My Favourite Kim Gehrig Commercials
This is another in the globally popular ACES series of featuring commercial film directors that I admire for bringing creative concepts and storylines to filmic life that enthrall viewers.
Advertising Communication industry acknowledgements of their exemplary filmmaking craftsmanship with accolades and international awards, are hard-won and well deserved.
Australian Kim Gehrig went to London in the late 1990’s to study at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London.
After graduating she spent eight years as an Art Director at the highly reputable Advertising Agency ‘Mother’ in London, before venturing into her highly successful career as filmmaker and director of commercials, documentaries, music videos and short films.
In 2009 Kim won ‘Best Urban Music Video’ at the UK Music Video Awards for Wiley ‘s ‘Cash in My Pocket’.
‘This Girl Can’, a commercial Kim Gehric directed for Sport England and Advertising Agency FCB Inferno, was lauded in 2013 with a prestigious Cannes Glass Lion, three Cannes Gold Lions, seven Creative Circle awards, a D&AD pencil, three British Arrows Awards, and a silver Clio.
1. Sport England, This Girl Can
Advertising Agency: FCB Inferno, London, UK
Sponsored by the National Lottery, the Sport England ‘This Girl Can’ campaign was spearheaded with a commercial directed by Kim Gherig.
The integrated media communication was a motivational call to women of all ages and sizes to get exercising and not be discouraged by glamourised images of fit young women with perfect bodies in designer sportswear, exercising in gyms, yoga classes, and outdoor activities that barely raise a sweat.
On AdAge, Jennie Price, chief executive of Sport England, explained the human insight behind the campaign.
“Before we began this campaign, we looked very carefully at what women were saying about why they felt sport and exercise was not for them. Some of the issues, like time and cost, were familiar, but one of the strongest themes was a fear of judgment.”
“Worries about being judged for being the wrong size, not fit enough and not skilled enough came up time and again.”
“In ‘This Girl Can’ we want to tell the real story of women who exercise and play sport, they come in all shapes and sizes and all levels of ability and they have a myriad of reasons for doing what they do.”
“The main thing is that you are a woman and you are doing something, and that deserves to be celebrated.”
2. Tourism Australia, Matesong
Advertising Agency: M&C Saatchi, Sydney, Australia
The integrated Tourism Australia ‘Philausophy’ campaign was launched in the United Kingdom with ‘Matesong’ that was aired shortly before the live broadcast of the Queen’s 2019 Annual Christmas Address.
Directed by Kim Gehrig, the commercial stars Kylie Minoque and Australian comedian and TV presenter Adam Hills, who extend a very friendly invitation to viewers to visit Australia where they will receive, a most cordial welcome. “When you need an end to what ails ya, call on your friends in Australia”.
The ‘Matesong’ Lyrics and music are by Australian writer, performer and composer, Eddie Perfect.
Footnote: Some media commentators have pointed out that the timing of the ‘Matesong’ commercial’s flighting is rather unfortunate owing to the unforeseeable scale of the huge devastation caused by fires raging across Australia and making headline news internationally.
3. Tourism Australia, Behind the Scenes of Matesong
Production Company: Revolver/Will O’Rourke, Sydney, Australia
Narrated by Kylie Minoque, this short ‘look behind the scenes’, reveals the identities of ‘Matesong’s cameo appearances by famous Australians.
4. Essity FemCare, Viva La Vulva
Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK
Directed by Kim Gehrig, the integrated campaign for the Swedish Essity FemCare brand known as ‘Libresse’ in the Nordic countries, and ‘Bodyform’ in the United Kingdom, combines live action and animation in memorable and amusing vaginal metaphors.
The objective of Essity FemCare’s brand communication campaign is to break down those taboos, insecurities and stereotypes that women are subjected to when it comes to their genitals, and celebrate the vulva in all its beautiful forms.
The Essity Company believes that society has projected a myth about the perfect vulva for far too long. The feelings of insecurity and social awkwardness this has caused have prevented women from having a positive relationship with their bodies.
Publicly lauded by women globally on social media and numerous published articles, the multi award-winning ‘Viva La Vulva’ campaign, which includes several Cannes Lions and a 2019 Clio Grand Prix, features a resonant soundtrack of Camille Yarbrough’s “Take Yo’ Praise”.
5. Honda HR-V, Stepping
Advertising Agency: Mcgarrybowen, London, UK
Directed by Kim Gehrig and filmed at London’s Wembly Arena, ‘Stepping’ pays homage to the Japanese art of precision choreography and synchronised marching.
The commercial is a demonstrably effective analogy of Honda’s focused, ‘team-stepping’ pursuit of engineering perfection.
To the sound of jungle musician and composer M-Beat’s 90’s hit ‘Incredible’ featuring General Levy, six weeks of preparatory rehearsals were required before perfecting the highly watchable feats of massed human discipline.
6. John Lewis, Man on The Moon
Advertising Agency: Adam&Eve/DDB, London, UK
The John Lewis store chain partnered with Age, UK, in a public awareness campaign about the exacerbated feelings of loneliness many elderly people experience during the festive season.
Campaign Magazine named Kim Gehrig as ‘Director of The Year’ for her ‘Man on The Moon commercial. The emotive, metaphorical story is about the awakening of societal consciousness to not ‘lose sight’ of the isolation and familial exclusion of the elderly, and to motivate warm-hearted, and much-needed remedial responses.
The soundtrack features the Oasis hit ‘Half the World Away’ by Norwegian Singer/Songwriter, Aurora.
7. Nike, Dream Crazier
Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, Oregon, USA
Directed by Kim Gherig and narrated by Serena Williams, ‘Dream Crazier’ pays tribute to female athletes who have broken barriers, brought people together through their celebratory performances, and inspired young athletes to chase after their dreams.
The commercial features scenes of noteworthy triumphs by some of the greatest female athletes in the world, and Serena’s motivating message is meaningfully amplified by her personal experiences and remarkable achievements.
“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts, delusional, unhinged, hysterical, and irrational.”
“So if they want to call you crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do.”