You are about to relate to a mandrill. The creature enables Great Guns director, Omar Hilal, to tell an everyday story about feeling burned out for travel agent, Tajawal, in a very entertaining way. Hilal created the idea as well as directing the commercial.
The two-minute spot reminds its audience that there’s more to life than the daily grind. It’s a simple proposition but a difficult one to make stick. People know it already and put it to one side every day. A lonely, guitar-playing mandrill and Del Amitri’s very sad 2013 hit, Nothing Ever Happens, revitalises the truth’s meaningfulness.
If the film feels authentic, and it does, it may well be because it was inspired by Hilal’s own experiences visiting Dubai. The director combined the emotional impact of over-working with a specific artistic influence – a painting by Walton Ford called Jack on His Deathbed. After realising that the artwork, featuring a sombre-looking ape reclining on a couch, felt like a depiction of a man tired of living, Omar settled on the idea of using an animal as the hero of the spot – especially one with an arresting and expressive face.
Hilal commented, “The client’s target was the workforce of Dubai, composed entirely of expats who work endlessly to make ends meet. They long to get home, and never take a proper break. Being a regular visitor to Dubai, I’ve often seen buses packed with people, knocked out as they return to their houses late at night, ready for the next day’s shift in just a few short hours. I wanted to show these people’s plight, but without actually seeing them. The metaphor of ‘working like an animal’ came to mind when I saw the cover of Walton Ford’s book on my coffee table.”
Client: Tajawal Travel
Agency: Omar Hilal Creative
Production Company: Dejavu
Director: Omar Hilal
Creative Director: Omar Hilal
Executive Producer: Manasvi Gosalia
Producer: Kavya Iyer
Director Of Photography: Serge Teloun
Animation: Platige Image
Colour Grading: Black Kite
Colour Grade Operator: George K
Editor: Neda Ahmed