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  • 10.06.15

Why A Tesla Fan Made This Stunning Unofficial Brand Commercial

Director Sam O’Hare talks about why he created more free advertising for Elon Musk’s car brand.

Why A Tesla Fan Made This Stunning Unofficial Brand Commercial

Last year, a collection of recent college grads parlayed an impressive spec ad for Tesla into putting their new production company Everdream on the map of major advertisers everywhere. Now Elon Musk’s electric car brand has another stunning piece of free advertising, this time from director Sam O’Hare.

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The spot drops us into a seemingly dystopian future, lingering on a lonely firefly outside an abandoned gas station. That is, until that one firefly becomes a flurry that provide an artistic interpretation of the Tesla manufacturing process. Visually stunning, the entire thing was built in CGI. O’Hare says the goal was to create a fully CG spot as a proof of ability at production company Parachute. An admiration of Musk’s vision led to picking Tesla as the test brand.

“I’m interested in electric vehicles and the future of transportation, and Tesla are at the forefront of that,” says O’Hare. “I really admire how Elon Musk wants to change the world for the better, and took on the enormous task of developing an amazing electric vehicle, only to share the patents and encourage others to follow his lead. It’s a philosophy you don’t find very often. From SpaceX to the Hyperloop, it feels like he’s actively creating the future.”

The idea for the fireflies came from seeing them buzzing around Central Park. “Being from the U.K., we don’t have fireflies, and I was totally entranced the first time I saw them,” says O’Hare. “They still seem a little bit like magic even now. I was thinking about a story for the spot, and liked the the idea of their bioluminescence as a form of natural energy, much like the sunlight you can use to power a car. I worked on the story and how the fireflies could interact with and create the car, then built a previz of the location and animation. We then started working to make everything look photo-real with the CG team at Parachute.”

It was a side project for O’Hare and his team over the last year and a half, working on down days, then taking time off over the last two months to give it a final push. Since posting the video last week, Tesla Motors retweeted a tweet about it from Chris Anderson, head of TED Talks, but O’Hare hasn’t heard anything directly from Musk or the brand.

“We knew when we started that they don’t advertise, and we weren’t looking for them to pick this up for themselves,” says O’Hare. “But hey, if they want to, we’re onboard! If we can work with them in any capacity, that would be a dream.”

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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