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Your Shot: Babies vs. Beards for Wilkinson Sword



Cobblestone’s Robert Nylund heads back in time to save frightened babies from bearded hipsters

Your Shot: Babies vs. Beards for Wilkinson Sword

Beards are all the rage. Shaving commercials are not. What is it with formulaic shots of an abnormally ripped, sharp-jawed dude shaving what appears to be an already shaved face before seductively splashing his face with water? Anyway. This new Wilkinson Sword spot (which you can check out at the bottom of the page) from Labamba and Cobblestone’s Robert Nylund says ‘auf Wiedersehen!’ to boring bearded scripts. Director Nylund transports us to times gone by when beards were a more a matter of necessity than trend, and babies were plagued with constant fear of the hairy face. Nylund spoke with LBB’s Addison Capper about travelling back in time - and almost getting stuck. 

LBB> What was it about the brief that appealed to you?

RN> I think shaving product commercials in general are quite boring. It’s all about beauty and pretty much has a formula that copies another. Nothing is really new and modern. 

That is why this triggered me. It was a funny idea and it’s about time we said bye to the bearded hipster. I don’t have a very thick beard myself so if I can do anything to make beards less fashionable that works for me. 

LBB> What sort of pre-production and planning was involved? 

RN> The main part of the pre-pro was casting and finding guys with real, long and thick beards. That was the main issue really. I wanted the real deal. Except for that it was pretty much a straight forward process. Suitable locations and wardrobe also had to be found to set each scene in the respective historical time. 

LBB> The spot moves through different times very quickly - how did you achieve that so seamlessly?

RN> Glad you think it feels seamless. I think it might be that we worked with very specific ages and with clear historical references - it makes it a quick read. The editing also takes us through the film quickly and smoothly. And the idea is very clear and that helps too - beard: crying child, beard: cry, no beard: happy child. We also used some modern tech during the shoot for travelling very quickly and effortlessly through time. 

LBB> Why did you decide to visit the periods of time we see in the spot?

RN> These are bearded epochs of history and I think it makes the spot funny. If we would have only seen modern-day it wouldn’t have felt as strong and the idea might not have been as clear. Today guys are bearded as a fashionable thing. Earlier in history it was for lack of razors. And fashion. Also I really wanted to travel to these times. 

We shot a few more scenes and I might cut another version when I get the chance. 

LBB> Who did you work with to ensure the settings and costumes were on point?

RN> I worked with some great people (Angela Prochnow and Mi-Ran Suh for styling, Fabienne van der Koolwijk for the art department), who put a lot of work and love into this little project. They really made something from very simple means.

LBB> Were any beards harmed in the making of this film?

RN> I think there was a couple of bruised bearded egos along the way. There have been some sensitive guys reacting strongly to the film because they are having their beards criticised. It is all very funny. 

LBB> Where did you shoot? And how did it go generally?

RN> We shot in and around Hamburg. It went great and the team was fantastic. 

LBB> What were the trickiest components and how did you overcome them? 

RN> The babies were amazing. All of them delivered instantly when put in the hand of these guys so that was all very easy - even though everyone says filming kids and animals is a pain.

I guess the trickiest part was when our time machine broke down. Everyone thought we’d be stuck in the past and panicked for a bit. But luckily Oli Krasemann, our amazing production manager and ‘can fix any problem kind of guy’, managed to repair it with shoelaces and some chewing gum. He saved our lives. Thanks Oli!

First Impression


Post Production / VFX
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Genres: In-camera effects, Comedy, People

Categories: Beauty & Health, Shaving

LBB Editorial, Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:59:02 GMT