Responses by Marcelle du Plessis, creative director/copywriter
Background: South Africa has almost 1,000 alcohol-related deaths on its roads each month. We wanted to create something provocative that would bring devastating long-term after effects of drinking and driving to life.
Reasoning: We started with this idea of “What would a drinking and driving accident taste like?” Would there be hints of airbag, tar and regret? How would you package these unique “tasting notes?” What would it look like if we created bottles that represented a night’s worth of bad decisions? From there, we started researching accidents and came up with the most common variations of a good time gone bad. We then wrote up these stories and briefed illustrators to bring them to life as labels. The results were beautiful liquor bottles that unsettled consumers when they realized we’ve literally bottled the aftertaste of drinking and driving.
Challenges: The heaviness of the subject matter. The forty-second spots “Grief,” “Remorse” and “Eternal Mourning” forced us to really explore these themes of grief, remorse and loss. We did countless re-recordings of voiceovers and vocals, trying different songs and parts of the same songs to make sure that we got the tone right. The recordings with the voiceovers and singers were particularly challenging. Getting someone to do take after take of the saddest thing they can think of is not easy, and we had to spread the recordings out over several sessions. But, our artists soldiered through and the end results were great.
Favorite details: The labels on the bottles. They are such beautiful representations of a night gone wrong. We worked with talented illustrators to create these, and they set a benchmark for the level of craft that we brought to the videos. We ended each spot on these incredible labels.
Visual influences: For the labels, most of our references came from existing alcohol branding. For the videos, our references came from dashcam footage and technique videos that 3-D artists put up on Instagram—the ones where people collapse into water or deflate like balloons.
Time constraints: We had a tight schedule, so we had to be clever with what we showed on screen and what we could render out. For example, we knew that animating a whole car would take too long, so what if we just broke a car down into smoke and lights? The more we started stripping away from the scenes, the more ominous the whole thing started to feel. It saved us time and brought this interesting dream-like approach to the spots.
Anything new: We learned about the value of a great song. When you put a track that everyone knows and associates with a certain feeling, it makes it a hundred times easier to get people to feel what you’re trying to tell them. We tried all of these spots with different monologues and voiceovers, but as soon as we put in the music tracks “You Are My Sunshine” and “End of the World”, it elevated the whole campaign.
Alternative approach: We would have started the music negotiations earlier.