Mini sport utility vehicles don’t just fall from the sky. Except when they do in the latest ad for Nissan’s Juke.
In the European ad, “Built To Thrill,” created by agencies TBWA/G1 and TBWA London and directed by Lieven van Baelen, a man in standard office attire jumps out of a plane while strapped in a chair. Soon he is met by members of the world’s most efficient flying pit crew, who somehow manage to build an entire car around him. Next the Juke lands on a dirt racetrack, where the jumpsuited pit crew reappears on bikes to continue their work. Eventually the car jumps a ramp that leads it off of the track, plunging underwater. All in a day’s work.
The ad is shot in a busy, quick-cut style that doesn’t leave the viewer alone with each image long enough to wonder how it was filmed. It all flashes by so quickly and seamlessly that you almost accept mid-air car assembly as a physical possibility.
“The car-building sequence was all shot outdoors, in a wind protected area, against a very large blue screen,” says Louis Saint-Calbre, a producer at the production company behind the spot, Henry de Czar. “The skydivers, the car’s mainframe, and our hero were all hooked up on wires. The actual wire rigging structure/frame measured 60 feet by 60 feet and was held up in the air with cranes. All the wires were also hooked up to cranes, which were used as counterbalances to hoist up and down the different car parts as well as our stuntmen and actors.”
Although the skydiving scenes required technological wizardry to look as convincing as they do, that doesn’t mean everything was filmed with screen tricks. The entire middle section of the on-location shoot was completed on a legitimate race track, even if the car wasn’t actually being built as filming progressed. “The motocross sequence was shot ‘live’ using real bikers and stuntmen,” Saint-Calbre says. “The ramp was real and so was the car’s landing… on the ramp.”
It’s probably for the best that they didn’t try to land it in water just for the sake of realism.