Dentsu teams up with production service experts, Flatpack Films, to recreate the 1900s in glorious detail for gift retailer, Shaddy
Dentsu and Flatpack Films bring to life a heart-warming story for Japanese gift and lifestyle retailer, Shaddy, about a young couple’s quest to show their love through gifts. Shot in Hungary, the visually stunning campaign is adapted from O.Henry’s short story, The Gift of the Magi.
Directed in collaboration between Dokuwa Communications and Taiyo Kikaku, the film follows a poor, young couple who sacrifice their most prized possessions for love.
Early on, we see them gazing longingly at a shop window display filled with items they can’t afford. Driven by the desire to give the other a token of their love, each decides to make a sacrifice. At the film’s climax, the girl reveals that she sold her luscious locks to buy her partner a chain for his watch. He then reveals that he sold the watch to buy her a comb. The couple laugh at the irony and, recognising the mutual lengths they would go to for each other, embrace.
Hungary-based production service veterans, Flatpack Films, were the perfect partners for the project due to their rich understanding of the local area. It worked closely with Japanese production company, Taiyo Kikaku, and Hamburg-based production company, Dokuwa Communications, to deliver the complex shoot. Flatpack was recommended based on the strength of its vast international network, making it well-placed to understand the unique demands of the Japanese market.
Flatpack initially scouted and prepped the entire production in Budapest, but had to swiftly change plans when it became clear that a major head of state’s visit to the city would clash with the shoot. Working off a tight schedule, the production service experts scouted an entirely new city, new locations, secured permissions, and calculated logistics – all within one week.
The charming city of Esztergom was chosen for its beautiful historical architecture and for its picturesque island in the middle of the Danube river, which is displayed in all its glory in the emotional final scene. The shop window scenes were shot in Esztergom town square and Flatpack completely redressed an antique shop for the pawn shop scene.
Behind the scenes on set
Flatpack’s Producer, Zita Kisgergely, comments: “Shaddy was dedicated to achieving an authentic European period feel, so the settings and costumes had to be spot on, right down to the smallest detail. Our art department rose to the challenge, researching and sourcing the perfect period jewels and watches, and finding exactly the right type of lower-middle class costumes -provided by the amazing team at Peris, Madrid - to accurately reflect the status of the young couple.”
Director, Wakana Suzuki, third from left
The team completed five rounds of casting to find the perfect actors for the couple. With the cutting of the hair playing a clinching role in the narrative, Flatpack debated over whether to cast a long-haired actor and tuck the hair under a wig until the reveal, or vice-versa. Ultimately, it settled on a short-haired actor and used a high-grade wig, which was cut in close-up – the speed and movement of the falling hair took hours to perfect.
DOP, Tetsuya Kondo, right
“It was a pleasure to work with the Japanese team on this project,” comments Zita. “In all my years in production, I haven’t come across a more meticulous approach. Their attention to detail is both mesmerising and hugely impressive, and it was exciting to demonstrate Flatpack’s ability to match this high standard. We’ve proud to have been a part of this amazing project.”
Ken Hagen Takenaka, Executive Producer and Founder of Dokuwa Communications, comments: “Working with the Flatpack team in Hungary was a great experience. Everything was well-planned and organised, and we became good friends by the end!”
The campaign is now live on TV and online in Japan.
Behind the scenes on set