NEW YORK When creatives at Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners and director Errol Morris sought to re-create Mt. Everest for Intel's $60 million campaign introducing Centrino, a wireless technology, they considered peaks in New Zealand and Canada. But it turned out they didn't have to look much further than their own New York backyard.
The five-commercial campaign, which broke on Monday, features people using laptops in a variety of locations that are WiFi "hot spots," where computers can connect to the Internet wirelessly. Other ads in the series show people using laptops wirelessly in Bryant Park and a family home. To demonstrate the far-ranging technology, however, creatives decided to create a spot set at a base camp on Mount Everest.
After deciding they should re-create the peak in a studio rather than an actual mountain range to better be able to control the elements (the Everest base camp itself is only open two weeks of the year), the creatives went to a quarry in Nyack, N.Y., to find stones for the set.
"The quarry itself looks remarkably like Mt. Everest," said Ken Segall, agency partner, creative director, copy. (Other personnel on the campaign included executive creative director Kevin Roddy and partner, creative director, art Marcus Kemp.)
Thus ensued a two-night shoot, which involved a crew of nearly 100, snow and wind machines, balloon lights, actors in mountain-climbing gear and a rented yak. In the ad, a man uses his laptop at the Everest base camp.
"It was one of the larger productions I've been associated with," Morris said about the amount of people on set, adding, "I believe we were able to create something very realistic and very powerful."
After shooting the scene, the backdrop at the Mt. Everest base camp was inserted digitally to add to the realism. Whitehouse in New York was the editing company on the campaign.
"I would challenge anyone to look at the film and think, 'That's not what Everest looks like,' " Segall said.