The ACE Expensive Girlfriend TVC – brain child of TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris – follows two
men who turn into their mothers while giving a friend some relationship advice. The
lighthearted yet undeniably touching commercial was directed by Malo8 and
produced by Liz Dahl, both of Frieze Films.
Agency producer Jerry Mohale Sekhwela says both Tiger Brands and Frieze Films
were extremely open to the initial brief, allowing for the concept to be developed
and brought to life in a truly collaborative manner. “The concept came about from
the insight that ACE is a meal as abundant as a mother’s love,’ explains Sekhwela.
“ACE is filled with a mother’s love, so when you give someone ACE, it’s the same as
giving them a taste of a mother’s love.’
“The mother’s love intervention was such a simple and strong idea,’ says Malo8. “I
laughed when I read the brief, but there was also a fuzziness that came over me as
I pictured the mother suddenly standing there and giving advice to one of the boys.
As a director, I am well versed in creating warm, heartfelt stories; I also love doing
quirky comedic pieces. But this was the first time I could work with both of these
tones in one ad.’
Shot in October 2014 in an apartment in Johannesburg CBD, Malo says that the
casting process was relatively simple as they were on the lookout for fresh new
faces: “that were believable without having to do too much.’
Rather than using elaborate visual effects to transform the men into their mothers,
Malo used clever editing, still producing a transformation that is both dramatic and
unexpected: “We opted for a simple edit cut instead of any tricksy special
“…There is a natural temptation to make the transformation the central point of the
story, when in fact it is just a device to help us bridge a gap between two
generations, showing that ACE is relevant for both the younger market and the
older market,’ he continues.
“What was critical for me was to keep the transformation within the confines of a
simple, character-driven, performance piece, so it didn’t overshadow the
Rob Schroeder at Rob Roy Music composed the score which subtly prepares the
audience to expect some unusual happenings, cleverly adding to the comedic feel of
The remainder of the TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris creative team was made up of Pete
Khoury, George Low, Melanie Moore and copywriter Harry Mackenzie.
DOP Werner Maritz shot the commercial on the Arri Alexa, while Paul West at Deep
End Post Production edited the spot.
The ACE Expensive Girlfriend TVC was awarded an orchid in Brendan Seery’s Orchid
and Onions column in The Saturday Star, and it was also named the joint winner in
ididthatad’s monthly SA Film Reel.
By Chanelle Ellaya