Tahoes Perform Musical Tribute to Olympics

LOS ANGELES A Chevrolet commercial in which Tahoes around the globe play the Olympic theme music on their horns breaks today during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, said the spot’s director.

Called “Horns,” the spot stars Tahoes composited into stock footage Plum Productions director Eric Saarinen has shot over the years for the carmaker. The SUV is seen in exotic locales such as the red sand dunes of Nambia, atop a waterfall in Brazil, on a Patagonian glacier and amid the dwellings of Cappadocia. One Tahoe blares a note with its horn, and Tahoes worldwide seem to answer until there is a chorus of Olympic theme music. A voiceover ends the spot: “The all-new 2007 Chevy Tahoe. Let the games begin.”

“Over the last eight years, doing a lot of work for Chevy, we accumulated a lot of stock footage,” said Saarinen at the Santa Monica, Calif., commercial production company. “After two days of talking about what we should do with [Interpublic Group’s Campbell-Ewald vice chairman and chief creative officer] Bill Ludwig, we decided that we could composite it into the various backgrounds.”

Saarinen selected takes from hours of footage in order to find background plates. Foreground elements were built and matched to the backgrounds. Moving the production to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tahoes were hoisted up on elements for lighting to match the terrain. Asylum performed the seamless digital compositing.

“There’s an old adage in production,” Saarinen said. “You can have it fast, cheap and high quality, but never more than two things at a time. With this creative solution, I think we achieved all three.”

Chevy spent $12 million advertising Tahoe in 2004 and $25 million through November 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

General Motors’ Chevrolet division sold 152,000 Tahoe SUVs in 2005, down 18 percent from the previous year, per Car Concepts in Thousand Oaks, Calif.