This is about as cool as it gets when telling the history behind your brand. Johnnie Walker and BBH London got Scottish actor Robert Carlisle to narrate the story while walking through the misty Scottish highlands. Shot in one continuos take (#40 to be exact) this really shows off the acting chops that Carlisle possesses as he delivers the 5 minute+ bit while interacting with various props along the way (my favorite is when he gets a drink). Jamie Rafn was the director.

To convey the relentless spirit of the men who created, arguably, the world’s first global brand, we decided to create the longest tracking shot in advertising history. The film was deliberately constructed to make it impossible to hide any invisible cuts. Risky stuff. We also decided very early on that only Robert Carlyle had the skill and charisma to tell this story. As the light failed on the second day of shooting, with only 1½ useable takes in the can, the incredible Mr Carlyle nailed it on his 40th and last attempt.

Agency: BBH, London Agency Producer: Ruben Mercadel Creative Director: Mick Mahoney Senior Creative / Copywriter: Justin Moore Art Director: n/a Director: Jamie Rafn Production Company: HLA, London Producer: Stephen Plesniak Director of Photography: George Richmond Post Production & City: Glassworks, London Editor & Company: Kate Owen, Marshall Street Editors, London Shooting date: July 2008
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Comments (3)

  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Lovely. Makes me want to stand up and applaud.

    Aug 07, 2009
  • James_Trickery's picture
    James_Trickery

    Is that a commercial or the worlds most expensive corporate film?

    Aug 07, 2009
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    A pal on adlist (adgrunt Alec) just tipped me to the discussion about this ad going on in steadicamforums. Figures I'm not the only one squinting at zooms wonderng how did they shoot that. In the forums they have this;

    Got a reply from the DIT:

    The job was at least a year ago now, so some details are getting sketchy in my memory - I can't remember what lens it was but I think it might have been an Ultraprime, and I guess a 24 or a 32mm judging from how close Bobby was to the camera.

    It was a rickshaw, pulled by two grips, with a garfield mount plus steadicam, operated by George. I'm not sure if the beginning and end were stabilised, but they didn't need it - I remember there was a tiny bit of very organic, non-distracting movement in the original, so I think they have taken it out.

    They have done zooming in post on the actual frame during the shot, which ends up being a contrazoom, as the camera is coming further away from Bobby, but they have simultaneously zoomed in on the picture. Watch the background at 1.29 for eg. It's horrible. Again, unnecessary, as they seem to have done that just because they wanted a slightly tighter frame. I think there's another one later, but I don't have time to look for it now.

    We had one half day for technical rehearsal, then two days shooting for just this one take. I think we did about 30 in all... I'm pretty sure the one they used was the very final take of all three days.

    Aug 07, 2009

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