’If you’re 18 and you have a choice between a safe product and a
dangerous one, you’ll choose the dangerous one,’ HHCL & Partners’
creative, Al Young, says. The agency’s latest Metz commercial gives the
product an element of danger.
The ad follows HHCL’s ’freelance scientist’ spot for the Schnapps-based
drink. Ian Williamson, the art director, and Jonathan Burley, the
copywriter, fashioned a Lewis Carroll-inspired ode to the creepy
’Judderman’ and his bizarre world. Their strategy was to evoke a
character who, like the drink, is beguiling, mysterious and cold. The ad
also emphasises the drink’s kick as a ’judder’’, as in the previous
To direct the spot they chose Enda McCallion, the Irish-born director
who signed to Spectre last July. McCallion’s previous work included a
banned Renault spot featuring two cars in flagrante, and two for the
Citroen Saxo, ’mad cow’ and ’ring of fire’, paying homage to the films
From Dusk Till Dawn and Alien. McCallion stood out from the shortlist of
possible directors, according to Burley, because of his mischievous
sense of humour.
McCallion talks with a daunting rapidity about his interests.
Inspiration for ’Judderman’, he says, came from early European cinema;
the Czech animator, Jan Svankmajer, especially his 1988 film, Alice, and
the ’junk opera’ of the cult Cincinnati band, The Tigerlilies, based on
the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm. As McCallion lay in a hospital bed
in Paris recovering from an ear infection that had affected his balance,
the ideas came together.
The result was a spectacular vision of an icy wilderness, populated by
shivering peasants under the Judderman’s hypnotic spell.
For atmosphere, the shoot took place in Budapest with an adapted
hand-cranked Arri camera, used to replicate the variable shutter speeds
seen in early cinema. Dissolve effects were made by taking double
Post-production on Flame was undertaken at London’s Glassworks facility,
including transferring the flickering feel of the hand-cranked camera to
the few shots that needed a modern camera.
The art director on the set, Nikos Meletopolous, constructed a fantastic
set, to which digital matte backgrounds were added by Jean-Marie Vives,
whose previous work includes Alien 4 and Delicatessen. Elements of
animation and puppetry added to the storybook feel, with Budapest
puppet-makers employed to give the commercial its unique framing device.
Katy Minter’s vivid costumes were fashioned from wool and silk and
incorporated wood and vegetation. Much of the commercial’s charm comes
from the voiceover supplied by the half-Polish, half-Czech actress,
Alicia Suszka Fielder.
The atmospheric music and sound design was provided by Srdjan Kurpjel of
the London company, Mind the Sound.
The Judderman’s shadows were allowed to fall across the matte background
and the animation was kept deliberately crude. McCallion describes the
whole process as one of ’playing around with ideas and perspectives -
bringing order to chaos’. But there is clearly enough chaos left to make
this a commercial with repeat value and which has, to quote the copy,
’teeth, and sharp ones at that’.