BMW's new wave of film activity is bound to get people talking.
Three brand new internet mini-movies, starring top-notch glitterati like the legendary James Brown, have been shot by critically acclaimed directors John Woo, Tony Scott, and Joe Carnahan through RSA films, with Ridley Scott and Jules Daly as their executive series producers.
The three big-budget, slickly-shot mini-dramas will claim as many viewers and column inches as the first groundbreaking series. But can the revolutionary commercial quick flick that hooked in consumers and got adland running around in excitement repeat its success a second time, now that everyone knows the format?
Last year, BMW attracted over 13 million viewers to its glossy, Hollywood-style shorts. This time, it is even getting its own TV channel to run for five weeks on DirectTV at the end of November, where all three new films can be viewed 24 hours a day.
First out is John Woo's 'Hostage', a taut action-thriller. Clive Owen, who has settled into the role nicely as chauffeur extraordinaire, is hired to deliver ransom money for a distinguished CEO who has been kidnapped. Next is 'Ticker', Carnahan's political espionage, and the third is Scott's comedy about a rock star, starring James Brown, who sells his soul to the devil (Gary Oldman) - driven there, of course, by Owen in the BMW.
A campaign which has thoroughly deserved its headlines is the latest Mars ad, 'Earth.' Described as Levi's-esque in its production values, it's really the twist in strategic creative thinking that has earned 'Earth' all the accolades.
The brand was desperately in need of a good freshening up and Mars needed to captivate its flagging audience and appeal more to youth, who make up 60-70 per cent of the target market. The client had little choice but to let the agency lead the way. Even so, D'Arcy Australia spent over six months sweating over the brief and trying to sell Mars the idea of a wacky parallel universe theme to hook the youngsters. The agency also scoured Australia to find the right director for the job. They were sent treatments of dusty red Mars themes by the bagful, so when local director Joel Pront's treatment of a futuristic, Earth-like world landed on the doormat, the agency welcomed it.
'Earth' is a funky, cool ad that's set on planet Mars and shows young Martians defying gravity and throwing back Earth bars. The tagline, "What you'd eat if you lived on Mars," tosses the old-fashioned "work, rest and play" slogan into the bin.
The campaign has impressed not only D'Arcy's peers in adland, but the media and, of course, consumers. It has attracted Australian press coverage by the bucketful, even though it was launched as a regional campaign with the potential to go global, it's attracted attention in France, Canada and nominated as number two spot in Adcritic.
Sadly, due to a global merger, D'Arcy worldwide is closing down and Mars has now moved its account to TBWA to realign with its other brands.
Finally, Spanish based agency S,C,P,F is attracting plenty of regional and national press coverage in Spain for its BMW ad. The spot observes the fragility of human beings in a series of cameos and close-ups of women, children and the aged. According to Phillip Rouget at S,C,P,F, the ad has wooed Spanish viewers with a sensitive, documentary-like approach to selling cars.
SCPF'S award-winning 'love to drive' BMW campaign has been running for four years, but it's this last ad that's really made an impression on Spanish audiences.