The campaign, directed by Brian Williams, demonstrates the DriveGuard tyre’s ability to perform for up to 50 miles after being punctured by placing it into a trio of hazardous situations, featuring a nail, glass, and kerb.
Shot across four days in Slovenia, the films see a mother embarking on a journey through mountainous terrain in treacherous conditions. With her children in the back facing a potentially fatal situation, tension mounts as the family continues driving through the desolate area until the car collides with one of the hazards.
Following a moment of deathly silence, the family continues driving towards the safety of home thanks to Bridgestone’s cutting-edge tyre technology.
Briefed with keeping the films from straying into ‘horror movie’ territory, Williams developed an atmospheric problem-solution narrative without becoming alarmist. Williams explains: “The ‘how do we avoid horror?’ idea was important from the pitch through to the edit, and I was confident from a very early point that we could achieve a fight or flight feeling from the viewer. We wanted the adrenaline rush, rather than the fear.”
Two crucial elements were integral to the final film; a drone and, unexpectedly, a cocktail glass. Having used a small hobby drone to scope out the locations ahead of the shoot, Williams edited the rushes to create a mock-up of the final film before using a Red-equipped drone for the main shoot. “We edited the film down to the specific shots to show the drone team what we were aiming to achieve. They were brilliant, filming exactly what we needed in pretty much two takes, making the film look fantastic.”
The cocktail glass was placed in front of the lens to generate an in-camera effect. Williams explains: “We used the cocktail glass experimentally to give this slightly ‘off’ feeling. The diffraction of the light indicated that something was wrong with the situation and the tension ratcheted up through the commercial.
“Both the drone and cocktail glass had such a fabulous effect on the final outcome. That’s what I love the most; whether you’re using something as sophisticated as a drone or as simple as a bit of glass, you can still achieve great results.”
For the ‘Nail’ film, Williams made the decision to film the puncture practically, without CGI. He explains: “There were so many variables in terms of how we were going to execute the shot. The tyres were incredibly hard to puncture, so building the rigs and ensuring we could get the right shot was quite a complicated procedure – in the end we used a concrete nail gun to pierce the tyre. We basically had this mad scientist’s experimental room set up because, ultimately, nobody knew how it was going to go! We must’ve got through twenty tyres in total but I’m incredibly proud of how it finally turned out.”
DriveGuard is the latest Bridgestone project that Bang, Brian and JWTI have collaborated on, following on from 2013’s ‘Everywhere’ campaign. Ian Thomas, ECD of JWTI, comments: “I’ve worked with Bang for a long time, having shot with them a dozen or so times, and, frankly, they take my scripts and make them better. Working with people I trust, like Jeremy (McWilliams, Executive Producer at Bang), makes life a lot easier as I know I’ll get something of it that I’ll enjoy producing and being a part of. I’ve shot with Brian a number of times and he’ll always bring something extra to a film. They’re so easy to work with; they take all the pressure off, and you know you’re going to get something special. Not only do you get professionalism, they put a lot of heart and soul into it and they’re just fantastic.”
Williams concludes: “I really enjoy working with Ian (Thomas, ECD, JWTI), he’s one of the best creative directors I’ve ever worked with and he always pushes us for a really good piece of film. It sounds corny but it spurs you on to do better work. Hopefully, in the future we can get more innovative.”