Gravity Road’s Creative Director Shruti Veeramachineni on the thinking behind Three’s bizarre new film
A hybrid of yoga instructor, cult leader and electrical goods salesman, the priest of streaming in Gravity Road’s new film for Three is one of the most unusual characters you’re likely to meet in a piece of branded content. Despite being made for a client that carries 35% of the UK’s mobile data traffic, the Tom Geens-directed short has a surprising streak of twisted comedy a mile wide and feels like a sketch straight out of cult comedy The League of Gentlemen.
Based on user insight from Three’s The Binge Files research, which has revealed that 44% of 16-24 year olds watch more than an hour of streamed content on their phones daily and 46% binge because they can’t wait for the next episode, the short film is a parody of this behaviour, assuring us that our addiction is OK. We should accept the streaming into our hearts and binge on.
Unsure of exactly what this film was, LBB’s Alex Reeves checked with Creative Director Shruti Veeramachineni to begin to understand the weirdness.
LBB> What was the original brief from the client?
Shruti Veeramachineni> Three wanted something disruptive from the outset. The challenge was to highlight the benefits of the proposition without it becoming a campaign focused just on the streaming partners.
LBB> Can you explain the strategic insight?
SV> Typically, binge watching is something we all do in the comfort of our own homes, whether that be on the couch in front of the TV, or in bed with a laptop. With this newfound freedom, we thought about how we could encourage Three’s customers to get 'binge body ready'.
LBB> Did you do any extra research as an agency? Maybe into yoga instructors or cult leaders?
SV> We actually worked with Three on The Binge Files research. We are also lucky enough to have a few yoga bunnies in the office who provided some great tips. Sadly we couldn’t recruit any cult leaders.
LBB> And how did that lead to this strange film? It's bonkers!
SV> It all started with an idea of a binge/yoga retreat. The more the idea got pushed to be socially brave, the edgier it got.
LBB> The tone of the film is quite dark for a piece of branded content. Did you have any trouble convincing Three to go with it?
SV> At Gravity Road, we’re all about creating culture moments and content people actually want to spend time with. Luckily for us, Three is a brand that wants to create mobile internet culture, not follow it. When your core audience spends their day on Reddit, you've got to turn up the weird and funny or you might as well go home.
LBB> What was it about Tom Geens that convinced you he was the right director?
SV> Tom’s vision was so strong that it just had to be him. He has a very distinct and unique way of directing, so we felt he was spot on for this 'culty' film. Check out his award winning feature Couple in a Hole
LBB> The casting, costumes and general look of the film all help it to realise its disturbing potential. Can you explain the thinking behind some of those decisions?
SV> We spent a very long time making everything look as ordinary as possible. That is what makes it funny and disturbing.
LBB> Was it all down on the page before the shoot or was there room for improvisation?
SV> It was all down on the page, but Tom really pushed the actors so they were genuinely performing on the edge. The DoP also worked his magic by shooting in a genuine electronic store in Cricklewood, which was fresh out of 1994.
LBB> Should we be terrified of this growing cult of binge watchers? Or should we welcome the stream into our consciousness?
SV> Both! Binge responsibly is what I would say.