GENESIS: Australia's Hahn beer, founded by Chuck Hahn in a Sydney suburb in the '80s, always had an innovative, experimental streak. Now owned by Australian beer giant Lion Nathan, the brand wanted to return to those roots. Publicis Mojo saw Hahn as a pioneer, and crafted a playful new tagline, "Pioneering beering," to honor its history and lay the groundwork for future creativity. The tagline debuts in this eccentric, amusing relaunch spot for Hahn SuperDry, set in a fauxepic, retro-high-tech brewery, where "super-ness" is brewed into the beer by glam bodybuilders, a heavy-metal drummer, a playboy with a beer-filled plastic tiger, and a bottle-capping ferret, among other characters. As the Knight Rider theme plays, the ad takes the viewer through the facility and its farcical version of the brewing process, ending with a cheesy CEO pouring himself a pint from a helicopter hovering outside.
COPYWRITING: Copywriter Justine Armour and art director Ruth Bellotti's script impressed director Tom Kuntz, whose Old Spice spot "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" has won almost every ad award in the past year, including the Emmy. Along with Mojo's executive creative director Micah Walker, they expanded on the ideas. "We had pages and pages of things we thought might be brewed into the beer," says Armour. But Kuntz says it was "very easy to be redundant with ideas." So, they narrowed it to scenes that Walker says have just the right flavor of "iconic irony."
ART DIRECTION: Kuntz wanted the brewery to look like "an old '60s weapons factory or something." Bellotti envisioned "a cross between NASA and MIT." After scouting actual breweries, they found what they wanted in an old Los Angeles Times printing plant. The '80s visual aesthetic, Walker says, wasn't calculated—they simply brought to life "what felt like a unique tone of voice."
FILMING: The shoot took three and a half days. Well aware of Honda's famous "Cog" spot, Kuntz didn't want this ad, with its tracking shots and assembly-line setup, to be that kind of "Rube Goldberg contraption commercial," he says. "I wanted it to be more of a unique, funny factory, instead of 'Look at how clever our contraptions are.'" The printing plant had hidden benefits. A conveyor machine used to transport papers was rigged to carry beer bottles, and the facility was already painted in the brand colors of blue and white. Almost everything was shot in camera, though the Elvis suit, tailored from scratch, was blown up to giant size, and the helicopter is CG (the actor was shot on an actual chopper). "I thought it would be funny to end on a small note," says Kuntz of the CG ferret, "so I tried to think of the smallest animal I could."
TALENT: The drummer is from glammetal tribute band Steel Panther. The factory workers were told to act earnest. "We wanted it to look like a serious process, even though it was obviously ridiculous," says Bellotti. The actor who plays the CEO seems vaguely famous, but he's not. "He only knows how to do that smile and thumbs-up," Armour says with a laugh. "He probably couldn't do anything else."
SOUND: The Knight Rider theme was "known but not really known, funny but serious," says Kuntz, who played the track on giant speakers while filming. "You could feel the energy," adds Armour. "It was exciting."
MEDIA: The 60-second spot is airing widely on TV, while various :15s feature extended versions of scenes, like those including the drummer and tiger room, and the beer being poured over the trophies.
Client: Lion Nathan's Hahn SuperDry
Agency: Publicis Mojo, Sydney, Australia
Executive Creative Director: Micah Walker
Copywriter: Justine Armour
Art Director: Ruth Bellotti
Strategy: Graham Ritchie, Nicole Milward
Agency Producer: Adrian Shapiro
Group Account Director: Deanne Constantine
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Tom Kuntz
Producer: Scott Kaplan
Editing: MacKenzie Cutler
Editor: Gavin Cutler
Visual Effects: Eight VFX
Sound Design: Simon Lister at Nylon Studios
Music Supervisor: Karl Richter at Level 2