There's nothing that car companies seem to love more than showing off their creativity by producing short films that have practically nothing to do with their actual products.
Such is the case with this new Lexus spot from CHI & Partners, the first in the automaker's "Amazing in Motion" series. Titled "Steps," it follows an 11-foot-tall metal puppet—and his five black-clad puppeteers—through darkened city streets, searching for something.
Sound odd? It is. But it's also strangely beautiful, from the slow-motion shots of the puppet walking down crowded sidewalks to the feeling of complete isolation and longing it manages to capture. The puppet lifts his head from his shoulders to peer through a window at a man sitting alone in an office. Later, he stands on the edge of a building, apparently conjuring thoughts of puppet suicide. Eventually, he finds what he was looking for—his (presumably) female counterpart, for whom he shows as much joy as a giant metal puppet is capable of displaying.
The ambition behind "Steps" makes quite a bit more sense when you consider that its director, Daniel Kleinman, is the man responsible for designing every James Bond opening title sequence since GoldenEye (with the exception of Quantum of Solace, which was pretty lackluster anyway). Kleinman was also Adweek's official choice as the best commercial director of the '00s for ads like Guinness's "Noitulove."
Given his talent for the dark, moody and fantastic, it's no surprise Kleinman was able to translate the tale of an enormous puppet—handlers in plain sight—into something so visually impactful. Slightly more surprising is that this is, ultimately, a spot for Lexus—not exactly the world's most out-there brand.
But if they're going for cool, hiring the man behind some of 007's most iconic scenes is a good place to start.
Agency: CHI & Partners
Creative Directors: Monty Verdi, Micky Tudor
Agency Producer: Rosie Evatt
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Executive Producer: Johnnie Frankel
Producer: Chris Harrison
Editor: Steve Gandolfi @ Cut & Run
Flame: Duncan Malcolm, Iain Murray
Flame Assistants: Nina Mosand, Warren Gebhardt
3-D: Adrian Russell, Roman Polanski, Matt Lowery, Matt Fletcher, Krzysztof Klimczyk
Telecine: Ben Rogers
Producer: Kirsty Rutherford
Shoot Supervisor: Ruben Llusia