It’s ALIVE!!! Or I guess more appropriate would be “It’s Gone Live”!
This summer we were asked by BBDO NY to create Bacardi Rum’s 2018 Halloween social videos. The direction was loose at first: concept and create two Halloween drink videos, but don’t make stereotypical drink videos. They were looking for mini horror movies with the cocktails incorporated. We were given a mood board of images from classic horror films, two drink recipes, and free range to explore all things creepy while developing scripts to pitch back to BBDO.
Adam and Robin watched countless horror shorts for inspiration as well as scenes from classic movies of the genre, then sat down over a couple dark & stormys and got down to writing. Initially, we concepted and wrote 6 different script outlines for the client and agency to choose from, 3 for the Mojito cocktail and 3 for the Zombie cocktail, covering everything from a possessed machete, to an axe murderer, a seance, even to being chased through a Caribbean jungle by bats. In the end, everyone fell in love with the Mystery VHS tape concept and our nod to The Ring. So much so that we were asked to take that concept and adapt it to both cocktails.
We watched the VHS tape from The Ring again and again, analyzing all the aspects that made it creepy and uncomfortable, while not being overly gory, then funneled all that inspiration into short snippets that nodded to the cocktail ingredients for both the Zombie and the Mojito. Thick red drops falling on white marble next to a knife revealed to be grenadine. Orange peels crawling across a worn table into and around a human skull allude to triple sec. Zombie hands crudely stitching together a Frankensteined lemon-lime called out sweet and sour mix. And the best: two different Bacardi rums flickering as they make their way down a long hallway, like the twins from the Shining.
Once all the scenes for the VHS tape were hammered out, we turned our attention to the room setting. The POV of the films was set as the camera was the viewer who had just received a tape in the mail and starts to watch it in their Caribbean living room. Nick Cabrera turned a stark white corner of our studio into a colorful tropical interior with yellow louvered doors, coral exposed brick and aqua green plaster walls while Nicki Longoria scoured Austin sourcing the perfect furniture and decor elements to finish out the room, including pulling a few items from her own living room.
This production also gave us another chance to work with our favorite Special FX makeup artist Tara Cooper. Tara meticulously created custom zombie fingernails in advance, then on the day of the shoot did a KILLER (pun intended) job creating the perfect zombie hands and face. Seriously, the lady works magic.
When all the filming was done, the footage went to Beast Editorial Austin where Ben Ellis turned our hope of a creepy VHS tape into reality. The grain, the timing, the jump in footage, all of it came out perfect!
We could not be more proud and honored by our team who helped pull this whole production together in record time. Nicki Longoria, Nick Cabrera, Dave Creaney, and Josh Verduzco, you all are amazing and we could not do it without you. Molly Ross and Joao Unzer, thank you for venturing to Austin and allowing us to let our creepy cocktail fantasies run wild. This was one of those special jobs that make us think “I can’t believe people are paying us to do this!” It was too much fun to make.
Here’s some behind the scene shots of things in the making.