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How Hellyers Road Whisky Took the Road Untravelled in New Campaign


Director and chief creative officer Michael Dole talks about the historical significance of the brand’s new campaign and tells the inspiring founding story that sparked it, writes LBB’s Zoe Antonov

How Hellyers Road Whisky Took the Road Untravelled in New Campaign

Globally award winning artisan whisky distillery Hellyers Road has collaborated with creative production company Daughter to launch their latest bold campaign ‘Into the Unknown’.

Founded in 1999, by a group of dairy farmer families from Burnie in Tasmania, Hellyers Road’s brand beliefs are rooted in the restless spirit of the land it was first created on. The name of the whisky takes after a physical Hellyers Road, which once ran right through the middle of where the distillery now sits. As early as 1820, one of the first Europeans to boldly explore and survey the remote North-West Tasmania was cartographer and explorer Henry Hellyer.

International film director Michael Dole from Daughter created ‘Into the Unknown’ based on the extraordinary journey of the founders of Hellyers Road, in parallel with the journey of a man inspired by a modern day Henry Hellyer. The film captures his adventures through raw and untouched nature, as well as his inner never-dying spark and wanderlust.

A unique story about the courage to take the journey into the unknown and beyond, the campaign captures the beauties of North-West Tasmania, while staying true to the Hellyers brand and capturing “the feeling of the people and the harshness of the environment in which they live.”

Director and chief creative officer at Daughter Michael Dole took LBB’s Zoe Antonov behind the scenes of the project’s inspiring story, the significance of the magnificent places the film was shot at.

LBB> What was the brief for this campaign and the initial conversations surrounding it?


Michael> The brief was to tell the story of the unique, inspiring people of the remote North-West Tasmania and founders of the distillery. But most importantly to capture the feeling of these people and the harshness of the environment in which they live.

LBB> Why was this the best approach for Hellyers Road as a brand and how does the film resonate with the identity of the brand?


Michael> We felt Hellyers Road and their story was rare, so wanted to make something unique that aligns to the authenticity of that story.

Hellyers Road was founded in 1997 by a group of dairy farmer families from remote North-West Tasmania, who had never made whisky before. With such a brave bold belief that the wild and remote North-West Tasmania was the perfect environment to create globally award winning whisky. Hellyers Road began unconventionally – and this restless spirit still lives on today, in all we met at the distillery.

The whisky distillery takes its name from the spirit of its location and origins. A physical Hellyers Road once ran right through the middle of where the distillery now sits. A road surveyed in 1820 by one of the first Europeans to boldly explore and survey the rugged, remote North-West Tasmania – surveyor, cartographer and explorer, Henry Hellyer.


LBB> Tell us more about the name of the film - ‘Into the Unknown’ – and its significance?


Michael> The intention of ‘Into the Unknown’ film brings to life the story of Hellyers Road’s pioneering founders through the parallel journey of a man inspired by a modern day ‘Henry Hellyer’. The film follows the journey of his internal and external restlessness and discoveries, amidst the captivatingly raw and remote environment of North-West Tasmania. Aiming to capture the brand’s restless spirit, fearless pursuit, resilience and burning drive to discover more. Its relentless drive to take the road less travelled – into the unknown.

LBB> There are some amazing shots in the film, a lot of nature mixed with surrealism - tell us more about the cinematography and the symbolism woven through the project.


Michael> Thank you. We were privileged enough to shoot in some amazingly remote locations throughout North-West Tasmania. We wanted to capture what Henry (and the founders) felt, not just what they saw. The restlessness, the anti-establishment, the unfamiliar, the obstacles, the realisation & manifestation to see the road less travelled. We were so inspired by the story of both Henry & the founders. We tried to put ourselves into the shoes of the founders. Imagine making something (whisky) and having to wait for 10 years to see if it was any good. The inspiring self-belief the founder had.

LBB> What was the main message for the audiences behind this campaign?


Michael> Inviting our audience to take a journey ‘Into the Unknown’. Hellyers Road is a unique story about the courage to journey into the unknown, of an independent North-West Tasmanian success story.


LBB> Talk us through the choice of music behind the film and how it tied in with the whole vibe.


Michael> We wanted something that was reflective, subconscious, emotive that creates a distance whilst bringing in the audience into his headspace and the world he inhabited.

LBB> What are the main themes throughout the film that tie the story together and are there any easter eggs to look out for?


Michael> I hope the audience feels what Henry and the founders felt. Restlessness, hopelessness, self-belief, an artistic eye to see beyond. Not sure about easter eggs... hope there’s no images of me in any of the reflections! Only that I was swimming with him in that freezing lake and waterfalls.


LBB> What were the most challenging parts of the project? And the most fun?


Michael> By far the remoteness of locations and times of day is where we shot them. Which makes it equally the most challenging thing, but strangely the most fun as well. We shot over six days throughout the beautiful North-West Tasmania and inland. With call times ranging from 1am, 3am, 5am (sleep in!).

Throughout the region we met some wonderful people who are all such an important part of getting the film made. But most importantly, my amazing cast and crew. My crew are just the best. We are so lucky to have such an individual, eccentric, creative group of amazingly talented beings to have as part of our Daughter family. We all have a special bond, and we could not have done any of this without them.

LBB> Any final thoughts?


Michael> Thank you for inviting me to share our process and journey through the making of ‘Into the unknown’.

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LBB Editorial, Fri, 08 Apr 2022 12:52:49 GMT