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The new spot for Dacia, Ingenious Productions, created by Publicis•Poke London is exactly that, an ingenious production.

The 30-second spot was shot during the lockdown period and is not only directed by Iconoclast's Vania & Muggia but is also located in their flat in Tel Aviv. 

Below, we speak to Publicis•Poke Group Creative Director Colin Byrne, Creative Director Rob Butcher and Colin Hickson, Head of Film Production, about the campaign and how it was created.

What was the brief from Dacia for the campaign and how quickly was the concept arrived at?

Byrne: Dacia are so competitively priced that people who are new to the brand often think it’s too good to be true and ask ‘what’s the catch?’. But the truth is Dacia’s affordability is down to their smart engineering approach. Their entire methodology and process is different to other manufacturers and nothing short of ingenious. Every Dacia is an ingenious production in its own right so we thought, why isn’t everything baring the Dacia name an ingenious production?  

Dacia – Ingenious Productions

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Above: The new Dacia spot, Ingenious Productions.

The spot initially embraces the slightly cliched car commercial tropes before making light of them; was it important to incorporate humour into the spot?

Byrne: Absolutely. Dacia is a light-hearted brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It was vital to make sure that, although ingenious, the spot didn’t leave the viewer thinking Dacia are a bit full of themselves because that’s not them at all. They are the straight talking, down to earth, nothing to hide antithesis to the big players in the market, so a bit of mockery and self-deprecation was vital.

Many lockdown commercials have used the video call as the crux of their concept; did you actively try to avoid that approach?

Butcher: As the world was flung into lockdown, the tools we as creatives had to hand became very limited overnight. Most of the ads breaking were made using the same base ingredients and that meant we had to box clever in order to make this ad stand out.

Above [l-r]: Colin Byrne, Rob Butcher and Colin Hickson.

Why were Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia the right directors for the job and what did they bring to the project?

Byrne: Vania and Gal first came to my attention a few years back when they created the Up & Up video for Coldplay. It's a stunningly beautiful piece that blew me away through its simplicity and elegance but, technically, it’s genius. It was just a matter of waiting for the right project to come along for us to collaborate on. We approached directors and three made test films but when we watched Gal and Vania’s test, we were gobsmacked. They had nailed the brief of ingenuity and it took us three or four views to figure out what they had done and how they had done it.

Coldplay – Up & Up

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Above: Vania & Muggia's promo for Coldplay.

How involved were you and the creative team in the production process; did you have to cede control and put your faith in the production team more than you might usually have?

Hickson: We’re pleased to say that the whole project has been one of collaboration from the start. We gave Gal and Vania the brief, they came back with the illusion, and together we built it into the finished product from there. Whereas an ad is normally pretty much locked at script stage, this was more like a promo where the directors treat and, in this case, create a proof of concept, so you naturally trust them to realise the vision as it’s primarily theirs. 

How long did the project take to complete, start to finish, and how much of it is in-camera versus done in post?

Hickson: Longer than we first envisaged; around four weeks, and bar a bit of clean up and some sound design, the entire thing was done in camera in Vania’s flat in Tel-Aviv, in one take.

Above: The actors taking a break on set/in their flat.

What was the most challenging part of the campaign?

Butcher: The choreography. Taking the decision to put everything from the musician to the VO in the room and capturing it all in camera in a single take that lasts exactly 26.8 seconds required quite a few rehearsals.

Has the last few months put a new emphasis on brands needing to speak to the issues consumers are facing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis?

Byrne: It’s not yet known what the true impact of the crisis will be but this ever-evolving picture means we have to assess every detail of every task even more closely to make sure the communications we put out on behalf of brands speak to the audience. That said, people are still people. We adapt and move on. We want to be entertained, still want to laugh and we certainly don’t want to be reminded of the doom and gloom of the situation every 30 seconds.

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