We’ve all been there: jumping onboard our city’s metro only to find ourselves stuck alongside a group of noisy, difficult, or occasionally infuriating passengers. Great Guns director Peter Harton
captures the feeling perfectly in the latest campaign for Copenhagen’s new Metro line, promoting the fact that 85% of the city’s population will now be connected to the superfast circuit. Creatively devised by Hjaltelin Stahl and produced by Pegasus Productions, the hilarious new campaign celebrates the upcoming Cityringen line with two spots whilst also acknowledging the unavoidable encounters found on public transport.
The campaign captures two different scenarios that highlight the comedically diverse passengers found on the Metro line – and the benefits of the new Cityringen. The first ad, entitled ‘Morning Tremens’, sees one woman make the tiresome trip home after a long night of partying – still dressed in last night’s clothes and clutching her high heels. With smudged make-up and false eyelashes hanging off, she boards the train and manages to find a seat. She then discovers, however, she has sat amongst a group of enthusiastic cub scouts, joined by an equally animated leader who suggests the boys have a snack before their stop. Surrounded by boiled eggs, mackerel, and strong cheese, our traveller is then thrust in the midst of an intense singalong that threatens to push her already fragile state over the edge.
The second spot, meanwhile, features two goths boarding the metro, only to find themselves in the same carriage as a group of joyous, pastel-clad acapella singers. As their discomfort grows, the singers only get louder, prompting some enthusiastic dance moves in the direction of the two uncomfortable men. Fortunately, as with the ending of ‘Morning Tremens,’ ‘Goth Life’ shows that the distressing journey will soon be over, thanks to the new Cityringen line.
Great Guns director Peter Harton aimed to highlight these colourful encounters by making the contrasts between the groups as dramatic as possible, working with DOP Jens Maasbøl to make the spots also feel overwhelmingly claustrophobic. Speaking of ‘Goth Life’, he notes: “I wanted to put something black against something that’s extremely colourful. Acapella groups can be quite frightening – they are all about human contact and laughter and expressing themselves – so I thought it was nice to place the sympathy with the two goths. Jens and I worked primarily with wide-angle lenses, coming as close as possible to the passengers to ramp up the discomfort. We purposefully made the camera angles mismatched to accentuate how the different sets of characters have wildly differing POVs.”
He adds: “There’s so many universal situations that people can relate to and that’s why it communicates so well. You never know what you’re going to encounter on the Metro but you can rest assured you’ll never have the same journey – and your experience won’t last forever. Nobody wants to piss anybody else off – they’re all good people and we’re not trying to point fingers at anyone. These places make life more colourful. I had a blast with the shoot. I was surrounded by good people who are talented at what they do – it gives you the chance to work with your intuition and be more spontaneous. We just had loads of fun.”
Copywriter Kenneth Kaadtmann also needed to balance difficult experiences with the benefits of the Cityringen, adapting the premise to suggest there was no serious conflict between the groups, but simply very different events that occurred in the same carriage.
Speaking of this balance, Kenneth said: “That was definitely the hard part. We needed to go over the top to make sure make sure it was funny enough, but at the same time we didn’t want people to think that riding the metro is complete hell. That’s why we picked an acapella band as it is highly unlikely that would ever happen in real life. At the same time, we made sure that the contrast between the two parts were so far at each end of the spectrum, to make it obvious that it is only a pain if you’re a diehard goth.”
He adds: “There’s an underlying message about tolerance and acceptance in the films, yet it does go unsaid. But with the Danes having a thing for dark humour, we felt that it would be a perfect approach to get them to accept our message. Public transportation is hardly the highlight of anyone’s day, so by using comedy we created an opportunity for ourselves to be honest.”