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Rural Folk and Country Tales

For an urbanite like me storytelling commercials about rural life and country escapades are a welcome mental distraction as a respite from my often, smoldering frustrations about crowded shopping mall car parks and daily traffic congestion.

Real or fictional rural tales and scenarios about remote places and mountain retreats where ‘time stands still’ I find motivate my dreams and fantasies about soul-satisfying destinations and a change to a gentler way of life in a community of welcoming country folk.

Judging by the increasing amount of spotlessly clean, large ‘getaway’ SUV’s and 4X4’s in the city, car parks and surrounding suburbs, I guess that many urbanites probably share some of my motivational sentiments with an escapist ‘as-soon-as-I-get-the-chance’ thought in mind.

1. Vodafone, Piggy Sue

Advertising Agency: FCB, New Zealand

Directed by Steve Rogers, ‘Piggy Sue’ not only stole the hearts of New Zealand viewers but also the hearts of country lovers, animal lovers and vegetarians globally.

Vodafone spokesperson Fleur McFarlane said that the commercial was primarily about the national culture of caring for all friends, whether human or animal, and the community spirit that connects all rural New Zealanders.

2. Chicken Licken Soul Food, Rick Alexander Douglas

Advertising Agency: Network BBDO, Johannesburg, South Africa

Directed by Peter Pohorsky and filmed on location in Nepal the amusingly poignant story is about Ricky who has ‘let his soul go hungry’.

He leaves his desk job in Johannesburg and abandons his family to go on an epic journey to reconnect with his lost, spiritual self. Rick’s quest takes him deep into the Himalayas but sadly, he is never heard of again.

The tongue-in-cheek message of the narrative’s spiritual quest parody is to never let your soul go hungry.

3. Firestone Tires, Young Lovers Out West                                      

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, USA

The rural American setting of Firestone’s ‘Pick Up’ commercial, directed by Lance Acord, is evocative storytelling at its best about a romantic getaway.

This emotionally nuanced visual narrative is perfectly underscored by songwriter Daniel Johnston’s ‘True Love Will Find You in the End’ as the soundtrack.

4. Sennheiser AVX, The Oracle

 Advertising Agency: Philipp and Keuntie, Hamberg, Germany

Directed by Tore Frandsen, this cinematic short film tells the story of a videographer’s journey to a a remote mountain village to record the moment the ‘Oracle’ wakes up.

The ‘Oracle’, who is revered for being able to accurately predict the future, wakes up briefly from his slumber every 10 years to answer one question about the future before going back to sleep again as he has done for countless decades.

The location of the remote village seems to have been purposely kept anonymous in keeping with the fictionally inspired theme of the tale.

The music soundtrack is by composer Toni Martin Dobrzanski and performed by the Budapest Art Orchestra.

The commercial won numerous awards in 2015 which includes the following edited selection:

Winner of Best Direction EuroBest
Gold for Best Directing at LIA London
Gold for Best Cinematography at LIA London
Gold for Best Edit at LIA London
Winner of Best Direction at Clio New York
Winner of Best Cinematography at Clio New York
Winner of Best Editor at Clio New York
Winner of Best Director at ADC Hamburg
Winner of Best Director at New York Festivals
Winner of Best Film (Branded entertainment) at New York Festivals
Winner of Best Film (Television/Cinema/Online) at New York Festivals
Winner of Best Edit at New York Festivals

5. Volvo V90 Cross Country Luxury, Live Fully Now

Advertising Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors, Stockholm, Sweden

The cinematic short film ‘The Get Away Car’, was directed by Vincent Haycock and filmed in Vancouver, Canada. The original music score is by composer Hanna Townshend.

A 1995 speech by British philosopher and thinker Alan Watts provides the voice-over narrative that challenges viewer ‘mindfulness’ about life’s journey.

Alan Watts’s insightful ideas and thoughts enjoy a popular contemporary following in podcasts and YouTube links, approaching 10 million downloads to date.

6. Land-Rover, The LR4 Escape Key

Advertising Agency: Y&R, Dubai, UAE

Production Company: Pixel Plus Media, Dubai, UAE

This highly effective brand promotion is brilliant in its simplicity and motivational relevancy to its target audience. The commercial says it all.

7. Switzerland Tourism, Clocks

Advertising Agency: Spillmann/Felser/ Leo Burnett, Zurich, Switzerland

Directed by Michael Fueter, this beautifully filmed short film is a delightful tongue-in-cheek story about the citizens of ‘the land of clocks’, and their spirit of community in enabling tourists to effectively forget about the national devotion to accurate timekeeping, and just concentrate on enjoying the extraordinary beauty of a winter in Switzerland.

8. Toyota Hilux, Tougher Than You Can Imagine

Advertising Agency: Saatchi and Saatchi, Auckland, New Zealand

Directed by Leo Woodhead, this amusingly dramatised tale with a great twist at the end, was released on Facebook, YouTube and TV in an integrated campaign that included print, outdoor advertising and point of sale material.

The campaign was launched to coincide with the 2012 France versus All Blacks rugby competition and was a huge hit with TV viewers and social media users to become one of New Zealand’s all-time commercial classics.