There was no telling just how far Ireland/Davenport was prepared to go in order to find the best way to highlight BMW's EfficientDynamics philosophy. Or in this instance, it was more a case of just how far down they were prepared to go, as the agency plunged to the depths of the Red Sea to communicate BMW's environmentally conscious message in the latest TV commercial for the brand.
Ireland/Davenport Head of Strategy, Jason Knight, explains the background thinking behind the creative execution, “The new TV commercial is part of an integrated communications campaign intended to illustrate BMW's philosophy around increasing fuel efficiency and lowering CO2
emissions, without compromising on its fundamental commitment to performance and driving pleasure. The essence of the communication is: 'Less Fuel, More Performance' - a counter-intuitive statement which has formed the backbone of BMW's engineering philosophy over the past 30 years. BMW EfficientDynamics is a holistic philosophy encompassing a number of technologies and innovations all aimed at a single goal - maximising the joy of the drive from the least amount of fuel."
The 45-second commercial entitled “Diver” features world freediving record-holder, Guillaume Nery, in a re-creation of his most recent dive to the world record depth of 113 metres. The voiceover explains that although everyone has the same lung capacity and everyone breathes the same air, it is how the body is able to utilise the air that sets freedivers apart from the rest. The narration emphasises that diving technique and the perfect economy of movement are essentially what it takes to get the maximum performance out of just one breath of air.
Comments Ireland/Davenport BMW Business Unit Head, Bronwyn Krige, “The freediving analogy was perfectly suited to the concept of BMW EfficientDynamics. A freediver focuses on technique and economy of movement to conserve energy and maximise his diving performance on the minimum amount of air. In much the same way, BMW is able to maximise its performance by utilising its advanced technologies to economise on fuel and reduce emissions. As a result of these unique similarities we ended up with a very simple, yet powerful commercial that really depends on the incredible underwater cinematography and not much else to get its message across.”
Directed by Greg Gray of Velocity Films, the ad was shot underwater in Dahab, Egypt. Due to the great depths at which the ad was filmed, it was impossible for the crew to make use of a video take-off system for shooting and, as a result, both Gray and DOP Robert Malpage were forced to put their diving skills to the test in order to shoot under water.
Says Gray, “It was extremely difficult to shoot in such deep water because of the communication problems at that depth - it was impossible to use hand signals. But we were very lucky that Rob is a certified deep diver and his skill at shooting under water really came to the fore. The genuine talent behind the ad is his incredible ability to frame and give an artistic feel to the underwater shots. Everything you see in the ad was shot underwater by him - there was no trickery or clever tactics involved.”
Also assisting in the underwater shooting was French cameraman, Didier Noirot, whose extensive experience filming documentaries for oceanographer Jacques Cousteau proved invaluable to the crew. “Not only did Didier assist us by providing the cameras necessary for us to shoot at that depth, but he also helped us out by providing some technical know-how and a wealth of experience for shooting in deep waters,” comments Gray.
But whilst shooting in water is in itself a challenging process, the shoot was not without a few other complications. Explains Gray, “The shoot took place in a marine reserve which meant we weren't able to just drop anchor and start filming for fear of damaging the reefs below. So we had to tie our boat to another boat which was then attached to a mooring. The Egyptian authorities were also very strict about the length of time we could spend out on the water so we had quite difficult time restraints to adhere to. And bear in mind that Nery, our diver, had to go to great depths on each take which was obviously very taxing for him, so we had to give him enough time to recover between takes. Due to the very strict diving safety parameters we had to adhere to when diving at this depth, our time spent underwater each day had to be limited to a maximum of four hours, meaning we had to adhere to a very strict shooting schedule so that no one's safety could be compromised.”
Despite these difficulties, both the agency and client are delighted with the final product. Comments General Manager, BMW Brand Management, Xoliswa Ndungane, ”We are very pleased with the approach that Ireland/Davenport has taken with our new commercial. The analogy of the freediver suits our communication message perfectly and the final execution provides a very accurate and concise portrayal the BMW EfficientDynamics philosophy.”
Ends Ireland/Davenport Managing Director, Susan Napier, “We're immensely proud of this commercial and of our partnership with BMW. Being able to create ads such as this is any agency's dream.”
The BMW “Diver” TV commercial is currently flighting on DStv, M-Net and SABC channels 2 and 3.