David Kolbusz Reimagines Water Commercials
The Droga5 London CCO ditches convention - and good taste - to create an alternative bottled water script.
In the world of advertising there are those ‘bottom drawer’ scripts and ideas that have, so far and for varied reasons, remained unmade. There are also those that started with great potential but ended up as damp squibs. Then there are those that could not – indeed, should not – be made.
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Client: Fiji Water
We open on the eyes of a God-fearing man.
Staring heavenward he searches the sky for some credible act of salvation. But there is no salvation. Just sun.
The camera slowly pulls out and we see him dragging his sandpaper tongue across his parched, blistering lips.
His skin is cracked.
Cutting wider, we see that so too is the land around him. Fields where seeds once took root are now just arid wasteland, a vacuum in which any semblance of life struggles to exist.
Behind him, we see a small wooden farmhouse. A barn wanting repair. And a large paddock littered with the bodies of dead horses, half-buried. Victims of drought that man couldn’t muster the energy to finish covering. From inside the home a woman and her three sons stare out at the farmer with expectant faces. The youngest, no older than three, calls out:
CHILD: Anything yet, papa?
The man’s head drops. He musters the energy to shake it from side to side and his family look on, not with disappointment, but with a kind of sad resignation, betraying the fact that they already knew that all hope was lost.
"Day turns to dusk and all attention is diverted to the stage where Arcade Fire and Beyoncé hold court, serenading the crowd with an impromptu cover of The Beatles’ All You Need is Love."
The man moves to turn around and walk back inside, but finds his body paralysed by shame. He knows he doesn’t control the weather, but for some reason feels responsible for it. Responsible for letting his loved ones down.
From out of his chapped eyelid, he forces a single tear. It drags slowly down his cheek until it reaches his lips. It’s the most water he’s had in days.
Then as if by magic – as if the tear was acting as a cry for help – a large black SUV pulls up out of nowhere, skidding to a halt in front of the farmer. A tinted window on the driver’s side lowers to reveal the face of a handsome white millennial male with perfect bone structure – a pair of wraparound sunglasses resting on his raised, crab apple cheekbones. He stares at the man through his reflective eyewear and observes:
DRIVER: You look thirsty.
The farmer, staring back in hopeful disbelief barely manages to blurt out:
The driver lowers his shades and surveys the farmland, taking in the vast expanse – almost for a beat too long – like he’s really thinking about it. Then he has an idea. He snaps his fingers and a beautiful young woman of indiscriminate ethnic origin, sitting in the passenger seat, hands him a six-pack of Fiji bottled water.
DRIVER: Maybe we can help each other out.
We hard cut to a wide shot of the farm, only now it bears no resemblance to the wasteland of seconds before. In its place is a Coachella-like festival, over-stuffed with an endless panoply of attractive youths: the men either shirtless and sporting sharkstooth necklaces or clad in premium urban clothing, while the women wear all-black attire, wildly inappropriate for the weather conditions or flowing white lace dresses and crowns of woven flowers.
David Kolbusz, Droga5 CCO
The energy of the crowd is palpable and everyone appears to be cosmically linked. No one is having a bad time and everyone is drinking Fiji water. Plastic spouts push past hungry lips and each individual festival-goer is nourished by the free-flowing imported spring water teat. The wetness issuing forth from every container appears endless. Friends shower friends who shower strangers with the life-giving liquid. A playful water fight breaks out. The crowd explodes with laughter as a young woman grabs a two-litre bottle and uses it to mime machine gun fire. Chests dampen, smiles glow. It is as though every single fucking person at this concert is in Fiji.
Day turns to dusk and all attention is diverted to the stage where Arcade Fire and Beyoncé hold court, serenading the crowd with an impromptu cover of The Beatles’ All You Need is Love. The inexplicable intensity of the performance moves the mass to violent fits of weeping. Everyone, unfamiliar with and ill-equipped to handle this level of emotion, starts picking up their discarded empty bottles of Fiji water and filling them up again WITH THEIR OWN TEARS. It is the concert of a lifetime and it is about to get even better.
Dotting the darkening sky, a row of helicopters come into view. One of them hovers above the stage and Kendrick Lamar rappels down and starts delivering a guest vocal before the final chorus.
Understandably, the crowd lose their shit. Bodies flail and shake uncontrollably with enough kinetic energy to power a cruise missile. Fortunately, the only explosions at this event are the helicopters, which we now learn are prop vehicles, filled with fireworks and flown in specifically for the festival’s grand finale. As each chopper detonates, every blast illuminates the evening sky with simulated daylight. At this point, the exhausted crowd can’t handle anymore and they start drinking the very tears they filled their Fiji bottles with.
Rehydrated and fully satisfied, the emotionally spent throng start to make their way to their cars. The artists and roadies and vendors and memorabilia-merchants pack up their gear and whatever else they can carry. By morning, everyone is gone. The only one remaining is the handsome millennial, who we now know was the festival organiser. He stands by his black SUV parked outside the farmhouse and leans on the horn.
The farmer and his family – who have been holed up inside for the entire harrowing experience – come to the door. The farmer steps outside while his wife and children hang back. He gazes out at his land – once an infertile graveyard of harvests long since past – to see that it has been utterly decimated by the tens of thousands of people who were in attendance. The grounds look like the remnants of a scorched-earth-policy military operation, half-Sherman’s March, half the oil fires set by the retreating Iraqi forces in Kuwait.
Our millennial reaches into the back of his urban tank and produces another six-pack of two-litre Fiji bottles. He tosses it to the farmer with a “keep the change” look, gets in his vehicle and drives off. The farmer turns back to his family who, like him, are all wearing expressions of unmitigated joy. He gleefully carries the case inside and closes the door behind him. It was all worth it.
Standing outside by the paddock of dead horses is a Jesuit priest from a neighbouring village. He has witnessed the whole event and with a flick of his rosary-wrapped wrist, he blesses the ground on which it happened.
Cut to our logo and tagline.
Fiji. Instant Refreshment.
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