas with ultra-talented motorcycle industry phenom, Brad Bannister, to see an indoor race and meet with Jerry Kramer, my ex-partner with whom I rebranded the MGM Grand and marketed a Howie Mandel tour, among other things.

We met, we talked, wheels were set in motion. I left on a jet plane for L.A., packed my bags, and then back to LAX from Venice Beach. Oh, big ol’ jet airliner, don’t carry me too far away.

The jet airliner apparently didn’t hear my song and 18 hours later I was on the island of  Macau in the inscrutable South China Sea of Terry and the Pirates, meeting Franco, his director of marketing, Robert Juarez; Sunny Yu and Kevin Low of City of Dreams, the location for the show; their photographer, Tomasz Rossa, John Rackza, my connection, and producer-director Craig Leeson.

In the week I was in Macau, watching and learning the show, meeting and breakfasting on the choice of champions — dim sum — and dealing with typhoons and tropical heat, we created the TV commercials.  This is one built from my idea to open like Francis Coppola did in Apocalypse Now, emulating the sequence of Martin Sheen slowly emerging from the swamp up river in Vietnam. But we reversed the order.

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(click image to play)

Everything was shot live with water and its friend — electricity. Using an enormously huge high-speed underwater camera boated to the location from Hong Kong, as well as the ever-useful Red camera, Craig Leeson shot some indelible images that captured the excitement and motion we were looking for.

Then as quick as I was there, it was back on the big ol’jet airliner, eating, drinking, sleeping like the speeded-up Dennis Farina in Guy Ritchie’s wonderful movie, Snatch. Off the plane at the same jacked-up pace to Venice to create the print advertising concepts with Tim Pedersen and Lorraine Devon Wilke, with the help of Jerry Kramer, in three days.

Yep, these creations of ours are a few of my favorite things.

House of Dancing Waters final print ad; creative direction, Mike Salisbury; designer, Tim Pedersen; photographer, Tomasz Rossa; copy, Jerry Kramer


Killer shot. Keep up the good work. Genaro

VERY cool. Thanks. Bruce T.

Cool! Obrigado amigo. Abracos do Brasil. Demian

Hiya Mike. This is just gorgeous! But not like I am the least bit surprised + that is pretty much what we have all come to expect from you. You were doing beautiful stuff 35 years ago when I was in your class. And while so many things have changed since then, some things never do. Keep up the cool work! Best, Pete

Yea, classic, big cranes, big cameras eat up the time…Greg M.

After shipping in a crane, the big camera and crew there was about a half-day to shoot and be on the air before I left. And we were burning up Franco’s last-minute run throughs! MS

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14 Responses to “A Few of Mike Salisbury’s Favorite Things, Part 1”