Strongbow – Fredrik Bond's Fruity Follow Up for Strongbow

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Strongbow and creative agency partner Cloudfactory has just released a new iteration of its Nature Remix campaign, one that is a visually stunning and VFX-heavy 90-second spot that takes in cats made of apples, birds crafted from leaves and a thunderous version of the Bjork hit, It's Oh So Quiet.

Directed by Sonny's Fredrik Bond, who also shot the previous campaign which was set in Johannesburg, the action this time is set in a nameless city (but was actually shot in Mexico City) where all manner of fruity madness takes place. Below, Sandrine Huijgen, creative partner at Cloudfactory, takes us through the campaign and its creation. 




When did you know how - and where - you wanted to follow up 2016's Jo'burg-based Nature Remix campaign?

When Strongbow launched Nature Remix in Johannesburg last April, it was always the plan to take it to other major cities around the world. It’s part of an ongoing commitment to bring nature to urban areas, making them more enjoyable places to live. To film Imagine [top], we chose to go to Mexico City, a huge city where nature can have an impact, and a perfect place for our nature artists to dream

For the act that follows that film, we go to New York, an obvious choice because it’s home to nature artist Mary Mattingly and her floating food forest, Swale. It’s also a concrete jungle in need of green and a centre for incredible creativity.



Fredrik Bond is, again, in the director's chair; what is it that he brings to the project?

Fredrik directed our first Nature Remix film, so we already knew that he loves the overall idea and has incredible passion for the project. He also has an amazing ability to create fantastic and imaginative worlds, and executes an idea with authenticity. He is fully open to co-creation and loved working with our nature artists. On top of that, he’s become a good friend, so we work well together.


This new spot is much more VFX-heavy; why did you decide to go down that road? 

It is very very hard to do a big epic film about how nature can change the city and also do it for real, especially if you want it to have a lasting effect. We felt that we should inspire people about the need to reconnect with nature in a very creative and flamboyant way in Imagine, and separately do something for real – the orchard planting - that would stay throughout the entire spring and summer season with Swale.

Of course, once you make that decision, and you call Fredrik Bond with a script called Imagine, you end up with giant apple cats and skateboard trees with birds made out of leaves! And when The Mill got involved, then we knew our dream could come to life in a beautiful film!


The music track is as impactful as the previous spot; how difficult was it to get the right track with the right feel?

So crazy hard! What is funny is that we discussed with Fredrik a few videos clips we loved as reference for the energy of the film and the video clip of Bjork's It’s Oh So Quiet was amongst them.

When we could not find a track nor composed music we really felt was a match to the film, we played this track on it and it was perfect. We didn’t think we could afford it until we found out it was a cover of an old Betty Hutton song.

We decided to re-record it with the vibe of the 50s grand orchestra. We did this in a church in Amsterdam with the Ambassador crew and then recorded it with the fabulous Davina Sowers, and we had our perfect track! The entire process only took five months! 



The ‘floating orchard' will be a real place which people can visit in NY; how important is the experiential side of the campaign?

The floating orchard is an incredibly important part of the project - it’s a real and lasting element that will have a positive effect on NYC and the people who experience it. It’s part of Strongbow’s ongoing pledge to take action in making the world a better place, and in inspiring others to do the same.


What was the most difficult part of pulling the whole campaign together?

Convincing a few people that the giant apple cat was going to be awesome! We have an amazing client, Jiri Rakosnik, who believes in us more than he believed in the cat and agreed to try it out.  

And working on Swale to ensure it was going to be as beautiful an orchard as it was in our imagination! It is easy to Photoshop an orchard on a barge with the NYC skyline as a backdrop like we did 18 months ago in our first creative presentation to Strongbow. It’s crazy that we managed to actually make it happen!



And the most rewarding?

There were so many rewarding aspects, from working with a brand willing to take a leap forward in creativity and brand activism to collaborating with a team of amazing people to create an inspiring and energetic film and planting an orchard on a barge in one of the world’s biggest cities! Our hope is that Strongbow will become more recognisable not only as a great cider brand, but as a leader in creating positive change in the world.

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