For its new Axe spot, BBH in New York wanted to dramatize the idea of the girl who got away—and warn its young customers not to let it happen to them. The agency thought it would be most compelling if a celebrity told the story of a lost chance from high school. "It doesn't matter how charismatic or handsome or funny you are. Everybody has had that person who renders them useless," said BBH executive creative director Ari Weiss. The agency got Kiefer Sutherland on board to tell the tale of Susan Glenn, his (fictional) girl who got away, in a stylish, surreal spot that plays like a memory—with poetic narration and quietly fantastical dream sequences that lend the sometimes meat heady brand an air of sophistication.
Ringan Ledwidge, who directed The Guardian's celebrated"Three Little Pigs" spot, shot this one over three days in Los Angeles. Set in the '80s, when Sutherland would have been in high school, it has that washed-out, vintage look. "The reference we talked about was an old Polaroid—before Instagram," said Weiss. The transitions are ethereal—borderless and blurry. Most of the visuals were captured in camera. "We didn't want the effects to take you out of the memory," Weiss said.