Saatchi & Saatchi New York is one of the ad industry's most storied agencies, and its office at 375 Hudson in downtown Manhattan is something of an icon unto itself.
Last month, the shop announced a change in both its leadership and its physical headquarters: It named former evp/global director Andrea Diquez as its new president and moved to reshape its offices by consolidating operations on a single floor and renting out the remaining space.
This left the agency with some renovations to do. So, it turned to the band Big Data and Good Company director Bill Kirstein to help facilitate some controlled destruction … along with a few strategically-placed body blows.
"When we got the go-ahead to remodel one of our floors, I thought, 'Most agencies would do a time lapse. Is that all we can do?' " executive creative director Chris Moreira tells AdFreak.
Saatchi did a good bit more than that, and managed to destroy a few walls and cubicles along the way.
Moreira says the Saatchi team decided on the music video format and "started talking to some up-and-coming directors and bands we thought might be into it." Kirstein, who has directed videos for stars like Beyoncé and served as a producer on her Life Is But a Dream documentary, was taken by the idea right away.
"We kept it simple: Imagine a music video documenting someone having a really bad day at work," Moreira says. "The guys at Warner [Music] had mentioned that Big Data was looking to make a video for one of its new tracks, and Bill connected to it." He adds, "You know how often you hear, 'Oh, it was collaborative,' but in this case it really was."
He says Big Data helped influence the idea by playing on its own signature brand of tech-driven paranoia and resulting chaos. "Imagine you come to work and it's Fight Club … dog-eat-dog corporate, if you will," Moreira says. He summarizes the video's theme as a reverse tech-versus-humanity narrative: "Maybe we shouldn't be afraid of Skynet. Maybe it's the other way around."
Kirstein didn't just direct the video, he also did a bit of casting—and several of the extras involved in the fight scene are Saatchi employees. (The stunts are all real, by the way.)
Moreira hesitates to classify the renovations as the end of an era, telling AdFreak that the Big Data project was "an interesting way for us to say goodbye to an old layout," and adding, "We're the same amazing agency we've always been … just bigger and better in a way."
He also assures us that Saatchi's offices do not host any all-out brawls resembling the one in the video. "This in no way reflects what goes on at Saatchi," he says. "We often get together, and we do a lot of karaoke as a group."
We'll have to take his word on that.
Production Co: Good Company
Director: Bill Kirstein
DP: Zach Sullivan
Executive Producer: Ryan Heiferman, Jonathan Lia, Alli Maxwell
Producer: Stephen Holtzhauser
Producer: Keenan Flynn
Line Producer: Matt Shields
1st AD: Siena Brown
2nd AD: Stacey Thiel
Production Designer: Bryan Norvelle
FX make up: Brandy McDonald
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi NY
CEO: Brent Smart
CCO: Jay Benjamin
CMO: Christine Prins
Creatives: A. Chris Moreira, Mark Schöller
Head of Production: John Doris
Agency Producers: Tina Lam, Tegan Mahford, Frances Edwards,
Music Producer: Christine Bilich
Project Manager: John Rota
Print Producers: Alison Vicidomini, Joe Smookler, Jennifer Wysokowski, John Lew
BTS Crew / Editor: Andrew Slough, John Rota, Rohan Sen
Teaser / Mixer: Justin Kooy
Editor: Adam Zukerman
Post Production: Prodigious
VFX: Tasayu Tasnaphun
VFX: Jake Nelson
Animator: Mikki Mengyi Xu
Animator: Lhong Lhi
Assistant Editor: Craig Vitrone
Assistant Editor: Frank Barnes
Director, MultiMedia: Murilo Silva
EP, MultiMedia: Beth Fitzpatrick
MultiMedia Coordinator: Casey Brumbach
Color: Color Collective
Colorist: Mike Howell
Color EP: Claudia Guevara