Written by Joe Jackson on Jun 24, 2022. Posted in Production News

Cadbury spot shoots in Malaysia

Johan Stahl has directed a new spot for Cadbury Chocolate. The project – named Bus Ride – reminds views to be careful about judging a book by its cover. The two-day shoot took place at night in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. A floating police escort allowed the crew to move around the city’s heavy traffic.


“The whole core of this concept was to build tension up to a certain point and then do a complete 180°,” says Stah, who is represented in the US by REVERSE for commercials and branded content. “To make this work, we needed perfect authentic performances from all of the actors, especially the young boy.”



The spot opens with mother attempting to console her crying toddler on a night bus. An intimidating man sits behind the mother and son – but tensions quickly disappear when he pulls out a Cadbury chocolate bar and starts to pull silly faces. The spot ends with the tagline: “Goodness That Melts Your Heart.”


“This spot exemplifies what Johan does best – simple yet efficient performance-driven storytelling that creates a strong emotional connection to the characters and the product,” emphasises Thibaut Estellon, REVERSE Founder/Executive Producer. “Too often, we see spots that are overly focused on technical gadgets and transitions. It’s refreshing to see a piece that feels like a classic and goes back to the essence of advertising.”


Stahl spent time casting in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand for the ideal ‘intimidating man’ character. The team eventually landed on an actor called Rabbit, who could convincingly shift from intimidating to funny.


During the two-day shoot, Stahl and his team used the Sony Venice Camera in Rialto mode with the Leica R lenses. This set-up enabled the creatives to get very close to the actors in the moving bus’s small environment. The team then switched to a steady solution when they were driving through the night.


“Maybe it was the tropical heat with no air conditioning, but by the end of the shoot, we were howling with laughter when Rabbit made the switch to the funny guy,” adds Stahl. “The agency and client were incredibly collaborative and gave us the utmost trust to pull off this concept. It was great to see everything come together so well.”


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