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'The Game Never Stops' in Slam Dunk Hennessy Campaign Cut by Jonnie Scarlett

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Spot was a collaboration between The Quarry editor, Cut+Run, Knucklehead and Droga5

'The Game Never Stops' in Slam Dunk Hennessy Campaign Cut by Jonnie Scarlett

Channelling the aesthetic of old-school hip hop promos, Hennessy x NBA’s ‘Game Never Stops’, made by Knucklehead for Droga5, celebrates a 10 year partnership between the brand and the agency. Deeply rooted in a sense of culture and community, the spot is elevated beyond just a product advert by its use of sumptuous visuals, mixed format media and kinetic pace, all of which lend the film a tangible cinematic quality.

For Jonnie Scarlett, editor at The Quarry and represented in the US by Cut+Run, the challenge was “... to sit, editorially, on the cusp of maximum tempo whilst keeping comprehension.”

“It was about finding the balance of pace,” says Jonnie. “And then pushing it just over the edge without the edit completely spiralling out of control and breaking.”

With director Maceo Frost ensuring that each element has a palpable sense of synergy and relationship to basketball, there’s a huge amount to pack in.

There’s the dance, for instance, which is heavily based on dribbling. The illustrator with the basketball signet ring or the varsity jacket bearing the white-and-orange colours of a ball (worn by rapper Masiwei) – every single shot and scenario has a direct link to the sub-culture that surrounds basketball. This doesn’t just extend to the material objects. Ranging from prominent British rapper AJ Tracey, most likely recognised by your average viewer, to showcasing the talents of photographer Kevin Couliau, an artist with a cult status that would be known only by the community alone — Maceo and the creatives at Droga5 reached out to several key figures related to the scene, demonstrating a unique savviness, and paying extraordinary homage to the culture.

All these elements, however, had the potential to be lost on the audience if the tempo was amped up any further; what the edit achieves is a finely tuned balance, so that amidst the bombardment of movement, visuals and sound, the audience can identify many of these elements whilst also gaining a deeper understanding on a second or third viewing.

Shining a light on this specific cultural sphere was always the driving force of the spot – and this commitment can also be heard in the sound design. Working in close tandem with Wave studios who - as always, says Jonnie -  “... did an excellent job.” The design of the sound was aimed to evoke the rhythm of a basketball game. From the squeak of trainers on a court being woven into a track, to the sustained silence and bated breath before a point is scored; the DNA of the game permeates throughout every aspect of how the spot sounds.

With any film with a creative vision as bold as this one, there are always editorial challenges. For Jonnie, it was mainly the need to “step back and realise that no-one else will watch it a million times” - maintaining coherence and whilst allowing every component to shine was key. Thanks to the willingness of everyone involved to engage with the project collaboratively the film was allowed to develop organically and take on many different shapes. The latest in a line of inspiring collaborations between Jonnie and Droga5 on a Hennessy project, and facilitated by Cut+Run,  ‘Game Never Stops’ ultimately emerges as an audacious and arresting spot that successfully conveys - and celebrates - the multifaceted nature of a global basketball community.

As Haywood R. Watkins III, GCD at Droga5 NY says: “The sport of basketball is limited to 48 minutes, but the culture of the game never stops. With this film we aspired to show how far the game's influence has traveled beyond the court. From fashion to music to art, the game is present and it's not stopping anytime soon.” 

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Genres: Choreography

Categories: Alcoholic Beverages, Spirits

The Quarry, Mon, 18 Jul 2022 07:27:23 GMT