The pandemic has been an unexpected muse, inspiring creatives and regular old folks to think outside the box while stuck inside a literal box. That’s the theme of this charming new ad from Aussie telco Optus.
The film centers on a group of kids living in the same apartment block. While they can only see each other’s faces through a Zoom-like call, together, they’re able to channel their pent-up energies into creating something spectacular—a toy car loop-de-loop race that travels through each of their homes. As the kids connect through their computers and tablets, they engineer an over-the-top race car track that weaves in and out of the various apartments, past parents at work, siblings in yoga poses and curious pets. When it’s finally set into place, the kids send a pair of cars zooming through their masterpiece, and when they finally cross the finish line, the spot rewinds back to how it all started—one of the boys in the apartment had spotted a new kid moving in, hauling a crate of tracks into his new abode. What finally kicked everything into gear was the boy's "yes," to their idea.
The spot was created out of Special Group New Zealand, and aims to underscore Optus’ long-running branding around the idea of “yes,” a word that also appears in its logomark.
“The ambition of our new campaign is simple: we want to embody the essence and attitude of what ‘Yes’ represents,” said Optus Head of Marketing Melissa Hopkins in a statement. “As we all know, having the optimism and commitment to say ‘yes’ is the start of new possibilities and real change.”
Special Group Executive Creative Director Lisa Fedyszyn tells Ad Age that the Optus “yes” is as familiar to Australians as the Nike “swoosh” around the world, and this new campaign provided an “opportunity was to bring meaning to what ‘yes’ actually meant, as this is unclear for many Australians.”
Fedyszyn says the spot, titled “Amazing Race,” is the first ad in what will be a long-term branding campaign to bring new meaning to the “yes,”—“to show that Optus’ belief that anything positive in life, big or small, starts with saying ‘yes’ because Optus believes great things happen in life from having the commitment, positivity and optimism to say ‘yes.’”
Christopher Riggert directed the ad via Finch. Producing it during COVID times had some challenges, Fedyszyn says.
Location perhaps was the biggest hurdle. “Finding an apartment block to exclusively use over a number of days during COVID was no easy task,” Fedyszyn says. “We spent two weeks with multiple scouts covering most of the Sydney metro area. It wasn’t until the 11th hour that our unfaltering location scout found this friendly complex with the most willing, down to earth residents.” To give the building more scale in the final spot, an extra level was added in post.
And then, there was the issue of talent. In the scene featuring a mother cutting her boy’s hair, because of coronavirus restrictions, that was a real mom cutting her real son’s locks. “There was no actual acting,” she says. “She really did cut his hair, and he really was mortified.”
The cat talent, Vivaldi, also didn’t do as he was told, as cats do. He “was scripted to jump over the racing car but he decided to improv and did a much better performance of following the cars with his eyes – his body refused to move," Fedyszyn says.