Magazine article ADWEEK

Walking after Midnight: Johnnie Walker Looks to 2015 with a Theatrical New Year's Eve Meditation Filmed on a Moving Stage

Magazine article ADWEEK

Walking after Midnight: Johnnie Walker Looks to 2015 with a Theatrical New Year's Eve Meditation Filmed on a Moving Stage

Article excerpt

Idea One of the great ads of the past decade was the 2009 Johnnie Walker spot, filmed in a single take, with the brilliant Robert Carlyle telling the brand's history while strolling in the Scottish Highlands. Now, the whiskey brand and BBH have crafted another captivating single-take spot--a yearend meditation that looks forward, rather than backward, by showing a man walking through his dreamlike vision of 2015. Conceptually strong, it was also intriguingly executed--it was filmed like a stage play, but on a moving set, which allows the hero to walk through the scenery of his future while the camera essentially stays in place. "New Year's Eve is a cultural moment we could leverage both strategically and creatively," said Gerard Caputo, group creative director at BBH New York. "It felt like a great opportunity to remind people that we should actually be looking ahead and celebrate the things to come."

Copywriting The voiceover copy came first. "The first step of a new year," says a male voice. "We'll all take one. But where will a step take you? How high could you climb? And how far? A step can be a difficult thing. It requires courage and spirit. But if you follow it, imagine the places you'll go. The new year begins with the next step. How far will it take you?" The hero is seen first at a 2014 New Year's Eve party. The lights suddenly go down, and he begins walking to the right (as the rolling sets roll left). He strolls down a street with neon signs in Chinese; enters a menswear store; exits an airplane; walks across a conference-room table during a meeting; and eventually leaps through darkness to a 2015 New Year's Eve party. "Each scene was written to symbolize key moments we all hope to experience as we look forward to a new year," said BBH copywriter Mikio Bradley. "All of us want to experience new cultures, travel, make career moves, take more risks." The camera pans up to the sky where fireworks pop. …

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