Michel Gondry's skills run in the family it seems. Younger brother Olivier is following in his footsteps with a highly ambitious ad. It was a brave move, particularly in light of the fact that it is also his commercials' debut.
The brief for Partizan's young director was to create a memorable ad, in the same vein as Nationwide's innovative stop-frame ads which ran in the 90s.
The idea was also to portray how Nationwide adapts to our continually changing lifestyles.
The creative team Rob Burleigh and Dave Beverley at Leagas Delaney were impressed by the Kylie video 'Come into my World' in which multiple images of her appear in a loop. The clever piece was co-directed by the Gondry brothers.
"It's technically superb, and we knew that if we wanted to do something similar, we needed the directors on board," says Burleigh.
Olivier Gondry was more than happy to handle the job himself, but perhaps didn't fully appreciate the scale of the task.
"We gave Gondry a month in post and just left him to it. When we went to Paris to check up on the film, we barely recognised him - he looked 10 years older!" says Burleigh. This was partly down to the fact that the two spots 'Mortgages' and 'Current Account' had so many layers (the former had 87) and if the wrong take was used or something went wrong, Gondry had to start all over again from scratch.
In order to achieve the effects, the team rehearsed with stand-ins for two days, the action timed precisely with the use of a metronome in sync with the timecode on the camera.
In 'Mortgages', the actors were filmed against a green screen and the street behind was the result of four separate shoots at locations across London. The camera angle and the distance the camera was travelling had to be repeated precisely. (One of the houses was on a hill, which obviously didn't help matters).
All in all, it was a difficult and nerve-wracking shoot according to Burleigh, although the hard work paid off in the end:
"The Kylie video tells a story in minutes whereas we had more people, more action and only 37 seconds to tell the story in."
We reveal more of the 'Making of' on our DVD.