Truth Project – Behind the Scenes on the New Truth Project Campaign

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Yesterday a new spot from MullenLowe London and Gorgeous director Chris Palmer for The Truth Project was released [above].

The spot features a series of people, in a variety of scenes, with empty speech bubbles -which were shot in-camera - above their heads, showing that these victims have 'never been heard'. 

Below, Hugh Todd, one of the creative directors on the project, along with Lovisa Silburn, explains the decision behind choosing to shoot in-camera rather then go down a post production route, and how they achieved the look they were aiming for.

Above: Hugh Todd's all talk as he discusses the new campaign for The Truth Project.

When we came up with the idea of empty speech bubbles we were quite open to interpretation from directors of where to take the idea. As a concept, empty speech bubbles as metaphor for people not being heard or listened to, was liked by all but the question was how to do it. Speech bubbles in ads isn’t a totally original idea - we were conscious of this - and so wanted to ensure the execution would be something we’d never seen before.

So, after sifting through quite a few post-heavy treatments, we spoke to Chris Palmer and heard his completely different take on the idea which was, instead of doing it in post we should shoot it all in camera. We were all excited, and a tad nervous.

"The more realistic the speech bubbles the more we felt viewers would be intrigued by them."

Visions of huge, inflatable speech bubbles floating off across baron landscapes flashed through our minds. Not to mention the price of helium. But after meeting Chris, reading his treatment, seeing his references and hearing his logic, it seemed to be the right way to go.

It was a risk, but it was one worth taking, and felt the right thing to do. The more realistic the speech bubbles the more we felt viewers would be intrigued by them. Less a post-heavy advert, more an arty film about people’s unspoken thoughts.

The size of the bubbles was something we debated at length - at one point cutting out cardboard versions of them and holding them in MullenLowe meetings to get the ‘feel’ for what felt right. If they were too big it would feel impersonal and crass with regards the subject matter. They needed to be in proportion to the people featured.

The design was also important to get right. Fears of the balloons looking looking too childlike and cartoon-esqe were aired at an early stage by the client. So we tried to avoid that but, by shooting in-camera, that issue went away.

"Rest assured, no balloons were popped, hurt or left to float off into the ether, in this commercial."

We made two prototype speech bubbles; one solid, held on a stick, and another floating on a chord. The former worked a treat, with a bit of flexibility that allowed the balloon to move in the breeze, but not too weak so that the balloon flapped around. Shooting this way, the balloons started to have a life of their own - the movement becomes a little mesmerising.

The only balloon we used on a chord was the penultimate shot where we needed it to float away in the ‘lifting of the burden’ shot. We had fishing wire attached so we could pull it back to the balcony. Rest assured, no balloons were popped, hurt or left to float off into the ether, in this commercial 

Chris purposely constructed the edit with Johnnie Scarlett to appear in an order that always kept you guessing where the next balloon would be. Once we’d established the idea in the first two or three shots we could be a bit more adventurous in where we placed them. My favourite shot is in the pool; I had to hold my breath for over a minute and a half for that shot!

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