Written by David Lewis on Nov 23, 2009. Posted in Production News

Guinness brings the world to life

When Guinness and creative agency AMV BBDO made the bold decision to move away from the well established ‘Good Things Come to Those Who Wait’ strapline, they knew that any television ad campaign would have to be something spectacular. The Guinness spot, called World with the new strapline 'Bring it to Life', has certainly lived up to expectations.

Guinness Marketing Manager, Paul Cornell, explained: “To mark the start of the Bring it to Life era, we wanted to create a truly amazing campaign which graphically illustrated the life, energy and passion of the brand.”

Although the spot relied heavily on post production wizardry, the stunning locations were still the key to its striking imagery. It took three months of preparation and more than 8,000km of scouting before filming began, but UK based production company, Knucklehead, finally chose New Zealand, Canada and Fiji for the shoot.

In New Zealand, Knucklehead worked with local company The Sweet Shop. The river sequences were shot at Branches Station which is a large farm located around 42km from Queenstown on the South Island. Claire Kelly, The Sweet Shop producer who worked on the job, explains: "This was not an easy access location. To get there, it took us two and half hours to travel 45km in four wheel drives. But it was chosen by Johnny, the ad's director, because it worked perfectly for the shot."

The aerial waterfall was shot at around 6,000 feet between Milford and Mount Cook, also on the South Island, because, as Kelly puts it: "it looked bloody amazing!"

All of the grass pulling sequences, it took 45 women six days to hand stitch the artificial grass, and night time rocket shots were filmed on army land in the middle of the North Island. Kelly continues: "The landscape is an alpine desert and Johnny chose it for it's barren landscape and dreary outlook, plus we could let off our rockets here." A rocket scientist was also on set working with the special effects team.

The underwater sequences for the spot were shot in Fiji. Francis Mildmay-White, Knucklehead's production manager decided to use The Sweet Shop for this location as well. Mildmay-White explains: "We basically sent a line producer there to set the job up and brought the kit in from New Zealand."

While the Knucklehead production crew was prepping in New Zealand and Fiji, it became apparent that they would need to find another location for some of the snow scenes. Canada was chosen and Knucklehead teamed up with local company Means of Production.

David Bouck, from Means of Production, explains: "The producer, Fergus Brown, sent us the brief and Alberta immediately sprang to mind. We shot in snow covered fields about fifty minutes south of Calgary as well as snow covered forests, mountains and frozen lakes an hour due west of Calgary or, for the helicopter shots, about a 40 minute flight north of Banff. Everything was so close to Calgary that we never had to overnight the crew."

In Alberta the Rockies are amazingly beautiful and the prairies practically butt right up against them which made it the perfect location for the ad. There is also a solid film infrastructure and a world class set construction company called F&D Scene Changes who got involved with the project.

Bouck continues: "One of the biggest challenges was finding the right trees to lift out of the snow, not to mention the physics of doing the actual lift. Believe it or not, in a country like Canada, covered in forests, we had scouts out for a week trying to find just the right trees for Johnny's vision. Jason Paradis provided the FX rigs to lift the trees out of the snow. It was a very big effect!"

As with the extreme locations in New Zealand, Canada made for a challenging shoot. Bouck continues; "On many days the temperature was minus 18°C so you can imagine what is was like working in those conditions, both for the construction crew as well as the actors and film crew. But it all went very well with no surprises."

Director Johnny Green summed it up perfectly when he said: “This was one of the toughest and most exciting shoots I have worked on. The locations were so remote and extreme that it took days to even get to the site. From high altitudes to underwater shoots, freezing temperatures combined with the burning glare of the sun off of the snow, every element brought its own unique challenge. With only three weeks of shooting the team pulled together to create this incredible piece of work.”

Click here to view the ad.


Client: Guinness
Agency: AMV BBDO, London
Production Company: Knucklehead
Production Service Companies: Means of Production, The Sweet Shop
Executive Creative Director: Paul Brazier

Creatives: Paul Brazier
Agency Producer: Yvonne Chalkley
Director: Johnny Green
Producer: Fergus Brown
Production Manager: Francis Mildmay-White
DoP: Wally Pfister, Joost Van Gelder
Production Designer: Grant Major, Pedro Romero
Post- Production: The Mill
Editor: The Quarry @ Ted Guard
Additional Editing Work: The Lab Post Production
Sound House/ Engineer: Grand Central - Raja Sehgal And Munzie Thind

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