Inspired by the light trails left by cars in long exposure photographs, Volkswagen Canada's launch campaign for the all-new 2012 Jetta GLI shows performance in a whole new light. Forgoing Hollywood-style, computer-generated effects for a more authentic achievement, the spot exhibits a "painting" created by the headlights and tail lamps of the 200 horsepower GLI, the high-performance version of Volkswagen's popular Jetta model, as it streaks around a darkened parking lot.
In order to help keep it real, Red Urban Canada, one of Volkswagen Canada's advertising agencies, brought in Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Hubert Davis to direct. Davis and his director of photography, Adam Marsden, developed a filming technique employing two different cameras - one video and one still camera - focused on the same image using a beam splitter, a device usually reserved for 3D filmmaking. Armed with a couple of these unconventional setups, one situated at road level and the other 14-stories up, the team was able to capture both the high-speed manoeuvering of the Jetta GLI as well as long-exposure photographs of the resulting light trails from the exact same angle.
"When we first started, the question was: can we do it for real?" explains Christina Yu, Executive Creative Director of Red Urban Canada. "Since no one had light painted with a car before, we were forced to figure out the solutions as we went. Such an innovative undertaking felt pretty suitable for what we think is a really innovative vehicle. Needless to say, the process was just as exciting as the final product."
The final product, a 30-second spot airing on television and online, features the Jetta GLI acting as brush and a rain-slicked parking lot serving as the canvas. The performance culminates with a shot, taken from 150 feet above the parking lot, of the car completing a light painting of the Volkswagen logo.
In addition to the commercial and a short "making-of" documentary (also shot by Davis), the campaign will include some innovative out-of-home executions celebrating the Fall launch of the Jetta GLI featuring the actual long exposure photographs taken during the shoot.