IDEA: Shooting a commercial is hard enough. But shooting one entirely underwater? Are you crazy?
Brazilian agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi decided it was doable, and would be a great way to advertise Skol's new Beats Senses beer. The idea was simple: The Beats Senses bottle has a deep blue color, and so a party scene underwater would be the perfect way to advertise it.
But the production of the 60-second spot was, of course, anything but simple. From the set design to the lighting to the camerawork and talent, the creatives knew they were in over their heads—and they required some ingenious techniques to bring the concept to life.
COPYWRITING: There isn't much to the script. More of a short music video than a plot-driven ad, it opens with pulsating house music, as sound waves from an audio speaker ripple through deep blue water.
It turns out we're at a dance party—except everyone is submerged. "The first time I read the script and understood they wanted to do an underwater party, I thought, 'Wow,' " said director Jonathan Gurvit. "This is a unique opportunity to create a magical space with a unique environment that makes you want to be there. Yes, a party is a party, but what if we add some characters and details so visually amazing that makes it hard to forget?"
As the spot progresses, we see a guy passing out beers by floating them to friends. Everyone is dancing, not at all weighed down by the water around them. There are a few particularly eye-catching moments—one woman in roller skates is "walking" a shark on a leash (we later see a jellyfish floating around); another man is busting moves in a bizarre suit festooned with lights.
At the end, a man and woman float above the crowd, come together and kiss. There is no dialogue or voiceover. On-screen text at the end reads, "New Skol Beats Senses. Blue on the outside. Mysterious inside."
ART DIRECTION/FILMING: The agency shot inside a special diving pool in the Ibirapuera district of São Paulo, building a structure 15 feet down that anchored the sets. The director used a regular camera with a special case to shoot underwater, along with some waterproof LED lights, and some disco lights that needed their own cases.
Divers with oxygen tanks were always positioned just outside the frame, ready to assist the actors. "We had many people submerged at the same time, very deep, and everyone with weight on their bodies so they could move and dance without naturally going up to the surface," said Gurvit. He communicated on set by using something familiar to synchronized swimming teams—an aquatic speaker.
TALENT: Casting was one of the most important jobs, and the sessions were themselves held underwater. "I met a lot of young guys with a unique talent to hold their breath underwater," Gurvit said. "I searched for all kinds of people. Normal people. Divers. Swimmers. Synchronized swimming girls. People who would be five meters underwater with their face relaxed, just happy, having fun and without hesitating." They also had to look like the target market—young party types.
SOUND: The music is the Tropkillaz track "Baby Baby." "I thought it had good power and a crescendo that could work out well to generate a music video clip rather than a beer spot," said Gurvit.
MEDIA: The spot is airing nationwide in Brazil on both broadcast and cable television. The campaign will also include digital media and promotions around the idea of unveiling the mysteries of the night.
Client: Ambev (Skol Beats Senses)
Agency: F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi
Executive Creative Director: Fabio Fernandes, Eduardo Lima
Creative Director: Theo Rocha
Creatives: Theo Rocha, Rodrigo Visconti, Pedro Hefs
Agency Producers: Victor Alloza, Renato Chabuh, Gisele Campos, Maira Massullo, Rafael Paes
Account Supervisor:s Marcello Penna, Ricardo Forli, Rafael Cappelli, Marcela Paiva, Bárbara Gomes
Media: Fábio Freitas, André Cais, Bruno Storace, Ricardo Barros, Vivian Simões, Thalles Reis
Planners: José Porto, Guilherme Pasculli, Victor Marx, Felipe Santini, Livia Pinheiro
Production House: PBA Cinema/Produtora Associados
Director: Jonathan Gurvit
Executive Producer: Mayra Gama
Production Designer: Muriel Rañi
Cinematographer: André Faccioli
Executive Producer: Mayra Gama
Producer: Luiz Armesto
Editor: Rami D'Aguiar
Finalizador: André Baltrusaitis
Postproduction: Clan VFX
Sound House: Tesis
Sound Design/Arrangement: Leandro Beraldo, Silvio Piesco
Voiceover: Carolina Manica
Music: Tropkillaz "Baby Baby"