Responses by TBWA Paris
Background: Leica, the legendary German maker of photographic devices whose roots go back more than 150 years, is celebrating the commitment of photographers who bear witness to the world in a new international advertising campaign whose claim is “The World Deserves Witness.” This campaign is for Leica fans as well as for people who see poetry in the world.
Reasoning: In a time in which the act of taking a picture has become easier than ever—and too often careless and superficial—this campaign aims to highlight the value of looking at the world in a more meaningful way. Seeing those precious fragments of time in which the elements of the scene compose themselves through the lens and the photographer’s eye is unique and unrepeatable. That’s what Leica is all about: reflecting the world around us. This campaign describes the truth behind the brand and the products that have been manufactured for more than a century.
Challenges: Leica is a really “strong” brand. With this campaign, we wanted to please the Leica community, as well as engage people who do not use the Leica cameras. There was a thin line between being true to Leica’s DNA and being open-minded for a new audience.
Favorite details: We worked with some of the world most renowned photographers such as the acclaimed 82-year-old artist Joel Meyerowitz, and other photographers such as Sarah G. Ascough, Pierre Belhassen, Emil Gataullin, Gabriele Micalizzi, Justin Mott and Chris Suspect. Leica hasn’t produced a campaign during the past ten years, and we wanted to avoid showcasing overused pictures from the twentieth century that are part of our culture. We wanted to present what photography is today by gathering pictures from all over the world and on all kind of subjects. In the end, this campaign is making people remember a simple truth: Photography is an art.
Visual influences: Art direction–wise, we looked for months to find the right pictures that reflected our society today: its poetry, its conflict and our human condition. We dug into books, the internet and in Leica archives. We analyzed great pictures from the twentieth century to see how there were composed and what emotions they portrayed. Taking a look at painting masterpieces from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries also gave us clue to what we wanted. We realize how difficult it was to “make” or “take” a touching photograph. The inexpressible feeling of the art piece, the composition, the light, the depth, the convergence lines and the subject—all of that helped us create a campaign that we believe will change people.
Anything new: We discovered a new way of working during this COVID period. We were able to work remotely during the project’s phases: from the pitch, to the conception, to the production. The flow was hard at the beginning, but then became easier. We shared hundreds of pictures for the print campaign, and recorded Joel Meyerowitz’s voice for the manifesto video through an iconoclast sound engineering process. When everyone has the same will to do great work, things will always go smoothly.