I love this campaign. Through this deceptively simple vignette we capture the zeitgeist of our time by showing our hero and his two friends living their best life by showing off their mad skills while preparing to throw an amazing pool party. It has everything essential to create a wonderful lighthearted film - urgency, conflict, risk, obstacles, high stakes, and emotion.
It’s true, you’re not you when you’re hungry. You lack energy and become distracted, so you’re not a winner. That’s the problem, Snickers is the solution. We are building on the awareness of how Snickers satisfies by showing how once your hunger is satisfied you become inspired, and once you’re inspired you become an epic winner.
So, how do we show this?
By fueling these spots with the insatiable drive of our audience to pursue EPIC WINS.
TONE and STORYTELLING
This is a classic story about friendship and the joy of living. With a sly sense of humor we introduce our three friends setting up their party with a lighthearted sense of competition between them. They are not rivals, they are a team and the tone of this spot is the equivalent to whistling while you work.
The first two friends succeed in quick succession with their epic wins, setting the stakes for their friend, the hero of this story. When he fails, it’s a big deal. This is the guy that never fails.
His failure opens the door for us to reveal the real hero of our spot… Yep, Snickers to the rescue! This is where we elevate the storytelling with a sense of magical realism. One bite of the Snickers bar turns everything around - literally.
As we enter the scene, a modern house with sleek architectural lines, we find 3 MEN in their 20s in final preparations for an epic pool party. They are dressed in upscale casual attire, nice sneakers, colorful short sleeved shirts and contrasting shorts.
Our three men are lean, agile and subtly athletic. They are carefree and have a relaxed energy that bristles with an easy competitive edge. However, they are not competing with each other. They’re on the same team. They are in a competition to live their best life by pushing every moment they have and every action they take with a elegant flair of carpe diem.
IN RAPID SEAMLESS SUCCESSION:
GUY #1 has just finished setting up THE TIKI BAR. He sees his opportunity, SEVERAL HIGHBALL GLASSES 1 meter down the counter. He reaches into a bowl filled with ICE CUBES, scoops 3 into his hand and rapidly tosses them in a graceful arc, one right after the other, into 3 HIGHBALL GLASSES, “Plink! - Plink! - Plink!”
Not to be outdone, GUY #2, our DJ, swivels towards his TURNTABLE 5 meters away and Frisbee’s THE VINYL
ALBUM in his other hand through the air in a perfect hover that lands in a perfect bull’s eye on the platter, spindle through the hole!
GUY #3, our hero and the master of ceremonies, has witnessed his friends’ epic wins while sitting in the power position, floating on an INFLATABLE LOUNGE CHAIR in the pool.
He gives A SMALL RED BALL a nonchalant toss over his shoulder.
It is meant to hit THE RED PARTY BUTTON 10 meters away on the side of the house, the one that covers a junction box holding a Medusa of thick, colorful electrical wires that spider outward to every lighting element around the entire backyard.
His shot goes wide, IT BREAKS A SPOTLIGHT, and the lights remain off!
EPIC FAIL! HIS FRIENDS REACT! This is not their usual leader! He fires of a succession of small red balls! FAIL! FAIL! FAIL! EPIC FAIL!
What to do?! GUY #1 asks - MAX, YOU’RE NOT ON FIRE?!
GUY #3 is flustered!
GUY #1 declares - TIME FOR A SNICKERS!
He tosses a SNICKERS BAR through the air in a perfect tumble that lands in GUY #3’s palm, right side up with the label front and center!
GUY #3 tears the packaging open and bites into the SNICKERS BAR with the perfect munch of chocolate, peanut butter nougat, caramel and peanut satisfaction!
Coming out of the perfect product placement…
He flips his inflatable lounge chair into a spectacular barrel roll and… Emerges with a suave hairstyle, in super cool clothes, and completely dry!
GUY #1 ask - BETTER?
GUY #3 barks - BETTER!
Guy #3 is once again the leader his friends know and love, and the hero we need!
BAM-BAM, he tosses SMALL RED BALL over his shoulder and then a LITTLE YELLOW RUBBER DUCK across the pool…
The small red ball zooms through the air and slams the RED PARTY BUTTON!
THE ENTIRE SYSTEM IGNITES AND THE WHOLE BACKYARD IS AWASH IN BRIGHT COLOR!
The little yellow duck flies through the air, lands next to the turntable, bumps the arm into swinging out over the album, where it drops the needle into the vinyl groove and THE SPEAKERS ERUPT WITH MUSIC!
We celebrate HIS EPIC WIN as the backyard fills with their GUESTS and the party kicks into high gear!
CUT TO - BAR BREAK
We see the SNICKERS BAR break in the middle, cracking the chocolate, exposing the peanut butter nougat, peanuts and caramel.
V.O.: WHEN YOUR HUNGER IS SATISFIED, YOU’RE THE EPIC WINNER!
Before the Snickers Bar is completely broken and separated…
CUT TO - PACK SHOT AND PROMO TAG
CAMERA MOVES UP, WE SEE A SNICKERS PACK WITH THE TITLE: ON FIRE.
THE TITLE CHANGES to: ON TOP
THE TITLE CHANGES to: THE BEST
THE CAMERA MOVES UP AGAIN and WE SEE - THE PRIZES with SUBSCRIPTIONS and THE WEBSITE.
V.O. - BUY A SNICKERS AND WIN IMMEDIATELY AT SNICKERS.RU
THE EPIC WINS ARE REAL
How they will be achieved
The escalation of epic wins drives this story and the trick is to really do them for real! The tricks will be executed seamlessly in a series of elaborate, tracking, one-shots. Part of what makes this spot exciting is that each task escalates in terms of timing, complexity and difficulty. We will get well out in front of variables by casting early and, again, rehearsing our talent in their tasks.
EPIC WIN #1
This will simply be a matter of timing and practice between two teammates. Guy #1 is putting the final touches on the Tiki Bar. He sees Guy #2 walking towards the bar. With a sly smile he scoops up 3 ice cubes and tosses 3 cubes into 3 highball glasses in a row about one meter from where he’s standing.
EPIC WIN #2
Guy #2’s vinyl album toss is also a matter of practice, as our actor learns to frisbee the vinyl album a couple meters away onto the turntable. We will adjust the weight of the album to control the loft, the arc, and how it is affected by the environmental conditions in order to ensure that it lands securely on target.
Our coverage will be comprehensive, which will ensure that every jump-cut will be absolutely real - no digital invention or enhancement. So, when we transition from Guy #1 tossing the ice cube into Guy #2’s glass, it is real. When we cut from Guy #2’s Frisbee flip of the vinyl album to a shot including Guy #3’s reaction acknowledging the challenge has been made and the bar for success has been set extremely high, it is real. This technique of using real wins establishes the cutting edge of spot and raises the urgency of the stakes.
THE EPIC FAILS BEFORE EPIC WIN #3 - (THE JUMP CUTS ARE REAL TOO)
Now that the stakes are set at an all time high, we turn our focus to Guy #3. And Since we want a huge emotional pay off, we must show our audience that epic wins aren’t easy.
And that is when we stun them with a quick series of epic fails by our hero, Guy #3!
We don’t have to sell the fails, they sell themselves, because the fails are real.
THE REDEMPTION OF OUR HERO
Now, with the urgency of the setting sun, the success of the party and his reputation hanging in the balance, our hero, Guy #3 begins to lose his cool.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. He digs deep and flips his inflatable lounge chair into an astonishing barrel roll.
THE SLIGHT OF HAND CREATING EPIC WIN #3
The barrel roll of the inflatable chair will be accomplished by two exacting set ups that, once combined, will appear as a single shot.
During pre-production we will create a mechanism that will allow us to duplicate the speed and angle of the barrel roll exactly every time. The first take will be done in the pool with real water, so we will see him submerge halfway through the shot. The second pass will be done without water and allow our actor to emerge completely transformed as the suave hero, entirely dry, with perfectly styled hair and wardrobe.
Set Up 1: Closing in on Guy #3 with an aggressive dolly move we will transition from a wider angle taking in the entire chair into an emphatic medium shot of our hero.
Set Up 2: As the lounge chair enters the barrel roll, he vanishes underwater. As it completes its rotation, we reverse the movement and dolly out as he emerges transformed. The credibility we’ve established by making sure that everything that has led up to this moment has been 100% real will have the stunned audience in the palm of our hand. The only time that we will employ a slight amount of digital work will be to combine these shots. The result will be a perfect match that sells the transformation as miraculously real.
THE FINALE: EPIC WIN #3
In the split second it takes for him to pull off an epic 360o barrel roll Guy #3 is transformed, his wardrobe is upscale casual and his hairstyle is perfect.
Without skipping a heartbeat, we capitalize on this moment of shock in in our audience. He is in full hero mode and on fire! His aim is true! The ball he throws, or maybe a Frisbee he sends soaring, will ricochet off of a couple surfaces (wall, table top, lazy spinning fan) before hitting the switch.
And the kicker is, the final shot will be 100% REAL, he will throw the ball and duck (or Frisbee) and hit his mark, just like his friends did in the first two epic wins. All skill.
Perfection! It’s Magic Hour, the party is on, the music is awesome and everyone is dancing!
THE 6 SECOND VERSIONS
As mentioned, we will be simultaneously shooting internet native versions of every take, angle, epic fail and epic win.
The 6 second versions of our epic wins will be more more direct with a raw and punchy energy to them that is native to the internet.
They will be captured at the exact same time as their 30 second version cousins but with a different camera (GoPro or equivalent) and speak to the internet audience in the visual voice they know so the spots deliver a wallop.
I put great focus into casting and I love discovering the perfect talent for each role. Our cast must possess a preternatural ease and natural athleticism to ensure they are capable of learning the physical tricks required out of each of their characters so that we capture their epic wins in a timely fashion.
Capturing the movement and conveying the nonverbal chemistry between our characters will be as important as the dialogue when it comes to bringing this spot to life. However, their acting skills must be top notch to sustain the easy going vibe of being natural born epic winners whose success seem effortless.
Discovering the right talent goes beyond the look, it requires the perfect physical persona so that each character stands out while also maintaining perfect harmony as a group. During the casting process we will ensure that our actors already possess the skills required to succeed in their individual epic win challenge. Reality of doing is the key to capturing the act in the moment, in camera in order to captivate our audience.
Given the tight time constraint of 30 seconds and the fluid relay of action from Guy #1, to Guy #2, to Guy #3, and all of the physical and emotional reactions, it will be crucial to balance our cast the way a professional sports team chooses their starting squad.
We will cast 3 naturally upscale casual men in their 20s. They will be lean, agile and subtly athletic. They will have an easy sense of humor that makes them immediately likable and a “best friend” quality that makes them completely relatable.
These qualities will be especially important for our hero, Guy #3. He is the center of this story.
The chemistry of casting kicks in from moment one. Guy #3’s friends admire him and hold him to the highest expectations, so it is important that his value reads loud and clear through their attention to him, their reactions to his epic fail, his frustration, and how much they are rooting for his recovery by giving him the Snickers bar.
Casting great actors is critical to the success of this spot. While the physical tricks we have for our epic wins look fairly tame, it is unlikely the actors will execute their individual trick perfectly and successfully during the first take. Really capturing the epic wins seamlessly in one take will require many takes, so the acting has to be excellent.
The role of each actor has three elements. 1: Executing their trick in the moment, in one take and in real time to convey the undeniable truth that their epic wins are really real. 2: Staying in the moment and in character while executing take after take with a fun and fresh sense of “this is the first time” spontaneity. 3: Selling the moment with a natural smile of nonchalance of “this is what we do, we are epic winners.”
The pay off comes from their celebration of his epic win after he bites into the Snickers. Reinvigorated, he completes his character arc by flipping the inflatable lounge chair he is floating on and emerging as the super cool host and master of ceremonies of the party.
To accomplish all of this subtle interplay, the vibe of our cast will be, as mentioned above, carefree and have a relaxed energy that bristles with an easy competitive edge. However, it will be clear that they are not competing with each other. We will instantly know by their interactions that they’re on the same team. They want the best for each other. They are in a competition to live their best life by pushing every moment and every action with a elegant flair of carpe diem.
Our setting is a pool party in the late afternoon into sunset, therefore the season required will necessarily be warm. Since production takes place in December we will not be shooting In Russia. This will require casting from local talent once we decide upon our location. Cast will will need to be linguistically agile enough to learn Russian dialogue (phonetically) so that it will be entirely believable that they are speaking Russian. We will employ top Russian V.O. talent to dub their dialogue in post production in order to ensure that the lip-sync is perfect.
LOCATION AND SETTING
We will shoot in an upscale modern location with a large backyard, expansive pool and decking that will enable the set up of our Tiki Hut Bar, DJ pit, elaborate party lighting, tracking shots and barrel roll mechanism.
PRODUCTION, COLOR PALETTE, and CINEMATOGRAPHY
Our approach will be more elegant and stylized in terms of the movement we’ll use to tell this story. Production will be focused on exacting detail to capture a sense of fluidity within the environment allowing us to sell the effortless prowess of our characters’ competitive lifestyle and the uncanny spontaneity that makes their epic wins spectacular.
The color palette for our film will include clean light and summer colors of blue, teal, orange, reds and yellows. These will be accompanied by contrasting textures ranging from the bright patterns of the patio furniture to the strong lines and warmth of the bamboo, or wooden, Tiki Hut Bar.
The lighting will be brighter through the epic wins, with some light changes that reflect the passage of time with a wise, fast, jump-cut edit that will culminate in the clean blues and lavender of magic hour that will make the intense orange, red, green, and yellow party spotlighting pop. The result will be more upscale and heroic than what is normal to the epic win video genre.
Time management on set with daylight burning will be crucial. Cast rehearsals prior to our time on set will ensure we capture the first two epic wins early and within a reasonable amount of takes. This approach will be essential to allow the efficient use of our resources during the extremely limited and fleeting light of magic hour when we will be focused on the final event of the spot - the transformation of our main hero during the inflatable lounge chair barrel roll in the pool and the uncanny final epic win.
Capturing the epic wins in seamless one-shots will require plenty of attempts and many takes. Each take will be captured simultaneously in both formats, with different cinematic philosophies, and equal success.
We will be shooting simultaneously with two cameras. The main camera will be an Alexa dedicated to the more stylized television format. The second camera may be a GoPro, or similar unit, capturing a rawer and more direct image specific to the urgency of online framing. This will cut down on production time and ensure that we have the proper footage for the dual usage of the commercial release.
Once we are in post, the focus of the full commercial spot will be on quickly and efficiently establishing the setting, the friendship between our three heroes, the urgency of their party preparation and the strong sense of fun they get from one upping each other with epic wins.
The 30 second spot will be driven by a strong sense of fluidity and the tricks will play seamlessly as spontaneous events captured in camera in the moment in a single shot followed by the Snickers bar break, bite shot, pack shot and promo tag.
The 6 second versions will be more direct, simply the location set up, the hero in motion, his epic win and then the Snickers bar break, bite shot, pack shot and promo tag.
I love the story of friendship and fun that we are telling with this spot and I am excited by the theme within the film that there are epic wins to be found in unexpected moments.
The challenges presented by this opportunity are many and I look forward to capturing the nuance of our heroes’ friendly rivalry with each other while creating a seamless film that stuns the viewer into wondering how our heroes pulled off their epic wins and how in the world we pulled off this kind of magic in 30 seconds.
I look forward to further speaking with you about this project.