Credits & Description:
Surreal World, Creatures Created To Launch Lexus Hybrid Hatchback
Draftfcb Johannesburg has created a dramatic print and outdoor campaign to
launch Lexus’ new luxury hybrid hatchback, the CT 200h.
Targeting young professionals, the eye-catching campaign depicts the hybrid
in a surreal landscape alongside a creature made from the same materials as
the vehicle. The implication is that the CT 200h is so advanced that, in
this world, animals have evolved to incorporate its features. The comparison
is also alluded to in the text, as well as in the radio spots that are
supporting the printed executions.
The challenge put to the agency’s creative team of Aviv Weil, Sergio Ines,
Louise Hutchinson, Ivor Forrester and Frank Kunene was to use the launch as
an opportunity to break through to a younger target market, make the brand
more youthful and inject it with energy and vibrancy. With a starting price
of under R350 000, it also makes owning a Lexus far more accessible.
“The Lexus CT 200h is a remarkable car,” said Lexus senior manager:
marketing & communications, Lisa Mallett. “It deserves a remarkable
advertising campaign to launch it. This creative execution aptly positions
it as technologically superior, exciting and desirable. Well done to all
“We wanted to create a surreal world dominated by the CT 200h’s dashboard
lighting colours – the dash shows blue when the car is powered by
electricity, red when it is driven by the petrol engine,” said Forrester.
“Then, we required a computer-generated animal showcasing certain of the CT
200h’s design details and, by association, exaggerating one of its features.
“We turned to award-winning photographer, Gerard Turnley and an audio/visual
production company in Cambridge, London, to achieve the desired
Turnley, well-known as a car photographer, was extremely excited by the
concept, one he described as ‘futuristic’ and a ‘first for a South African
“The only conventional photography in the campaign was that of the car, and
the animal caught in a dream-like location. Balancing the challenging
technical detail and creative parameters set by the brief needed months of
constant dedication and I am certain the final result will reap rewards for
the progressive-thinking client,” he said.
After testing, Turnley decided that an in-camera infrared shop would provide
the best result for the backgrounds, as opposed to trying to create these
digitally. However, the nature of infrared photography relies on capturing
infrared light and blocking almost all-visible light. Various optical
companies in London and the USA, as well as the CSIR, were
therefore consulted about which filter to use to ensure the best colour
palette was delivered from which to create the surreal world.
The shoot took place in the Western Cape were the winter rainfall
had resulted in a lush green landscape perfect for infrared photography. The
various background shots and lighting references were then sent to Wilma
Studios in Cambridge. Here, Will Powell and his team, who had worked
previously with Turnley and who had been working on the elements for the
computer-generated animals were able to start rendering and applying the
lighting provided from the locations, and retoucher, Rob Frew, was then
ready to start compiling the elements and applying the final colour for the
“Establishing the correct pose was crucial in order to give the 3D creature
a life-like appearance,” said Powell from Cambridge. “We started off
with concept sketches to get the structure and pose right, and then we moved
onto the design of the creature.
“Because the creature had to show design cues from the Lexus CT 200h as well
as be made from the exact parts, we created models of various parts and
placed them onto the creature to form some of the main features.
“Then came a working 3D skeleton or rig system, from sketches based on a
real life animal so that the creature could be rendered in a life-like pose;
we felt this would give the 3D creature the characteristics of the real
animal. Finally, we used high definition resolution photography to light the
creatures so that they could fit into their environment as best as possible,
and rendered in high resolution multiple layers so that we had full control
of the lighting right up to the final stage in retouching.
“It was a very complicated brief, but we like complicated, and we believe
the results are outstanding,” he said.
The Print Ad titled Surreal World was done by Draftfcb Johannesburg advertising agency for product: Lexus Hybrid Hatchback (brand: Lexus) in South Africa. It was released in the Oct 2011.