Inside Chevy’s Bustling, Magical ‘Find New Roads’ Launch Spot

Commonwealth's Linus Karlsson on creating five ads in one

IDEA: Four directors. Five vignettes. One brand new global positioning. A lot went into Commonwealth's 90-second launch spot for Chevrolet's "Find New Roads" campaign. And the finished film is a curious piece indeed—a blend of styles, moods, songs and textures, with magical elements sprinkled throughout that embody the freewheeling inspiration for which the General Motors brand wants to be known. "It's clearly a new Chevrolet," said Linus Karlsson, co-chief creative officer of Commonwealth. "In the heart of that is the American ingenuity and imagination that has always existed inside Chevrolet."

COPYWRITING: It's five spots in one—showing off the Volt, Spark, Sonic, Impala and Corvette. (Stand-alone spots for each are coming soon.) It opens with a girl and an animatronic dog hopping in the back of a Volt. She flips through the other four vignettes on a tablet before the action returns to her and the dog, who is seen nuzzling a deer at the end. "We really wanted to understand each car and personality," Karlsson said. "We developed very specific mood boards for each vehicle. … It's so easy to just start with messaging instead of trying to figure out what you should emotionally and visually remember about each vehicle."

The Spark section shows five women dressed in the vehicle's bubbly colors; the Sonic careens through an industrial landscape like a skateboard; the Impala is driven by a suave suburbanite in black tie; and the Corvette Stingray is shown screeching through a sci-fi urban action movie. There is no dialogue. "With the best lineup of vehicles ever, introducing the new Chevrolet," John Cusack says in a closing voiceover. "Why just go from A to B when imagination can take you everywhere?" The tagline, "Find new roads," is voiced and appears on screen. The dog is a central, magical figure—a perfect mascot for the Volt in the sense that "the conflict between nature and technology no longer exists," said Karlsson. "The ending moment is my very favorite thing. When you see those little guys, the deer and the dog, you just feel hopeful about things to come. Leadership is all about hope."

ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Each segment was its own production—led by directors Brian Beletic (Volt), Angus Wall (Spark), Filip Engstrom (Sonic and Impala) and Nicolai Fuglsig (Corvette)—and has its own distinct look. "To place each vehicle in its own world not only helps create great iconic images, but it helps you relate to the car. People remember images more than messages," said Karlsson. "The Sonic, a little guy with a big engine, is kind of like a Jack Russell dog, fearless and always ready for anything. The Spark is an agile, zippy urban car that fits your life like any other accessory. In a Volt, you're making a silent statement and changing your relationship with your local gas station. And the Corvette Stingray is just jaw-droppingly gorgeous, if you ask me."

TALENT: Dozens of actors and actresses auditioned for the voiceover, but Cusack had just the right mellow tone. Theophilus London makes a cameo in the Sonic segment, driving to his own song "All Around the World." The Impala man exudes class. "That guy was born in a tux," said Karlsson. "What a classic look. Part Dean Martin, part young Elvis."

SOUND: Jimmy Luxury, Frank Sinatra and Patty Griffin songs are also used. Cliff Martinez, who scored the movies Drive and Traffic, composed the Corvette track. "Chevrolet has a history of knowing its music," said Karlsson. "I think you look down on brands that don't."

MEDIA:The :90 broke during CBS' broadcast of the Grammy Awards and will air again during other high-profile events and in cinemas. A :60 will also air. The full vehicle spots will roll out in the coming months.