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Your Shot

Your Shot: Wieden+Kennedy Battle Clifftop Gales in Iceland for Epic New Arla Spot

Wieden+Kennedy London, 2 years, 6 months ago

Creative Thom Whitaker on a bringing Icelandic skyr to the world with a breathtaking campaign

Your Shot: Wieden+Kennedy Battle Clifftop Gales in Iceland for Epic New Arla Spot

Icelandic people are known for their strength, courage and tenacity. And if this utterly charming spot from Wieden+Kennedy London and Blink’s Dougal Wilson is anything to go by, it’s all thanks to a healthy dose Skyr, a traditional Icelandic yoghurt that’s so ancient that it’s found in Norse sagas. The spot is set on the 1960s and tells the story of a young telephone exchange messenger who completes extraordinary feats to keep his remote community connected to the rest of the world via the village’s only phone. LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with Wieden+Kennedy London creative Thom Whitaker about the spot’s inspiration, classic storytelling and almost being blown off a cliff.

LBB> What was the initial brief like and what were you thinking when you first saw it? 

TW> The brief was to help launch Skyr, a much-loved Icelandic yogurt, in several new markets including the UK, Netherlands and Germany. We were excited. It’s always fun creating a new campaign for a good product.

LBB> Why did you end up travelling back to the ‘60s and following the young messenger? What inspired the idea?

TW> Skyr’s super high in protein which, we figured, might explain why they’re a nation of such over-achievers. We wanted to tell a story of extraordinary Icelandic strength, but not the kind you might have seen before. We'd heard about young Icelandic kids working as telephone messengers back in the ‘60s which we thought could be the perfect story to tell.

LBB> How tricky was it to capture a truly Icelandic feel that would also resonate with a global audience? 

TW> I think everyone has a particular image of Iceland in their minds which you rarely see on screen. We wanted to bring that to life while keeping the story and the messages the boy delivers fairly universal.

LBB> What kind of research was involved for the campaign? Did you discover any surprising Icelandic facts that influenced the final work?

TW> Skyr itself is over 1100 years old and even features in some old Norse sagas. Because of this heritage it only felt right to create our own epic story. We wanted to go back to the old tradition of classic storytelling - a bit like the old Stella work.

LBB> Where did the shoot take you? It seems as though some tricky locations were involved! Any interesting production stories to tell?

TW> All the locations were incredible but the lighthouse was probably the most memorable. A full on Icelandic storm was battering the cliffs and it felt like we could be swept away at any second. I don't think we've ever been so happy with a first take.

LBB> Some short documentaries are set to launch online soon - can you tell us a bit about those? Who and what are they about? Where did you find the people involved? 

TW> The short films are out next week on YouTube and Facebook and are called 'Skyr Guides'. They're also from W+K but Toby Moore and Selena McKenzie are the brains behind them, not us.

They're basically two short portraits of modern day Icelanders who exhibit the same sort of strength as Orri does in our film: Kolla, a cyclist who braves the Icelandic climate every day and Joi, a modern-day Viking who's a doorman at one of Reykjavik's oldest nightclubs and who's not averse to putting skyr on his steak.

They're all about introducing us Brits to skyr: the history of it, what it's good with, how it's pronounced etcetera.

LBB> What were the trickiest components and how did you overcome them?

TW> Almost getting blown off a cliff. We hid in the van.

LBB> Personally, what is your favourite element of the film? 

TW> We’re big fans of the jilted man. You don’t get lapels like that anymore.

Category: Dairy , Food

Genre: Scenic , Storytelling