Droga5 London, Rustlers Burgers Bring ’80 Years of Torment’ to an End

By Erik Oster 

Droga5 London has the antidote to rampant nostalgia in its new campaign for flame-grilled microwavable burger band Rustlers, which paints quite the bleak portrait of one elderly gentleman’s past.

Directed by Somesuch’s Steve Rogers,”80 Years of Torment” opens on a black-and-white scene of the man as a child, suffering the dual abuses of a heartless boss and a rod-happy school teacher. In somewhat bizarre fashion, the teacher seems to beat him in rhythm to Boys Noize‘s “Revolt”, a device which continues throughout. The spot, still in black and white, advances through scenes documenting the man suffering through subsequent decades. Finally, the scene shifts to color as the man finally finds some salvation in a microwavable burger, accompanied by the tagline, “What a Time to be Alive.”

While it may be a convincing takedown of nostalgic advertising cliches, it’s a less convincing promotion of Rustlers product. Conveniences brought along by modern day technology may be the opposite of the old man’s not-so-fond memories but the presentation of Rustlers as making up for decades of abuse might be too depressing to actually help sell the product.

“Initially we had a number of different approaches to film,” David Kolbusz, chief creative officer of Droga5 London, explained to Adweek. “But we kept returning to one script which was a piss-take of that overly sentimental, well-worn ad construct where you follow a character’s journey from adolescence to old age, shot through rose-tinted glasses, and soundtracked to tinkling piano music. We thought it would be funny if you took a character on the same journey through time, but just kicked the shit out of him at every step along the way.”


And kick the shit out of him they did.

“As we dug into it with Steve, it moved pretty far from the original vision and kind of became its own thing. Less pastiche,” Kolbusz added. “We fell in love with this repeated, metronomic abuse perpetrated on our hero. It became a lot cuttier than we’d originally intended. More vignettes. And we’d actually shot the ad with the intention of aping the look of the film from each different era. But in the end it felt better to keep all of the past in black and white—like a horrible memory—only introducing color in the glorious present.”

The campaign also includes OOH and print components, which feature much less shit-kicking.
Client: Rustlers
CEO Simon Walker
Marketing Development Director Adrian Lawlor
Senior Brand Manager Elaine Rothballer
Brand Manager Atiyya Tailor
Agency Droga5 London
Chief Creative Officer David Kolbusz
Executive Creative Director Rick Dodds
Executive Creative Director Steve Howell
Sr Art Director Charlene Chandrasekaran
Sr Copywriter Dan Morris
Jr Copywriter Teddy Souter
Jr Art Director Frazer Price
Designer Chris Chapman
Account Director Alex Dousie
Strategy Director James Broomfield
Head of Strategy Toto Ellis
Producer Peter Montgomery
Production Company Somesuch
Director Steve Rogers
MD / Owner Sally Campbell
Producer Peter Knowles
Director of Photography Tat Radcliffe
Production designer Tünde Caski
Edit House The Quarry
Editor Jonnie Scarlett
Post Production The Mill
Sound Facility: String and Tins
Music Track: ‘Revolt’
Artist: Boys Noize