In Maserati’s new ad promoting its recently launched Trofeo Collection, the auto brand didn’t take to the open roads to show off the vehicles’ speed and power. Instead, it stuck three cars in a room.
Working with Austin-based agency Callen, the shop founded by former Wieden+Kennedy ECD Craig Allen, Maserati conducted an experiment, of sorts, that seems straight out of “Mythbusters.”
The spot positions three driverless Trofeo cars in a circle, noses pointed toward each other with fan towers positioned in front of each. At the center, the floor emits a mist, but once the cars start revving, it becomes something quite spectacular.
As each automobile picks up speed, the cloud-like formation grows and swirls to become a massive indoor tornado. “The art of fast,” the end copy reads.
The cool part? All of it was captured in-camera.
According to Allen, the brief from the client was simply to launch the new Trofeo Collection, which the brand bills as its “most powerful” line ever. It now consists of the Levante, the Quattroporte and the Ghibli, which all appear in the spot.
“We knew we didn’t want to make another cliche car ad,” Allen says. “That led us to wanting to create a physical representation of speed—something we felt strongly about doing practically.”
The agency tapped Mau Morgo, a director repped out of Object & Animal to help bring their concept to life. Morgó, who was named as a Director to Watch at Ad Age’s Creativity Awards, is known for bringing together the worlds of art and tech.
The tornado itself was created with dry ice, which Allen says was pumped through the floor. “Using three bays of fans starting at different times we were able to increase the swirling of the smoke through the power of the cars themselves,” Allen says. “As the cars revved faster and faster on the dynos [the stationary treadmills on which the cars were placed] the fans spun faster allowing the tornado to grow bigger and taller.”
Basically, it was a “giant science experiment,” Allen says.
Morgó’s ideas were key to realizing the spot—Allen says he introduced the tornado idea after the agency had to make a last-minute switch from the original concept. Also, Morgó designed the contraption that enabled the production team to rev the cars without drivers.
As with most productions these days, this was shot under COVID restrictions. The Callen team was there via a remote video village setup, while the production crew was on set. “It was funny because it was all shot in a dark room so it would be darkness and then suddenly the bright face of Mau or his producer would pop on,” Allen says. “It was a slow tedious shoot because of all the tinkering and tweaking to pull it off practically.”
Callen is on the roster of agencies that work with Maserati, including Droga5, which was named the brand’s global creative AOR earlier this year.