The story behind an otherworldly trip to the Chilean Atacama Desert
Sony Bravia’s new OLED television is so impressive that the only to portray such quality is with an otherworldly trip to outer space. And while the budget for this campaign didn’t quite allow for intergalactic space travel, DDB Berlin and director Ben Tricklebank have come pretty close. They travelled to the alien-like Chilean Atacama Desert, to locations so remote that they had to dig their own roads, to capture a dream-like campaign in which viewers watch Earth rising over its own horizon. LBB’s Addison Capper spoke with DDB Berlin executive creative director Gabriel Mattar to find out more.
LBB> Tell us about the inspiration for this film and how the design of the new TV informed it.
GM> Our inspiration came from the brief; thanks to its frameless design, the new Bravia OLED provides people with a unique horizon-like viewing experience.
We jumped on this exclusive viewing experience immediately and decided that our ad should show people a horizon they’d never experienced before, just like the product itself. The challenge was to find such a horizon. After a couple of rounds of creative ideas, we found the Earth rising on Earth concept.
LBB> The setting is quite something. And as far as I know, you didn’t shoot this in a studio; it was shot in the Atacama Desert in Chile, right? Why this location? Tell us about the challenges of shooting at such a location.
GM> The Atacama Desert was the perfect place to shoot this as it looks so other-worldly that it could easily pass as a place on the Moon or another planet. Also, it's one of the world's best places to see the stars. But it was also our biggest challenge. The shooting location was very remote. We even had to build our own roads to get to our location. It was in the middle of nowhere. All equipment had to be trucked through the desert for three days, all people flown in. Also, we shot at night, which made changing locations on uneven terrain challenging and strained the crew as it deprived them of sleep.
LBB> How did you pull off the huge screen installation effect?
GM> We built a 16 x 10 metre wall in the desert and used post production to extend its size. Sony’s credo was always to do things the right way, so this was an important aspect for us.
LBB> It’s definitely got a bit of a retro vibe to it too - the space helmets, the vehicles remind me of old science fiction films. What inspired that decision?
GM> High-end cinematography. It should not feel like an ad, but like an epic and mysterious journey through a magical land. Like any Bravia campaign, the visuals needed to be stunning.
LBB> Why was Ben Tricklebank the right person to capture it?
GM> Ben’s DI spoke for him. He showed a deep understanding of the brand and also of the technical problems that come along with such a detailed production. Earth Rising is our second Bravia project together, so we obviously like his work.
LBB> I always thought that creating ads for the latest television technology must be an interesting task for a creative. You’re trying to demonstrate something that people quite likely can’t see yet because they still have an old TV… What kind of problems and challenges arise from this?
GM> That’s the beauty of this concept and of the wall installation. From the moment people are tricked to think Earth is rising on Earth, we are communicating such an incredible picture quality that it feels just like reality. On top of that, this reinforces the frameless design of the product. So the wall installation reinforces both aspects: picture quality and frameless design. You might not have this at home yet, but you are tricked to believe just that thanks to the Bravia OLED.
LBB> Sony Bravia films are always visually beautiful. How did you ensure this one is still fresh? What do you think sets it apart from previous campaigns?
GM> The Bravia OLED is a first for Sony – and so is the ad. For the first time the product is part of the idea and not only a pack shot at the end. Another aspect is the use of dark tones instead of the colourful world that is generally associated with the Bravia commercials. This was very important as the perfect balance of black tones is a real benefit of the OLED technology.
LBB> What were the trickiest components and how did you overcome them?
GM> We would like to have been able to build an even bigger wall, so we would not have had to extend its size in post production.
LBB> Any parting thoughts?
GM> We are very proud of our latest collaboration with Sony and we encourage people to visit the POS and see this film played on the new Bravia OLED. I challenge you not to buy one after that. The picture quality is out of this world.
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