The TVC we made for Infiniti in April ended up on the world’s biggest, longest LCD screen, in Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower, Riyadh (adorned with lazers…).
The Saudis enjoyed the show, and Infiniti asked us how else we could say “Inspired Performance” in lights.
First, we looked into using stunt-drivers to create a choreographed light-writing illustration, filming from a rigged camera on long exposure. Our colleague Ian found a video for Red Bull, of surfboards rigged with LEDs, choreographed by Light Painter Patrick Rochon and Producer Evan Jones. If we used Infiniti’s own cars, carefully rigged, they could be the tools for an Inspired Performance too.
We did not want to create an ad. We wanted to create a piece of art – original content that used cars in a beautiful, brand new way. And we wanted film as much as photography. The Red Bull tape proved we could have both.
Patrick and Evan were on board from day one, and while Patrick concentrated on how beautiful the cars could look, both still and on the move, Evan set about rigging the cars and putting the tools in motion, as well as gathering a team of some of North America’s most talented videographers, each willing to spend a month living together without fiances and girlfriends, for 16-hour-days in a garage in the sandpit.
We spent eight months making it happen, and three nights filming the results. We sold something that had never been done before to a brave client in a not-so-brave region, laid down how it would translate across all channels, and re-sold it to the global bosses. Everyone went out on a limb, and it was worth it.
Local ad-folks called it ‘as pointless as Top Gear’, said it didn’t “sell the functionality of the car”. That, to me, is the biggest compliment of all. Much of this region’s output is still crippled by ‘Ads’ that must point out exactly their intent – even when it’s something as benign as a product identifying with the moods of ‘Happiness’ or ‘being playful’.
The ad shops and lean-mean-fighting-machines of the UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the USA, New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore have been leaving the big old behemoth agencies wading in their wake for ten years now, creating branded content worth sharing. What protects these big agencies now is their ability to handle giant corporate clients and all the global paperwork that this entails. And in that respect, TBWA gave us a unique opportunity to create excitement with a global brand, but with both this project and ‘Chromatic’, to behave as young guns while we did it.
The Middle East got the hang of stunts three months before Awards Season, but we still enjoy ‘cool content’ – and want more Tiger Translates, Fred Perry Originals, Puma Socials, Perrier Awards, Adidas Originals; more instigation of creativity across the spectrum, that involves, and doesn’t force the USP down our throats.
I’m very proud to have been a part of this project, and the one that’s come after it… Watch this space.