We got involved early with Jason Fialkov on his most recent job ‘Headwinds’, for First National Bank. We chatted with Jason, over a red cappuccino, about how working with us in his treatment phase impacted the overall job.
If you haven’t seen the commercial yet, do yourself a favour and take a look:
Jason, tell us about the concept for FNB ‘Headwinds’:
So the whole campaign is about how FNB is here for you, how FNB can help you through financial trouble.
The message is simple: ‘we know times are tough, but we can help you’.
I thought the agency’s idea of using wind as a metaphor to portray these tough times was really beautiful. And then the moment of the ‘ping’ notification from FNB triggers this sense of relief.
It’s all about people going through everyday life with some kind of struggle, and I was really excited about this heartfelt approach to a commercial for a bank. It’s about people, and feelings. It really touches on the heart of what most South Africans are going through now. And this made it feel more like real-life than an ad.
So what did you do after you were briefed to treat on this project?
Well I wanted to see how it could play out. I took an actor and shot a little test just to see how the wind affects the performance, because it needs to be all about how the characters react to the wind, and how their performance changes when their cell phone pings with the ‘your loan is approved’ message from FNB.
But what was missing from this test was music and sound. It was critical that I find something that gives you the emotion and highlights the ‘ping’ moment without sounding cheesy. I wanted to be able to show the creative team at the agency how we could incorporate this moment into the score. So that’s when I reached out to James at Pressure Cooker Studios.
Tell us more how Pressure Cooker Studios solved this:
The team did a little pilot for me, to use over my test shoot for my treatment. I see things from more of a visual point of view, and they were able to translate the idea from a music and sound point of view.
I thought it was just so beautifully handled the way they incorporated the feeling of the wind into the track. There was a quietness, an airness to it which just worked so well.
What was also very important was to find that juxtaposition in the music when it changes from struggle, to happy times, to that relief moment. Which they managed to do, powerfully and beautifully.
How did having music and audio involved in this early stage bring value to your treatment?
I think if it wasn’t for this music pilot, I wouldn’t have been able to see what I was doing so clearly, it also helped the client to see as well. And having the track upfront really helped guide us in terms of the way we should shoot it.
It’s one of those situations where you can actually win or lose a pitch. Because everything was so well thought out in terms of how we were going to execute the job, with the camera, performance and music tests combined – it was just perfect for this job.
And how did the process of music and audio being involved in the pre-production phase impact the job overall?
A lot of times in advertising, unless you’re buying an original track, we leave music to the end. You know, you get into an edit and you’re sitting there and you’re going no, this doesn’t work, what’s gonna work better. So going in and having a clear idea of what music works with the concept was very important for this job. Because we don’t have the luxury of time anymore, productions are quick in and out and you don’t want to be wasting sitting in the edit suite. Having the pilot track upfront meant we managed to avoid this.
I really enjoyed this process and it’s definitely something to do again.
We get so excited when our values align with our collaborators and we can bring value to great work.
Give us a call if you want us to creatively conceptualize with you on your next project