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The Secrets of Heineken's The Switch

TBWA\NEBOKO's Sander Volleman talks us through the slick new spot

The Secrets of Heineken's The Switch

With its speak-easy vibe and in-camera trickery, the latest Heineken spot ‘The Switch’ puts us in mind of a steam-punk Bugsy Malone. And with Stink’s Martin Krejci behind the camera and a stonking sound track, it’s also a whole lot of fun. We caught up with Sander Volleman, the TBWA\NEBOKO copywriter behind the spot to find out more.


LBB> How would you describe the spot?
MK> Three guys enter a shabby old bar. Not the best place to end up in the middle of the night, or so it seems. When they order Heineken however, everything changes. Thanks to the bartender, who not only serves them the perfect beer, but the perfect bar to go along with it.
LBB> The Switch put me in mind of a prohibition-era speak-easy. What were your inspirations?
MK> While developing the spot from the original script, we - together with director Martin Krejci, very much liked the idea of hidden rooms and secret walls. And the way all machinery starts moving by the turn of a handle. We loved bringing the oily, steamy magic of the old days into the story.
LBB> What was the brief like from Heineken and what were the key challenges you faced?
MK> The magic of a perfect Heineken is in a perfect serve. A true Star Serve. We tried to visually translate that message in the spot. 
LBB> The music is sensational - what was it about the track and Clairy Brown's voice that made it so right for the job?
MK> Usually it can be quite a struggle to find the right music for an ad. But when Massive Talent found Clairy Browne, we immediately knew we hit the right track. She has such a great voice, capturing the retro raw vibe we were after and combining it with a classy club feel. 
LBB> You worked with director Martin Krejci at Stink - why was he the right man for the job and what was it like working with him?
MK> Bringing in Martin was partly thanks to our client, who happened to be just as big a fan of his work as we are. The script needed a strong director with a clear and focused view on all the transformations we wanted. We felt it had to be more than ‘just’ a transformation: we wanted it to be greasy and steamy and most of all: real. Martin had the perfect interpretation.
LBB> Why do you think this spot will appeal to the average Heineken drinker?
MK> We think the spot relates to the experience we’ve all encountered one time or another. Ending up in a shabby bar, where nothing is really happening. But when you got your mates with you, and the beer happens to be just right, it can very easily result in the best night ever.
LBB> In terms of the art direction, what were you trying to evoke?
MK> For us, key was to make it feel real. That’s why almost all transformations in the spot were hand made and filmed real time. It put extra pressure on Martin Krejci, and certainly made shooting a lot more complicated, but it gave the story the edge we were looking for.                


Creative Art: Niels de Kuiper
Copy: Sander Volleman
Creative director: Jeroen van de Sande
Producer: Rosemarie Praaning
Account: Patritia Pahladsingh, Jascha Hoogendijk, Joeri Bakker, Jeroen Konings
Strategie: Daan Remarque
Production: Stink London
Director: Martin Krejci
Executive Producer: Edward Grann
Producer: Malachy McAnney
Offline Editor: Fillip Malasek 
Music: Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes
Intro music: The Ambassadors
Sound: studio The Ambassadors
Grading: Scott Harris (Glassworks) / Seamus O’Kane (The Mill)
Post production: Glassworks Amsterdam
Set art director: Max Gottlieb
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