Kevin Ward of bi-coastal Original has directed a new, action-driven campaign for CASIO in which extreme athletes test the ultimate toughness of the company’s new G'zOne Commando™ wireless phone. Conceived by The Richards Group, the campaign comprises six spots and features elite athletes from surfing, BMX racing, adventure running and other sports.
In one spot, a boxer pounds a phone strapped to a heavy bag. It survives. In another, three phones are strapped to the hood and undercarriage of a rally car that then proceeds to roar through a rugged, dirt course. The phones continue to work flawlessly. The spots end with the tagline, "Shock resistant…water resistant…life resistant."
Ward, who began his career as a stuntman and stunt driver, is an expert at staging and recording extreme action. He shot the six spots in four days while utilizing locations ranging from desert mountains to the beach. A variety of cameras were employed to record the action, including compact DSLRs that could be harnessed to the cars and bikes, and a helmet cam worn by the runners.
"I had an advantage with this campaign in that I have personally participated in all the activities it shows,”"says Ward. "I know when an athlete is the real deal and whether a performance is believable."
The production schedule was extremely tight, and the action sequences required careful planning, yet the feeling on the set remained relaxed and improvisatory. "The creative team from The Richards Group was a dream to work with—so confident and comfortable," Ward recalls. "They let me do my thing and offered incisive input."
Ward also had praise for the product, noting that even after the cameras were off, the crew continued to try to damage the phones. "The product is badass," Ward says. "We couldn’t kill it."
Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas. Chuck Schiller, creative director/writer; Aaron Thornton, creative director/art director; Paul Nelson, producer; Craig Atkinson, brand manager.
Production: Original, Culver City, Ca. Kevin Ward, director; Marc Lasko, executive producer.