Brand New School (BNS), in partnership with Publicis QMP Ireland and Cadbury, developed the sumptuous :60 broadcast/web spot for Cadbury Dairy Milk entitled "Icons", which recently debuted as a key part of the brand's biggest ever integrated marketing campaign in Ireland.
The challenge to BNS began with what company founder and director Jonathan Notaro described as "a beautifully poetic script" and a detailed agency briefing, which called for an ad that would "seduce" viewers with footage of tempting, mouth-watering chocolate in all its glory and perhaps involve "hints of cheeky humour."
"We all felt that this project would build on some of our previous work while offering us a new direction with its dark, dramatically slick tone," Jonathan explained. "Using the process as a starting point we began designing abstract scenes that were surreal and terrestrial to create a mysterious visual narrative. We wanted to capture the behavior of these different elements with a little sleight of hand, so we decided to fuse photo-sonic photography for the scenes we could capture in-camera and CG for the scenarios that were impossible to film."
In the spot, the camera moves through abstracted forms frozen in time atop a lush purple landscape, beginning with milk flowing from two glasses into a tornado of chocolate. Time slows to accentuate the collision of milk and dark chocolate swirling and melding together, with one piece of hard chocolate splintering into shards amidst confetti from Cadbury Dairy Milk's signature golden foil. The perspective widens to reveal all the elements coming together as an artistic installation floating in space, ending with foil wrapping around flowing chocolate and the perfectly formed product.
For BNS, other key contributors included art director Ricardo Villavicencio, VFX/CG supervisor Vadim Turchin, designers Sakona Kong and Wakoko Ichonose, London executive producer Geraldine McCarthy, producer Georgina Poushkine and post producer Madison Brigode, among many others. Under the direction of Jonathan and director of photography Tim Green, the crew shot its live-action elements using the Photron FASTCAM BC2 HD camera system and special 99K Linear Longstrike Lightning Strike lights. For all the chocolate pouring shots, the team used special rigs built by Artem Visual Effects, together with silicone dyed to match Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate. "We built oversized 3X scale versions of the models we shot to create a larger, more environmental feel," Jonathan explained. "We also shot everything at extremely high speeds with strobe-like lighting, which allowed us to get very crisp images that felt massive in scale."
Design development continued throughout the entire production process, as Ricardo continued to perfect the key visuals of each scene based on experimentation in 3D and other areas. While much of that work occurred in Adobe Creative Suite and Autodesk Maya, the recent upgrades to V-Ray's rendering software helped BNS create more cinematic content in all the CG footage. The HD content was finished using Autodesk Flame.
Not only does the spot provide a stunning centerpiece for the two million euro campaign, a key piece of concept art used to develop the spot was later finished for print channels. Over the months ahead, that imagery will appear in facets spanning advertising, digital, press and outdoor.
"Cadbury is a global iconic brand. It's one of the big guns," said Darragh Carey of Publicis QMP. "So we had to convey taste with a genuine sense of confidence and scale. The spectacle had to live up to the brand. In the journey from script to screen, so much could have been lost, but Brand New School created something unexpected and yet undeniably Cadbury. It is arresting, tactile and magical. Jonathan and his team have demonstrated that flowing chocolate can be surprising; that it can be beautiful."
For Publicis QMP Ireland, the team consisted of creative director Ronan Nulty, copywriter Darragh Carey, art director Avril Durkan, producer Margaret Levingstone, account director Kerry Fitzgerald. Additional BNS credits include executive producer Devin Brook and production manager Michaela Miesen. The spot features the song "Abracadabra" by Steve Miller Band, and its sound design and final mix were completed by Mutiny Sound Studios Dublin.