Super Bowl advertising is serious business. With the millions of dollars spent for minimal moments of airtime, the old "go big or go home" adage rings particularly true for the companies who bet on the big game to build buzz for their brands.
Jaguar is one such company that is going big, or gone big rather, since their first-ever Super Bowl ad has already been released. Directed by Oscar-winner Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech"), their cinematic spot called "Rendezvous" plays with the stereotype that Hollywood only hires British actors to play villains and fittingly features a mysterious meet-up between three esteemed British actors who are best known for playing bad guys: Tom Hiddleston ("Thor The Dark World"), Ben Kingsley ("Iron Man 3"), and Mark Strong ("Sherlock Holmes," "Kick-Ass").
So how did they make this magic happen? Yahoo TV spoke recently with Jaguar Brand Vice President Jeff Curry, who revealed a few behind-the-scenes details involved in making "Rendezvous," which include a first-ever flyover of Buckhingham Palace, letting an actor do all his own driving stunts, and how to properly pronounce "Jaguar."
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How did the concept and commercial come about?
We knew earlier in 2013 that we wanted to do a major tentpole event and we settled on the Super Bowl almost a year ago, and then we started working on the creative concept and idea. We then settled quickly onto the idea of British villains, connecting with the idea that Jaguar is also sort of the new villain or disrupter in the luxury car market space. There is a really nice cultural truth to the idea that Hollywood always casts Brits to play the best villains.
What was involved in filming the commercial?
It was filmed over three different shoot periods with the different actors in London. Everything you see there was filmed. Nothing is computer generated from the standpoint that we're making anything up. It was all filmed on location in London in November and early December. It was an intensive shoot, working with in-demand talent schedules, Tom Hooper's schedule. I think it came together well.
We were actually flying, we had two helicopters — because you have to have a helicopter chasing the other helicopter when you're flying two helicopters over central London. We actually got first-ever permission to do a flyover of Buckingham Palace. We filmed and flew over the Tower of London and down the Thames. It really was pretty incredible.
You also have Mark Strong driving all around the streets of London.
In the filming, Mark Strong did all of his own stunt driving. He was flying through the streets of London at three in the morning, through the tunnels with our robotic camera arm, he was great. He's a great driver and loved the car.
Speaking of Strong, he pronounces Jaguar differently than we do. What is the proper pronunciation, "Jag-war" or overemphasizing the "u"?
[Laughs.] Well it's more the British way of saying it, which is "Jag-yoo-are," three syllables. The real Brits say it better than I do, but we're fine with either way — it's a bit of the personality with the brand.
The commercial ends with an actual meet-up, what happens after the rendezvous? That can't be the end, can it?
We have additional content that we're in the process of developing and filming. We have more shoots going on now. I can't tell you too many specifics on that, but we absolutely intend to continue the rollout of the campaign and there will be a lot more content coming on BritishVillains.com, including some of the talent so definitely stay tuned to it.
What do you think of the response to the ad so far?
It's been great. We're the rookie in the game, but that sort of reflects that we're a bit of the challenger brand. We're definitely staking a claim in the luxury car space. We have real alternatives to offer. This seemed like the perfect opportunity and the perfect point in time too as we've expanded our line and cars we offer. Sales are up 40 percent, we're the fastest-growing brand in the car market in the US. It just seemed like everything was coming together with product and sales momentum, and the brand had a great story to tell. It's perfect timing.
It's nice to see a luxury car ad that isn't stuffy or pretentious, with a tongue-in-cheek approach.
We definitely don't take ourselves too seriously. I think that's what being a British brand is the great British wit and charm and sense of humor that other British companies may not have. We wanted to bring that out in the spot there is definitely a wink and a nod.