So what was it like to work with Jamie Foxx? 140 BBDO Executive Creative Director Ivan Johnson says the multi-talented Hollywood star left the Oude Meester film set crew in awe. “He was humble and professional at sticking to the script, yet talented enough to add value by sometimes improvising.”
The result is an advert that has set the social media world abuzz since it recently hit SA’s tv screens. It was 140 BBDO’s job to redefine the brandy category and they wanted someone who would embody the spirit, status and achievement of the longstanding brand.
“Foxx was the perfect ‘New Master’ for the Oude Meester (Old Master),” says Johnson. He is instantly recognisable and well-known for mastering all that he does. As an Oscar Winner, Grammy Winner, award-winning comedian and talented musician, he was undoubtedly the right man.
Just like a good brandy the extraordinary takes time. In this case it took months of late night calls between 140 BBDO and Foxx’s LA and Toronto management before the deal was finally sealed.
Distell were suitably stirred and shaken by the new campaign, when presented, and actively encouraged the agency to find a global icon to give the brand a competitive new relevance and sexiness. “That’s how serious we are about reinvigorating the category. Brandy is at the heart of our business,” says Global Marketing Director: Spirits, Martin Scoble. “Tight times call for bold marketing and advertising.”
BBDO SA creative chief, Mike Schalit, relished the challenge. “Our industry in this country so often creates world-class work yet often sells itself short in terms of truly investing in its advertising campaigns. Why let global campaigns impose on us, lets initiate our very own from here. We need to push ourselves and our clients to go way beyond if we truly want to shoot the lights out on sales and brand awareness. Hey, go big on your ads and watch the caseloads roll out of the store.”
The commercial opens with Foxx contemplating a bottle of Oude Meester’s finest which boasts the head of polymath Benjamin Franklin. He reflects on his legacy of achievements in comparison to Franklins. Hmm, perhaps he still has a way to go? After all, Benjamin Franklin’s face adorns the American $100 bill, he tamed electricity and fought for human rights. Foxx suavely concedes to the mastery of Ben: “Man, he even has his head on this bottle”. His final words create a memorable toast: “To the Dude Meister. Respect”. It is a moment that unites Franklin and Foxx, the old master and the new.
Johnson recalls the ease with which Foxx played the keys of the Steinberg piano shown in the ad. “It reminded us that he is a Grammy Winner. And the respect he earned from the real boxers on the film set also reminded us that this was an actor who played boxing legend Muhammad Ali in the film titled ‘Ali’.”
Greg Gray of Velocity was bestowed the honour of directing the Oscar winner. He says, “Life is not all bad as a director when you end up spending four hours in the back of a Rolls Phantom shooting the breeze with Jamie Foxx.”
The commercial is new on our television screens, however, Johnson says the response so far has been astounding with much kudos across Twitter, Facebook and www.oudemeester.co.za.
The entire campaign involves more than television. It includes print, outdoor, in-store, on-consumption, activations, on-line and ‘Blue Door’ events.
Misha Taylor did the stills photography of Jamie Foxx. So impressed were the Foxx management, they threatened to pack him into their luggage and haul him back to LA.
“Salute to all the masters on this one,“ concludes Schalit. “What a cool reminder just how vital ‘masterful’ talent is to our business. To see the best of SA creativity happily rubbing shoulders with the recognised giants of the global village is inspiring stuff. Why can’t one of South Africa’s finest brandies be right up there as a global icon too? Cheers to a bold, visionary client and success by the truckload.”
(To view the advert: www.140BBDO.com, Oudemeester.co.za, Velocityfilms.com or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX5MsqKI1oM&feature=player_embedded)
ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN RATIONALE:
When 140 BBDO was tasked by Distell to revitalise the brandy category by making one of their flagship brands – Oude Meester Brandy - relevant to the contemporary consumer they looked no further than the bottle itself.
Creative team Mike Pearson and Ross Nieuwenhuizen, lead by Ivan Johnson, asked themselves: “Could we turn the familiar bust known as ‘Impandla’ (the bald one) from something old school into something real cool?”
”Can you imagine our excitement when we uncovered that the icon was in fact Benjamin Franklin - Printer, scientist, inventor, humorist, musician, diplomat and signatory on the American Declaration of Independence,” says Johnson. “A master at everything he had done. Hey, here was the original ‘oude meester’. What a cool icon.”
“Mastery isn’t exactly a stranger to this award-winning brandy. The magic was all lurking in the bottle, we just somehow needed to liberate it,” adds Pearson and Nieuwenhuizen. The innovative duo then created ‘To The Masters’ - a toast of acknowledgement to the old masters by the new.’ That was the eureka moment and the inspiration behind what has become an extensive advertising campaign.