Creative in association withGear Seven

McCann Hong Kong Captures #LifeWellTravelled for Airline Cathay Pacific

Production Company
London, UK
Great Guns' Jonty Toosey shoots the imperfections of travel to deliver new global campaign

McCann Hong Kong and Cathay Pacific unveiled their new global campaign “Life Well Travelled” this week, with the aim to rebrand and communicate a more expansive position in the market for the airline.

The aim of the campaign created by Executive Creative Director Martin Lever and the bespoke Cathay team of creatives and account managers, was to introduce Cathay’s new brand position, focusing on the “imperfections of travel” and the role they play in delivering a more realistic experience – Their philosophy is that if you travel well, you are better prepared for the adventure that comes.

Director Jonty Toosey’s three distinctive films all relate to this single, powerful and inspiring #Lifewelltravelled campaign.

Each film offers it’s own individual flavor of what is #lifewelltravelled, through a feast of honest scenes and images. The films feel observational; shadowing our protagonists as they go about negotiating their very different journeys, and coupled with the cinematic framing, the films feel intimate and unscripted.

The underlying theme is this notion of contrast between the concentrated energy generated by travel, and the recharging effect of Cathay Pacific.

Travel scenes filled with movement, energy, colour and passion, contrast beautifully with serene Cathay Pacific scenes where sedate travellers are able to be calm and collect their thoughts ready for their onward journey.

Shooting in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Phuket, Sydney and Shanghai, Jonty assembled a crew that travelled as a tight and quick response unit. They captured natural and sincere performances while also retaining a cinematic feel with beautiful framing, so the films look and feel rich with detail and life.

The “Miss Adventure” film set in Thailand represents the young traveller (a relatively new market for Cathay) seeking to expand her mind through adventure and discovery from broader trips around South East Asia.

Shot on location in Shanghai, “Road Warrior” represents the business traveller; a father or man in a foreign place. Where things don’t always go to plan which can prove both challenging and rewarding.

And “Family” seeks to offer a more realistic portrait of a family travelling without glamourizing the experience. Filmed on location in Australia - in the city, on beaches and in the outback, we follow a young family on a wonderful holiday. This film is less about the adventure and more about the bonding experience. Casting a real family for genuine reactions and emotions between the members, we witness spontaneous hugs and tears as well as real togetherness as they go along their travels.

On directing Cathay Jonty comments: “Authenticity is at the heart of this campaign and achieving this was our main focus. I had a really good feeling talking with Martin Lever, agency CD, on the phone and knew he would be a great ally to collaborate with. I guess it’s his ‘say it as it is’ no nonsense approach that reassured me more than anything.

Staging reality so that it felt completely unrehearsed and natural was made so much easier thanks to a great cast. They each contributed so much to their films by being open minded, up for anything and super focused.

Our camera crew headed up by Luke Scott was persistently tinkering to add value to the picture whilst keeping everything looking normal and believable. The constant danger was that the frame would look too set up and ‘beauty’. Not easy when shooting on paradise beaches and naturally great looking locations. If it looked too nice and stylised I would shout ‘Conde Nast’ the code word for rough it up. We questioned everything constantly in search of the normality our audience would recognise and relate to. It was fun and relentless, the most challenging but definitely one of the best 7weeks on the road of my life”.

The campaign overall is a celebration of all types of travel; whether searching for time together, looking for an adventure or travelling on business. These beautiful films represent the reality to what Life Well Travelled actually means. That travelling in foreign lands never fails to present us with hurdles and surprises that challenge us, and yet it is those challenges that play an important part in the overall experience of each adventure.

On working with director Jonty Toosey and the Great Guns teams Martin Lever Executive Creative Director comments: “In a collaborative industry, relationship is paramount. And when setting out to help Cathay tell a new brand story, the instant rapport I was able to build with Jonty told me that we were in for an exciting ride.

There’s nothing harder than making the scripted look unscripted. And Jonty is a master at this. His understanding of real human emotion, his passion for perfection, and his uncanny ability to choreograph true spontaneity made him the perfect partner to help tell these special stories.

Backed by the refreshing professionalism of GreatGuns, I truly got the impression that during the whole production no stone was left unturned, no request too difficult, no solid suggestion left unexplored in helping achieve the creative vision.

Most important of all, we wrote many unscripted stories of our own along the way. And I can’t wait for our next adventure”.

The films were released on 19th January across media websites including BBC, CNN, CNBC, Sky News, New York Times, Bloomberg, Economist, Financial Times, Twitter and Facebook.

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