LBB> When did you first begin on this brief for Peugeot’s Ramadan campaign?
Ash & Wael> We started working on the brief in early January, allowing ample time for collaboration with the client to develop a fresh approach for this year’s Peugeot Ramadan campaign. After several rounds of brandstorming, we settled on the concept of ‘The Land of Grace’.
LBB> What was the client keen to include in the spot and how did you work together to form this idea?
Ash & Wael> With the Landtrek being the newest addition to Peugeot’s line-up in the region, the client wanted to create something locally relevant for the pickup. It was tricky because Peugeot’s new guidelines that emphasise ‘The Power of Allure’ platform as minimalist with graphic backgrounds and monochromatic colour schemes, and Ramadan is full of textures and colours. So, we worked with the client to strike a balance that represents the brand while still honouring the local campaign's aesthetics.
LBB> For those who don’t know, can you explain some of the themes that the spot touches on and why they’re so reflective of the holy festival of Ramadan?
Ash & Wael> Ramadan is known as the ‘Month of Giving’ because God's kindness is reflected in people's actions. To symbolise the fertile land of Saudi and the surrounding region's generosity, we created a fictional village called ‘The Land of Grace’. This village represents the idea that God gives to people, who in turn share their blessings with others during the holy month.
LBB> The camera sequences mimic the hustle and bustle of the people in the spot. Can you tell us about the techniques you used and how you achieved the look?
Rouba> There were a few things that made that work really well. First, we used a handheld technique and zoom lenses that made the scenes feel really exciting and made the viewer feel like they were right in the middle of the action. Second, we filmed lots of different things from different angles, which helped us choose the best shots when we put everything together. This made the film feel really alive and showed how vibrant and generous these people from The Land of Grace were.
LBB> Were there any existing campaigns or pieces of work which you took inspiration from?
Ash & Wael> Inspiration plays a key role in ideation. For the execution of our campaign, we drew inspiration from the 2004 Kevin Garnett adidas commercial ‘Impossible is Nothing’, to showcase the one tonne loading capacity of the new Peugeot Landtrek pickup. We piled up everything from The Land of Grace in the truck bed, and while we initially planned to exaggerate the pile further, we had to prioritise customer safety and not go too over the top. As far as demonstrating the immense loading capacity, we think the film captures that nicely.
LBB> The visuals are very cohesive with orange and blue tones highlighting the entire piece. Can you tell us about the post production process?
Rouba> We intentionally selected this colour palette during the early prep stages to complement the Landtrek and the environment around the village, and further enhanced it with our colourist during the grading process. Our vision was to create a modern look, focusing on fresh blues and greens as primary colours. We also incorporated warmer tones such as oranges and reds to complement the overall colour scheme and fit with the regional colours of Ramadan.
LBB> There isn't any dialogue and so, music underpins the spot. Can you tell us about this decision and how you landed on the perfect music?
Rouba> We briefed our composer and began crafting the music track right from the start, even before we created the shooting board. This was vital to ensure that the music and shots were in sync in terms of storytelling and tempo. We worked on creating an Arabic melody with the right traditional rhythm, but with a contemporary feel that would make it catchy and memorable. We wanted the music to evoke a sense of familiarity and nostalgia - something distinctly Ramadani that has been etched into the minds of our audience for years.
LBB> The campaign is showing across several different markets. How did you ensure the spot was relatable across all of the countries?
Rouba> We were quite meticulous about the details, enabling us to cover the diverse range of markets; selecting the cast, scouting locations, creating the art direction and styling the characters. Our top priority was to make every element believable, authentic and relatable to the audience. The Land of Grace is a metaphor for the region, its people, and their spirit of generosity, and it was an exciting challenge to ensure that our film would resonate with viewers across the different markets. In addition to that, the end shot had different cities where Peugeot is present, which helped in targeting the markets.
LBB> How long did it take to create the campaign and were there any tricky elements to consider throughout the process?
Rouba> It took us a total of four weeks to complete this film from the time we started production until the final delivery. Our main obstacle was finding the perfect location to bring The Land of Grace to life. Luckily, we found a charming heritage village that we transformed with our art director to match our storyline. We were pleased with how the set complemented our narrative, producing an authentic and enchanting atmosphere for our film - it’s the kind of village you can see in most Arab countries.
LBB> What have the initial reactions been like so far?
Ash & Wael> The consensus among the majority of commenters is that our campaign approaches the Ramadan theme in a unique way, which has been one of our primary objectives since the ideation phase.
LBB> Are there any details or behind the scenes moments that you can share with us?
Ash & Wael> We like including animals in our films where possible (check our other films). Our initial idea for this film was to have a sheep, but sheep are notoriously difficult to work with so we went with chickens. Although we focused on one particular chicken in the film, we actually had four clucking companions on set. After the shoot, our director, Damiano, decided to take them home to join a community of our chickens in his compound. But the four of them are total divas - preferring to hang out with each other on his front lawn. Who knows what adventures they will embark on next.
LBB> Is there anything else?
Ash & Wael> This is the second Ramadan film we’ve done for Peugeot and we love this annual brief which gives us a moment in the year to tell a deeply relevant brand story. We’re looking forward to next year already!