Toyota's remarkable performance in the Dakar rally has become the focus of their new ad for the Hilux. 2009 Dakar champion Giniel de Villiers took the Hilux in its debut in the Dakar to a third place finish. The concept was conceived by Agency Draftfcb and brought to film by Director Jonathan Parkinson for production company Fresh Eye Film Productions.
"The initial role of the ad was to let the country know of the local team and debut of the South African built Hilux in the race. With the final result and the podium finish, the ad became both an expression of the participation as well as a celebration of the victory," says Tian Van den Heever - Creative Director for Draftfcb.
The 9000km Dakar rally takes place over 15 days and is one of the most watched and most physically and mechanically gruelling automotive events of the year. Similarly, the filming of the commercial was a feat in logistics and timing for Parkinson and producer Martina Schieder from Fresh Eye.
With a trip to Namibia for the shoot, a small crew and a very limited time, it meant carefully choosing the right equipment that would be lightweight, easy to manipulate and provide a host of filming variations. The final product was pulled off by a team of only 4 in a total of only 2 hours - yes, 4 people in 2 hours, due to the limited time we were given with the cars and drivers.
Van den Heever continues, "Jonathan of Fresh Eye was an obvious choice to shoot this spot. Not only does Jonathan have experience in shooting both action and vehicles, but he's also and easy-going guy and an adventurer at heart. Good qualities when you're headed into the desert with a tiny crew and a tight deadline."
"We had originally been given three sessions of two hours each in magic light (sunrise /sunset), but due to technical problems with the suspension, we were cut to only two sessions - a total of four hours in which to shoot a commercial which under normal circumstances would have meant a full crew for two full days. I am really delighted with what we achieved, and what better place to be but in the Namib desert with these roaring beasts. Myself and James Adey on the two main cameras, with go-pros and drifters (miniature HD cameras) attached to various parts of the vehicles, Don - the Wildman of Walvis Bay in his landcruiser for hi-speed tracking, and a Microlite owned by the local doctor for the aerial footage!" says Jonathan.
"We had a fantastic shoot in the dunes with Jonathan and his crew. There was never a dull moment as the Fresh Eye team shot the Hilux from the side by tracking abreast of it at high speed, from above by following it in a microlight, and from inside with Jonathan holding on for dear life, while Giniel de Villiers put the Hilux through its paces."
"We're all delighted that we not only got to go on a really awesome shoot for a totally epic vehicle, but that it then also went on to do so well," says Van Heever.
"To use a well worn cliché - this is undoubtedly the best fun you can have with your clothes on. Sometimes some of the best and most epic footage is achieved against the clock, with the sun setting, and a Team manager scowling at a ticking clock."