Last year, Middle Eastern clothing chain Centrepoint launched what surely ranks as the most existential retail campaign of all time. In "Sabotage," a charmingly fatalistic black-and-white spot from Impact BBDO Dubai, the brand stranded a pouting, nattily attired hero on some railroad tracks with a train fast approaching.
Now, the marketer hits an even more harrowing note with a stylish monochrome commercial called "Lies." It uses a fiendishly fiery visual metaphor to remind us that life is full of nasty—often deadly—surprises that can come at us from anywhere, at any time, filling our day with heartache and despair.
At such times, however, Centrepoint has got you covered. Literally. In stylish clothes. After all, when disaster falls from the sky, looking good may be all anyone has left.
Talk about a crushing experience. Look out below!
"We wanted a hero element that was both quirky yet at the same time unexpected," agency executive creative director Fadi Yaish tells AdFreak. "Having a piano was cool. A falling piano was better. But having a burning piano falling we felt would be quite something."
As you might imagine, the creative team didn't really set an upright ablaze and hurl it to the pavement below.
"While it would have been a dream to actually throw a burning piano off the top of a building, we couldn't technically for various reasons," Yaish says. "The piano had to be done in CGI. And as much as it might seem easy to create it, the fact is it took two months to craft and to get it integrated" with the rest of the action.
Along with the ignited imagery, Bruce Barker's mockingly tough-poetic voiceover really sells the scenario. "They say your life is in your hands," he begins, overwrought irony falling like bits of gravel with each inflection. "They lie. Life isn't some trained pet that will jump and roll to your fancies. Au contraire, my friend. What it is, is a flu on the first day of your vacation. Nature's call when you're getting a manicure. Or three more red lights when you're already late. And you—you are but a mere puppet dancing to the tunes of life's orchestra."
Sure, existence always gets the better of us. Still, if we can pick up a pair of slimming slacks on sale, maybe we can find the strength to soldier on.
As it happens, while shooting "Lies," the creative team witnessed an example of life's knack for reducing happy moments to crap.
"A passing couple got into an argument for some reason," Yaish recalls. "She left the guy all embarrassed. And the worst bit: He had roses, which I am assuming were for her. Anyway, he was pissed and just flung the roses into the nearest trash can. And those are the roses that you see in the film."
Campaign Title: Silver Lining
Title Film: Lies
Executive Creative Director: Fadi Yaish
Associate Creative Director: Alok Mohan
TV Producer: Rajaa Chami
Production House: Good People
Director: Maged Nasser
Executive Producers: Michel Abou Zeid & Cynthia Chammas
DOP: Pierre Mouarkesh
Post Production Offline and Grading: Amr Rabee and Karim Mira – Lizard VFX Shop, Cairo
Post Production Online: Serena, Dubai
Post Production CGI: Digital District, Paris
VO: Eardrum, Australia Founding Creative Director: Ralph Van Dijk
Music and Sound Design: Goldstein, UK