Wunderman Thompson Istanbul, Panda Films and director James F. Coton explain how they took a laundry brand’s cute mascot and turned him into a badass
The bear mascot for Turkish laundry brand Yumoş is beloved as the embodiment of comfort. That works for a lot of audiences, but when the client told Wunderman Thompson Istanbul they wanted to make the fabric softener relevant to millennials, the agency knew a different tack was required. The result is a drastic change. With the help of Panda Films and director James F. Coton (a man who doesn’t really do cuddly), they turned the bear into a street style star worthy of the edgiest of fashion films.
LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with Wunderman Thompson ECD Sami Basut and CD Ümit Tasli, Panda Films partner and EP Chad Öztürk and director James F. Coton, to get a bit of cultural insight and find out what decisions went into making this fun-filled film.
LBB> For all our non-Turkish readers, can you explain where the Yumoş brand sits and its history in advertising? And specifically, who is the bear and what does it represent?
Sami & Ümit> We all grew up with the Yumoş bear. Huggable, warm and soft. It appeared in ads decades ago and has been embodiment of softness since then. We all have a story, a picture, a memory with the Yumoş bear. The same brand (and bear) is called Cajoline in France, Snuggle in Canada, Huggie in Australia.
LBB> What was the brief for this project?
Sami & Ümit> The client asked us: ‘How do we connect with the millennials? How do we become part of their lives?’
LBB> And how did that evolve into the final idea for the campaign?
Sami & Ümit> Through global research we found out that our target audience did not care about laundry but they loved their clothes. We needed to tell them if you love your clothes you need to take care of them. Rather than chores, how about if you show some love to your clothes? We decided to make the bear resemble the clothes people wear. The protector of clothes, Yumoş exists for long-lasting clothes. For the love of clothes, take care of your clothes.
Our Yumoş bear was loved but a bit outdated. We needed to make them current, more topical, more hip, more fashionable. Rather than living in the laundry world, we needed to get into the urban environment our target audience lived in.
LBB> What were your main references when coming up with the look of the film?
Sami & Ümit> We looked at all modern fashion brands. From H&M to adidas, some local brands like Mavi, we went as far as high fashion brands like Moschino and Louis Vuitton to explore the question: “how do we make a childish icon fashionable and cool.”
James> The main reference for the look was to play with all the codes from the commercial industry in the lifestyle category. The idea was to play with the codes.
Ted was a good reference for us too, between the people and the bear.
But the colour was the main concept for the look.
LBB> From a production perspective, what were the biggest challenges?
Chad> I would say the bears, because how do you take an icon like the Yumoş bear and transform it into a hip and fashionable trendy character, with such a short prep and post production time. James got us in touch with the guys at D-Seed Paris and they showed us some early tests in a very short time. We were all very much convinced with the tests and decided to go on to make a memorable TVC.
I would say the biggest challenge was to manage the production calendar with lots of bears to produce and to integrate into the reality. The rest is on set production after all and we always have solutions to sort that out.
LBB> Do you have a favourite moment in the final film?
Sami & Ümit>The low angle where the bear and the girl dance is a total thumb stopper.
James> I really like the bears with the young women on the rooftop. The badass attitudes, the colour of the bears…
Chad> I like the lower angle shot very much because this is not something that you see all the time and also the parking lot with some classic cars and the girl gang.
LBB> What will you most remember from the production?
Sami & Ümit> In the course of production someone from the team said we don’t want any CGI petals. We were all speechless. We asked: “how does a CGI character hold a real flower petal?” We all laughed. The bears felt so real James wanted to take photos on the set and then remembered that we don’t have Yumoş bears yet. Our creative director Ümit was obsessed with the fact that bears don’t have hands and wanted the bear to try to hold a phone and text, but we ended up with bear holding flowers and smelling them.
Chad> What I remember most are the chrome balls, shadow balls, red tape, colour checkers, cut-out Yumoş bears and some teddy bears hanging around all the time.
James> For me it was the efficiency of the crew. Everything was smooth, nice weather, people… no stress. It’s rare. Or maybe it was the positive energy of the bears.