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Ireland/Davenport goes to great depths with new BMW TV commercial

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.

Click here to view the ad [4MB]
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.

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Collective ID
Collective ID is a fully empowered and South African boutique communications agency that is committed to coming up with creative ideas to help clients solve business challenges and sell their product. We have grown from a staff complement of three to a fully integrated, medium-sized agency with a huge heart and a big brain.
Much budget, little reward-
Without being pessimistic, how much did this ad cost? Cousteau's cameraman, Greg Gray etc... Is the outlay relevant to the reward???
Posted on 14 Aug 2008 08:23
Shwi nomtekhala
Why is that this ad is not on SABC 1? Is someone's target market profilling off or on point? I mean I don't ever remeber seeing a BMW ad targeted at the black market market, but i see more of these cars bieng driven by black people...and no, they did not steal them...well, hell - my point is that why not SABC 1? I know the primary TM of the channel is 16-24. But i'm willing to bet that more black people watch channel 1 as opposed to 2. I could be wrong...? Very nice ad, bu the way...
Posted on 14 Aug 2008 12:16
Donald Mokgale
why not sabc 1?-
Why is this ad not flighted on SABC 1? The highest selling dealership in the country is in the JHB CBD on COMISSIONER STREET and is BLACK OWNED!! The perception of a black person about a beemer is that it is driven by those who are successful or those who have 'made it' which has led to black people being eternally loyal to this german brand, i must applaud BMW for neglecting its strongest market here really, BRAVO!!
Posted on 14 Aug 2008 14:55
on-point, truly truly 1st grade
Posted on 14 Aug 2008 16:14
Touches my soul-
I grew up freediving in Cape Town and PE - this ad really speaks to me and touches my soul! Could be a great sequel to The Big Blue... Well done again BMW and Ireland/Davenport!
Posted on 14 Aug 2008 16:39
Not a beemer driver however...
doubting Donald-
If a successful black man buys a beemer why wouldnt he buy dstv as well? and if he has dstv chances are he is in a higher LSM gruop and therefore more likely to be able to afford a beemer. WOW this is really complicated stuff! Damn you BMW for neglecting the people who cant afford your cars
Posted on 14 Aug 2008 16:56
Sheer diving pleasure-
Things are not always as they may seem. Clever idea, simply executed. For half of whatever you were thinking!
Posted on 14 Aug 2008 20:07
Another boring, k*k analogy beautifully dressed up.-
So they follow up their awful, done-before test pilot spot with this tripe. Hunts in their heyday created beautiful, relevant, surprising work for BMW. All Ireland Davenport have given us is first base analogy ads that would not get through the front door in a half-decent agency. What really galls is that they seem so bloody pleased with themselves at having dished up this sloppy thinking. It's about time they justified all the hype and actually became the hotshop they constantly make themselves out to be. Fox P2 and King James are clouting them out of the park. Note: this comment has been edited by the moderator.
Posted on 15 Aug 2008 08:37
you can't take the hood out of black-
Go to any house in Sandton (black house) at 6:30 - isidingo 7:30 indaba 8:00 Generations You can take us out the hood but you can't take the hood out of us. Donald stands corrected.
Posted on 15 Aug 2008 11:32
so only 5 bigillion.. wow!
Posted on 15 Aug 2008 15:25
Those grapes must be so sour...-
Sorry, but I must have missed the part where you stated your credentials..without which, it just seems like rants of a spoilt kid. But then again, I guess anonymity on the internet is a great thing because it allows one to say whatever one wished without ever having to face up to any consequences, or without having to back anything up with facts. Clearly the ad worked for BMW, otherwise they certainly wouldn't have paid all that money to have it made and then flighted, would they? And let's not forget that Ireland/Davenport's previous TV ads are now flighted in other countries too... maybe you're suggesting that BMW clients worldwide are crazy and tasteless?
Posted on 20 Aug 2008 16:37
I think it's amazing. Well done to everyone involved.-
Another beautifully crafted piece. Nice work guys.
Posted on 22 Aug 2008 09:30
An amazing ad. And a worthy winner of Ad of the Month-
Brilliant work. Wish I had done it myself!
Posted on 22 Aug 2008 09:34
What a great ad. Excellent.-
Wonderful. More great work...
Posted on 22 Aug 2008 19:59
What a moving and wonderful ad!!!
Posted on 22 Aug 2008 20:00
Of international standards!-
Well done to BMW and Ireland Davenport!!...this is the kind of work that puts South Africa on the map!!
Posted on 27 Aug 2008 13:07
This ad is definitely being flighted on SABC. So your comments would be misplaced...-
This ad is definitely being flighted on SABC. So your comments would be misplaced...
Posted on 1 Sep 2008 10:50
Shado' .
Big up!-
I love the ad. And I'm a lady so I don't mind saying that BMW finally made an ad with a guy as hot as their cars...mmm
Posted on 1 Sep 2008 10:57