Gyro and Lightborne team up for Lee Cooper Jeans ad campaign

Motion design and production collective Lightborne recently created a multi-pronged campaign for Lee Cooper Jeans via ad agency Gyro. The campaign, which includes a long-format viral film, four TV commercials, moving video on European billboards and a large print component, was directed by Scott Fredette and edited by Tom Acito of Lightborne. Featuring The Rifles, an up-and-coming punk rock band based in the UK, the three-minute viral piece follows a lone tomcat wandering around London and encountering beautiful girls along the way. This footage is interspersed with frenetic shots of the band performing in a local pub with fans going wild.

"Tom's edit was so good we didn't need to embellish the spot with a load of superfluous graphics," remarks Chris Gliebe, Lightborne Creative Director. "We let the footage speak for itself, maintaining the raw feel that Lee Cooper was going for."

The concept behind the image campaign is to launch Lee Cooper jeans in the US. Lightborne wrote the treatment for the viral film and spots based on style frames provided by the client, and Director Scott Fredette and Executive Producer Scott Durban traveled to London for the several-day shoot at Filthy McNasty's Pub and sites in and around the city. Fredette chose to shoot on Varicam HD citing its portability, and off-speed/frame-rate ability. He also shot on Super 8 to create a gritty and low-art feel to the film. "Our task was to capture the vibe of Lee Cooper jeans, which is a workingman's/East Londoner's brand," explains Scott Durban. "We had to find the thread of a storyline that wasn't too salesy, had a narrative flow and also maintained its energy throughout the piece." "We went for a dirty, punk rock take on the viral piece," adds Scott Fredette. "This is a re-branding campaign for Lee Cooper and by using The Rifles, the idea was to position the brand at the forefront of groundbreaking. This underground approach pushes a band that hasn't quite broken out yet but is on the cusp of making it big." The Rifles were recently signed to the Right Hook/Red Ink label, which is part of Universal Publishing. For the shoot, Fredette and his team used very loose story threads - mainly filming the models in different scenarios and creating day-in-the-life types of vignettes. One challenge was that the live-action shoot also had to coincide with the efforts of a still photographer on the campaign. With the 8 hours of footage and basic story outlines from Fredette, Editor Tom Acito then spent several days reviewing the materials. "Once we knew wanted to focus on this tomcat and his escapades around London, then it became a lot easier to mold the narrative," comments Acito. "I cut several vignettes of 10 or so different settings such as the band performing and the models walking on the streets. I was then able to assemble these story chunks and start developing the story." For the band's show, Fredette and Acito had to make the venue appear as though it were filled with people, which they achieved through clever shots and frenetic edits. Acito also treated the HD footage using Sapphire plug-ins for color correction and adding graininess and flicker to the film. "Ultimately, the client wanted something that was unlike anything seen before," concludes Fredette. "It couldn't feel like a commercial and it couldn't be over-branded. This was about the conjunction of Lee Cooper and The Rifles, and setting the tone for this highly visual and dynamic campaign." In addition to the three-minute viral piece, the Lightborne team was responsible for creating five different commercials from the footage.

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