Behind the Idea: Building (Jeff) Bridges with Amstel

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Amstel is the local beer of Amsterdam and recently, its creative agency adam&eveDDB launched an ad that sees Hollywood actor Jeff Bridges appear as a canal bridge to promote togetherness for the brand.

The result is an unforgettable piece of work produced by Somesuch which encapsulates the warm vibe of the Dutch city through a surreal visual pun. Below, Matt Fitch and Mark Lewis, creatives at adam&eveDDB, explain the thinking behind the idea and hint at a genius follow up.

What was the brief?

The brief had a few layers: Amstel is the beer from Amsterdam… beer is a great leveller, bringing people from all walks of life together (but don’t say this explicitly because alcohol advertising laws won’t allow it)… Amsterdam is famous for bridges which also bring people together. There was a lot to say, so we needed a campaign that would bring these various strands of thought together in an entertaining, memorable and succinct way.

Tell us about the inception of the idea…

We quickly realised that we needed a spokesperson to deliver the strategy and brand message.  There was so much to get across, literally having someone say everything we needed to be said was the only way to achieve this. And who better to talk about Bridges than Jeff Bridges?

What was the biggest challenge during the creative process?

To be honest, everyone including the client warmed to the idea very quickly, so it all came down to whether we could get Jeff on board. That’s when agents, lawyers and contracts got involved – that’s not our department but thankfully it all worked out in the end.

How did the various teams involved work together?

It was a mammoth production with teams in London, Holland and the US all pushing and pulling to make this happen. Our people, their people, Jeff’s people… a well-oiled machine fuelled by bags of money.

What about the post production; sound and effects?

Unfortunately, even Jeff Bridges’ formidable acting abilities don’t include growing to 100 feet tall, so some SFX magic was required and post duties fell to Dan Lorenzini at MPC. Dan came with us on the shoot and was on hand to make sure everything that could be taken into consideration on set, was.

Sound was done at Factory. Dan Beckwith is one of the best and as we knew we’d need to record ADR with Jeff after the shoot we wanted somebody who understands the nuance of voice performance and brings ideas to the table, which Dan does.

Why does the idea work for the brand?

As the beer from Amsterdam, it’s one of the few brands with a genuine right to talk about something as lofty as ‘togetherness’ – Amsterdam really is a cool, laidback melting pot of togetherness, and that’s part of Amstel’s DNA.

Why does it resonate with the audience?

Our audience is living in a world that’s full of division and it’s now more important for them to bridge (pun-intended) those divides and come together. What better way to do that than over a beer?

Why was this the best way to present the campaign considering there are so many media platforms out there today?

The mix of media was extremely important for this campaign. On one hand we knew we needed a 60” ad to tell a complex story, but also needed shorter form versions that would get us reach across non-traditional channels.

What do you hope people take away from the work?

We just hope people like it so that Amstel buy our next idea: Tom Cruise as a cruise boat.




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