Creative agency, Optimist, and production company, Halal, are not the first teams to hit on the idea of using toy cars to overcome the challenge of shooting a campaign for drivers during Covid. That honour belongs to WPP, for its Castrol commercial.
But this new campaign for Škoda goes all out in terms of idea and production. And the campaign’s production underlines the campaign message, Discover New Possibilities, itself. Three directors were asked to shoot a commercial for the car maker entirely at home. That brief resulted in three very different, very fascinating and hugely entertaining spots which conceal the reality that they were produced with restrictions.
From Form directing duo, Jurjen Versteeg and Ashley Govers, Johan Kramer and Steffen Haars were given miniatures of Škoda models and each was allowed to craft a film in his own unique visual style.
Ton Hollander, chief creative officer & partner, Optimist, explained, “In times where ‘the normal’ becomes ‘the odd’, you have to leave the beaten path to move forward. When the pandemic hit, our industry was (and is) confronted with radical new propositions forcing us to go back to the very core of creativity – coming up with unconventional solutions for newly emerged challenges. The core idea for Shot at Home; Discover new Possibilities is very much inspired by this spirit. We approached HALAL with an unpretentious brief: can you shoot a ŠKODA SUV campaign at home, with a minimal crew consisting of your household, only equipped with a miniature car model? The result is three distinct films each relatable to our target audience in different ways. ‘Discover New Possibilities’ not only became the tagline for the ŠKODA SUV models, but a tagline on how to embrace the emerged situation.”
Steffan Haars, director, Halal, commented, “I immediately loved the idea of a ‘working-at-home-dad’ being completely distracted by a toy car, totally losing himself in this self-created car ad. The challenges and (at times) distractions of working at home are familiar to a lot of people these days. It was really refreshing to work like this, and I think what you see on screen reflects all the raw energy and enthusiasm put directly into the crafting of these films.”
John Kramer, director, Halal, commented, “Embracing this approach as a filmmaker was a true joy, you have a lot of freedom despite the limitations. That in itself is a message I wanted my film to reflect. To achieve a real cinematic home-look I decided to shoot on super 8 film developed at an ‘in-house ‘mini-lab. It’s truly a home-production and all exceptionally experimental for a commercial project and client like this.”
Jurjen Versteeg and Ashley Govers, commented, “We chose for recognisable home situations but with a slightly surreal and graphic approach: a bathroom becomes a mirror maze. A kitchen turns into a sculpture of glasses. We don’t live in a huge mansion, to say the least, so shooting in a compact city apartment was quite a challenge. Space is your biggest enemy, so you have to plan everything pretty neat and work from room to room. But still, before you know it your whole house ends up with tripods, lights and cables – making it a “set jungle” where you also want to enjoy breakfast and dinner.”
Tobias Talmon, head of Škoda marketing communication, added, “Being inventive, human and surprising is what defines us as a brand and as a team. While this campaign perfectly delivers on that, there is extra touch of magic in the films thanks to the passion and enthusiasm of everyone involved, the directors especially. Business aside, we really hope that ŠKODA fans and friends will enjoy these films and will be inspired to discover new possibilities.”
Creatives: Ton Hollander
Agency Producer: Silke Rochow
Production Company: Halal
Directors, DoP, Production Design & Art Direction: Johan Kramer, Steffen Haars & From Form
Editors: Kevin Whelan (Johan Kramer’s Film), Brian Ent (Steffen Haars’ Film), From Form (From Form’s Film)
Grading: Joppo @ De Grot (Johan Kramer & Steffen Haars’ Films), From Form + Joppo @ De Grot (From Form’s Film)
Online: Robin @ De Grot (Johan Kramer’s Film),
VFX: Thaumar Rep, Shosho (Steffen Haars’ Film)
Sound Design: Marcel Walvisch (Johan Kramer & From Form’s Films), Arno Willemstein (Steffen’s Film)
Music: Sjam Sjamsoedin