Smith and Foulkes Add Coke to Vice and Stir

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Coca-Cola - 'Videogame
Coca-Cola - 'Videogame
Combining the hyper-violent world of Grand Theft Auto and wholesome client Coca-Cola sounds like it'd be a cocktail as cordial as the aforementioned and castor oil. In "Videogame," the newest out of Wieden + Kennedy Portland directed by Nexus' duo Smith and Foulkes, Vice City is transformed into Nice City when the protagonist, speeding through town, stops for a Coke and proceeds to do enough good deeds to inspire an all-out celebration. According to Alan Foulkes, one half of the acclaimed directing team (also responsible for Honda 'Grrr' and NSPCC 'Talk 'Til it Stops'), after pre-production, creating the world was a snap. More challenging was achieving the balance of portraying a "vice-ridden computer game and not being able to show and violence and vice," says Foulkes. "People had to get that it was a dodgy urban ghetto yet it had to be a Coke ad. We weren't able to show any violence at any time."

The fun started once the group began production. For the dancing sequence Smith and Foulkes brought in a choreographer and several live performers to model the dances. The directors even got in on the action themselves, demonstrating along with the performers how the characters should move, down to the kick line of rats. "The idea was it wasn't like West Side Story," Foulkes says. "We kind of wanted to keep a bit of crapness for all the dances, like in Blues Brothers, where the crowd would want to join in the dancing, but wedding dancing." Smith and Foulkes flew to New York to assist in the music selection process, going through several dozen voices at Amber before they chose a gritty, streetwise interpretation of the Coke ditty. "We wanted a voice that was like the busker character, you could imagine him singing it, Foulkes says. "We wanted a voice that was a bit more 'Fuck it,' more offhand." And the result? Well, as you'd expect, GTA fans have latched on at YouTube and an Internet remix has already sprung up, swapping the music for 1990's "Can't Beat the Real Thing." If the spot feels like it had Super Bowl written all over it, well, it may have. Foulkes says there was talk of holding onto it until February.
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