If Pepsi and longtime shop BBDO’s Super Bowl ad “Flying Geese” had come out a few years later, it might have been considered a funny riff on “Winged Migration,” the Jacques Perrin documentary largely shot alongside birds in the air.
It finds skydiver Troy Hartman playing avatar for Pepsi’s “GeneratioNext,” surfing high above the ground as young people do, only to encounter a curious goose with some extreme sensibilities of its own. The shoot wasn’t what Hartman or aerial cinematographer Joe Jennings expected, Hartman recalled on his website:
I knew what the concept was for the commercial, but didn't realize they would actually be bringing live geese to the party. The two geese were completely trained and ready to work. There was a long cable stretched between two tall poles. The geese were tethered to this cable and would fly from one pole to the other while cameras would shoot them from below. The objective was to get shots of the geese flying against the same sky where Joe and I would be jumping. Every now and then the goose trainer would blow on a call horn and the geese would look over or honk for a great shot. At one point I made a strange loud noise to see what the geese would do. They did nothing and the goose trainer wasn't amused.
From there it was 23 jumps over two days for Hartman and Jennings until director Kinka Usher was pleased -- he would explain later that he put the big boggles on Hartman so it was easier to create the illusion of eye contact between skysurfer and goose -- and then heavy post-production work.
“Flying Geese” took first place on USA Today’s annual Super Bowl Ad Meter ranking the game’s spots for their entertainment value, capping a five-year run of victories with BBDO ("Chimp Experiment," "Inner Tube," "Security Camera," and "Bears."
Production company: House of Usher Films. Director of photography: Guillermo Navarro. Aerial director of photography: Joe Jennings. Line producer: Dennis Hoey. Head of production: Taylor Ferguson.
Chief creative officer: Ted Sann. Executive creative director: Michael Patti. Senior creative director, copywriter: Bill Bruce. Senior creative director, art director: Doris Cassar. Executive producer: Gary Delemeester.
Editorial: Nomad Editing Company. Editor: John Murray. Post production: Company 3. Special effects: Digital Domain. Visual effects supervisors: Michael Gibson, Andy MacDonald.