AMV BBDO & Gorgeous discuss timeless spot
If good things come to those who wait, the ‘Made of More’ campaign from Guinness has not disappointed with its second offering. ‘The Clock’, just like previous spot ‘Cloud’, features an apparent inanimate object striving to make the world a better place, never settling for normal and always attempting ‘more’. Addison Capper spoke to AMV BBDO creative partners, Adrian Rossi and Alex Grieve, and Gorgeous producer, Ciska Faulkner, to find out more about the spot that took an entire year to develop.
AMV BBDO’s Adrian Rossi & Alex Grieve
LBB> What was the initial brief from the client and what were your immediate thoughts?
AR & AG> The client brief was to develop work that demonstrates the Guinness attitude of never settling for the ordinary, which is at the heart of the ‘Made of More’ positioning. We wanted to build on the ‘Cloud’ film that launched Made of More, but to tell the story in a slightly different way. Guinness ads are always true to the brand’s DNA but people also expect work that is, like Guinness itself, unique and distinctive.
LBB> From an art direction point of view, why was the black and white, almost sepia look the right day to go for this spot?
AR & AG> As we were creating a period piece we did not want to distract people by using colour. What we intended is a modern interpretation of black and white. Some of this inspiration came from the White Ribbon which does this brilliantly. With The Mill we looked to create a modern, crisper feel rather than a look of an old silent movie.
LBB> The spot has a real sense of beauty and elegance about it, something we also saw in the 'Made of More' campaign's previous spot 'Cloud'. What does this say about Guinness as a brand and how is it evolving?
AR & AG> In celebrating the attitude of never settling for ordinary we’re hoping not only to reflect a truth about Guinness but also to celebrate an attitude that Guinness drinkers will relate to today. So, in that sense yes, the Guinness brand is evolving and the style of the new films is in keeping with that. We wanted the new films to feel beautifully crafted.
LBB> Why was director Peter Thwaites the right man for the job and what did he bring to the final production?
AR & AG> Peter was someone we worked well with on Cloud and has a great understanding of the Guinness brand. Also, he is a magician in creating amazing looking film; which is what we wanted here where the look is so important to the overall feel.
LBB> For what reason was it chosen to set 'Clock' in Eastern European 1890s?
AR & AG> The time and setting of The Clock was based on attempting to create something fable-like and like The Clock – timeless. We gave it a bulls eye of 1890 but it could easily have been half a century earlier or later. Likewise with the location it is not meant to be precise. We never set out to create a historical documentary, rather something more magical that hopefully touches a more emotional nerve.
LBB> How long did it take to fully develop this spot and what were the key challenges you faced?
AR & AG> Unlike The Clock we could not speed up the process. It took about a year from concept to the finished film. It was a year in which we spent a lot of time finding the right tone and feel. Our main consideration was to not have a show-off piece of obviously post produced film. We found a lot of inspiration in early cinema and therefore kept all the effects in camera.
LBB> What can we expect in the future from Guinness?
AR & AG> We have only just begun the journey in terms of building and cementing the new brand positioning. We think ‘Made of More’ is a great opportunity to build an affinity with our drinkers and a great opportunity to create some really memorable and inspiring advertising and we’ll be continuing this journey through-out 2013 and beyond.
Gorgeous’ Ciska Faulkner
LBB> What was the initial brief from the agency and what were your initial thoughts?
CF> How do we ensure we can make the clock feel sentient and emotional and altruistic?
LBB> What factors appealed to you?
CF> The challenge to make an inanimate object come alive and feel like a member of a community, playing with the concept of time and telling three stories in 60 seconds comprehensively. Shooting a historical or period piece is always a lot of fun. The production process is always very creative and informative.
LBB> What was the pre-production process like?
CF> The search for the location was very extensive. We researched Poland, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania and of course Czech Republic. The search for costumes, especially for the Army itself, was done over many weeks all over Europe as well.
LBB> The film is set in Eastern Europe in the 1890s - can you explain why?
CF> The deliberation over where we should land historically was initially often under review but fairly quickly it was agreed that as long as it was essentially European, pre 1900, we would let the best location drive the finer details in the end. The film would not have to be absolutely historically precise as long as we could tell the story and overall retain a storybook or fable like quality to the film. This would serve to focus the story more on the clock and it's awakening to its ability to play with time and affect the townsfolk's lives, for the better.
LBB> What was the shoot like as a whole? Where did it take place?
CF> We shot in Prague and Southern Bohemia. Our location in Ceske Krumlov, bordering Austria, was as far south as we could get from Prague, so logistics and unit management had to be well organised. Taking over the entire square of the town for prep, shooting and wrap days was not an easy task. Ceske Krumlov is a popular tourist destination – visited in particular by large groups of Austrians, Bavarians, Czech's and especially Japanese. It is Japan's second most popular tourist destination in the world. So it made for some surreal moments.
LBB> The sped up work of the cobbler and the slow motion reunion of the soldiers have a sense of elegance about them - how did you go about capturing that and what do you think it says about Guinness as a brand?
CF> The Czech film industry has a history of being exceptionally creative in the art of film making using in-camera techniques, especially in animation. The director was convinced this approach would bring out an honest charismatic charm and warmth to the work, We sourced a local animator and worked closely with him on the boards for the cobbler scene. After a number of tests we decided on the animations we thought had most character and storybook like qualities too. The slow motion reunion shots were, like the animation, all finally done in camera, avoiding motion control or specialised rigs or geared heads. The idea was to get a frozen moment with an organic and natural feel to it and avoid anything that might look too technique-y and effects-y and therefore cold and removed.