Following beautiful work on campaigns for Chevy Volt and Salt, live-action, design and animation specialists Gentleman Scholar brought the full force of their production expertise to an elegant campaign for Qatar Foundation’s QF Radio. At the center of the campaign is an ambling dream of a spot directed, produced and post-produced by Gentleman Scholar, who worked not only with agency TBWA\Qatar, but also a marketing team assembled by the First Lady of Qatar who, as Chairperson of the Foundation, was actively involved in evaluating and approving the work during various stages of the creative and production process.
Anthem is at once an exercise in motion control, a stirring visual representation of radio, and a tribute to the distinct cultural elements of Qatar that the station covers. Gentleman Scholar Directors William Campbell and Will Johnson pulled off their first motion control project seamlessly, meshing a tapestry of the nation’s icons – including falconry, Arabian horses, and dhows – along with features from the radio station’s music, sports and entertainment programming, into a tumbling bundle of wires that serve as a physical manifestation of sound waves. In a postproduction feat, the studio modified Houdini in such a way as to allow the software to drive the animation of the wires, manipulating the wobbling stream so that it both represented and moved with the audio.
“Because this was their first visual spot, QF Radio was concerned with how we would pull off the visual representation of audio,” notes Johnson. “Gentleman Scholar looked at everything the station covered day to day and began connecting one thing to the next, bringing audio waves to life in a unique form that was both engaging and easy to absorb.”
The superbly artistic motion visuals – which aired in Qatar and Dubai and will soon debut in the US – lent themselves so readily to print that the campaign expanded into newspapers and periodicals, as well as enormous billboards around the nation. Gentleman Scholar also teamed up with an outside company to convert the spot to stereoscopic 3D for cinema.
Gentleman Scholar took extraordinary measures to satisfy the cultural specificity sought by the client, traveling to Qatar for the shoot to ensure that the particular breed of Arabian horse and iconic falcon were featured in the spot. “QF Radio was understandably very specific about accuracy in regards to their cultural symbols,” states Johnson. “A horse isn’t just a horse – we are talking about a very specific Arabian breed which ranks among the most recognizable and valuable in world, and wore make-up for the shoot. To do this spot right, it was vital for our team to travel to Qatar to experience life there.”
TBWA Worldwide CD Allan Manaysay sought Campbell and Johnson out for this special project after having had a great experience with the duo on a popular PlayStation spot several years ago. “Allan was vital in helping us secure work with the most powerful and politically important client we’ve ever worked for directly,” explains Campbell. “This was a very fun client to work with. And once we’d secured the project, the trust we had established through our previous collaboration with the agency gave us free reign to create.”
About Gentleman Scholar:
Gentleman Scholar is a group of solution-driven artists situated at the intersection of story, style and technology. Wielding extensive experience in strategy, live-action production, animation, digital and print, we help the world’s leading agencies and brands tell their stories.