SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:
Distell – one of Africa’s leading producers and marketers of spirits and wines – recently partnered with creative agency Singh&Sons and Egg Films to produce the Perfect Blend campaign, aimed at raising the profile of Viceroy brandy in Kenya.
Produced and bottled in Stellenbosch, Viceroy holds a large stake of the African market with both their five year and newly introduced 10 year brandies. Distell wanted to reintroduce the brand with a young yet still sophisticated edge representative of this market.
The result is a visually rich, diamond-inspired spot that skilfully carries a lot of different design elements and textures through its 30-second running time, creating an urban (and urbane) look and feel that delivers spectacularly on its brief.
BRIEF AND CONCEPT
According to Robin Adams, director at Egg Films, “The brief for Viceroy was simple enough: the golden raffia (in the shape of diamonds) encasing the bottle plays a big role in the iconic representation of the brand,” he explains. The decision was taken to “use this extrinsic imagery of the diamond and seed it visually throughout the commercial.”
Although this process sounds “simple enough”, the execution of it was anything but. As Adams says, “Each shot had to be meticulously designed and choreographed to work in the diamond template so that, although busy, the uniform structure and sequence holds the viewer’s attention without becoming overwhelming. It’s also important to mention the excellent craftsmanship of both Kezia Eales (art director) and Fabian Vettiger (director of photography) in this respect.”
Diamonds are ever-present in the sensuous and textured commercial – from intricately-cut drinking glasses to futuristic buildings, pixelated shields and carved patterns on wooden drums, a beautiful mish-mash of images that signifies both modernity and tradition. “I really loved the visual design aspect of the brief, and it became my voice as we moved through the prep on the job. My team and I started dreaming in diamonds every step of the way,” Adams says.
“What was interesting for me as a filmmaker,” Adams explains, “was deciding to put more of my focus into the post-production aspect of the job. Not to say that it was a simple shoot by any means, but it became a bit of a colour-by-numbers kind of job. At many points it felt like crew members were looking at me thinking, Where does this fit into the bigger picture? But at the end of the day the beauty was in the split screen technique, as this married the idea of the diamond throughout.”
Shot on the versatile ARRI Amira, the advert’s idiosyncratic design required a great amount of buy-in from the post-production team, Adams explains. “With so many visual elements at play, it meant the really hard work was all in post-production. Buying into our vision, the post-production team of Stephen Du Plessis (2+3 Post Productions), Blake Prinsloo (Static Black) and Nic Apostoli (Comfort & Fame) put in an outstanding effort.”
Giving details of the process, Adams shares: “We had four different templates on the drawing board – the “1 Diamond”, as we called it – which showcased three large diamonds with 11 split screens, as well as templates where we could showcase as many as 81 split screens (in three rows of smaller diamonds). Each of these split screens were numbered and coded to allow us control over which shot went into which split screen at any given point in the edit. I can assure you that this reads a whole lot easier than it was practically piecing it all together!”
Over and above this ambitious split screen project, “There was a need to showcase a representation of the ‘future’ of Kenya in one of the scenes,” Adams says.
Furnished with some references and 2D blueprint drawings, “Our online CGI maestro, Blake Prinsloo, was asked to create a building in the middle of the Savanna that would be representative of the techno-cities being planned there in the future. The drawn out blueprint became a 3D printed model (seen at first in the spot), which then became the 3D base model used to build the eventual building and surrounding world – all crafted by the man himself.”
Viceroy Global Brand Manager, Renato Santana, explains the message that the Viceroy brand wishes to promote: “As the world constantly changes, so do our habits, and the way we connect with each other. That’s why Viceroy, which has a rich heritage and celebrates over a century of tradition, prides itself in still remaining relevant across the generations.”
Reflecting on the project, Adams concludes: “Inspired by the diamond-patterned ‘cage’ encasing the bottle, we wanted this ad to celebrate the kaleidoscope of forces – natural, cultural, social – that influence and shape Kenya today. My process throughout was to do this justice. Although I might not be the right person to comment on this, I feel my team and I achieved this with excellence – and I am sure this will show in the client’s returns.”
Creative Director: Roger Paulse, PJ Kensley
Senior Copywriter: Liora Friedland
Senior Art Director: Annie Klintworth
Account Director: Kate Bailey
Agency Producer: Julie Gardiner
Director: Robin Adams
Producer: Kerry Hosford
Executive Producer: Colin Howard
Director Photography: Fabian Vettiger
Art Director: Kezia Eales
Editor: Stephen Du Plessis (2+3 Post Production)
Post Production: Nic Apostoli (Comfort & Fame)
VFX Post Production: Blake Prinsloo (Static Black)