Wed, 16 Feb 2022 17:10:00 GMT
Working directly with Pepsi’s marketing team as well as Barry Rosen’s Direct Focus production company, Radical Media helped produce the Pepsi Halftime Show promo film ‘The Call’, which built anticipation leading up to one of the most talked-about musical performances of the year.
Describing this collaborative and highly secretive project, Radical Media producer Jim Bouvet says: “The process was great… Everything moved very quickly. We had full support from the Pepsi client and Direct Focus from the outset. They knew this was going to be an epic halftime show and it needed an equally epic film to promote it.”
The spot was directed by F. Gary Gray - the first Black director to have a film gross over $1 billion and a director who, fittingly, began his career in the world of Hip Hop. Gray directed music videos for the likes of Outkast, Dr. Dre, Queen Latifah and Ice Cube - whom he would collaborate with on his directorial debut ‘Friday’ and later again on the 2015 biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’. Jim tells us that the esteemed director actually co-wrote the spot with Dr. Dre himself and gave each Halftime Show performer the opportunity to put their own mark on the film.
“I think that it was important to Gary, Dre and Roc Nation that each performer had a unique segment that spoke to who they were as artists,” says the producer. “Each artist contributed ideas during development which gave us the chance to showcase their individual personalities and creativity.”
The spot features an impressive array of VFX work, from a life-like rendering of Eminem’s ‘Slim Shady’ alter ego rap-battling with floating lyrics, to Dr. Dre’s colossal game of Chess on a table-top Los Angeles. Jim says: “I think the sequence with Eminem in a rap battle with Slim Shady was particularly challenging. It required the use of deepfake techniques to bring back Slim Shady as he looked over 20 years ago.” To achieve these imaginative visuals, he says that Radical Media worked with The Mill LA, who produced and over-delivered on a huge amount of stunning visual effects work. “The Mill really put their heart into this one. I think they planned for 50 VFX shots and in the end, there were over 150 shots that they worked on.”
As well as Eminem's rap battle and Dr Dre’s chess game, all of the show’s stars are featured in individual segments before converging together outside the SoFi stadium, where the ‘Big Game’ took place at the weekend. From Snoop Dogg cruising in a low rider to Mary J. Blige rocking a photoshoot, each artist showed a little bit of their own personality ahead of their collab for the ages.
“Each artist had one shoot day to film their sequence, and then we also brought all the artists to SoFi Stadium to shoot the end sequence at night.” As exciting as the production was, Radical Media producer Jim and everyone else involved had to keep it on the down low, as the Pepsi Halftime Show’s featured entertainment was still a mystery to the public when production for the promo film started. “They hadn’t announced the halftime line up when we started prepping the project so there was a lot of secrecy around the project.”
The film was also accompanied by the Pepsi Halftime Show app - which gave fans access to exclusive clips and competitions, driving engagement with the event for the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Sharing his thoughts on the public’s reaction to the promo film, Jim shows that it achieved its goal of building hype for this once in a lifetime performance: “I think the reaction was fantastic. There was a ton of excitement for the halftime show and Pepsi has about 16 million views on YouTube and still counting. The Pepsi App had a lot of engagement too, with behind the scenes content and other ways to participate in the show.”