From the Vault #6: Jose Gonzalez & bouncy balls create an advertising classic

Recently we synch licensed a beautiful rework of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘True Colours’ for Sony Bravia’s latest campaign. If you haven’t already seen it, the ad itself was filmed in an old Romanian castle and featured hundreds of glitter-filled balloons bursting into a sea of colour. With the company’s “Color” campaign running for over ten years, this was certainly not the first example of Sony Bravia’s obsession of mixing colour and ambitious creative concepts. In this week’s From the Vault, we’re going to delve into the not too distant past and look at the ad that started it all.

Sony Bravia’s 2005 spot is one I suspect many of you have seen before. 250,000 real bouncy balls are sent teeming down a steep San Francisco street, all the while playing out majestically in slow motion. It’s since become an industry classic and the way in which it was executed a source fascination to anyone who has had the pleasure of watching it. The ad was brought to fruition by director Nicolai Fuglsig, who in addition to 12 mortar cannons, deployed the balls by tipping three giant skips upside down, while being suspended 50 feet in the air. It required more than 50 people to collect all the stray balls and four days to shoot.

While the ad is an impressive feat and a stunning, mesmerising spectacle to watch, it is important also to appreciate the pivotal role played by the accompanying music. Jose Gonzalez’ beautiful rework of The Knife’s ‘Heartbeats’ adds an important weightlessness to the visuals. As the balls cascade so to do Gonzalez’ acoustic arpeggios, which set a perfect pace for the ad. The song also acts as a necessary calm counterpoint to the chaotic visuals, imparting the spot and indeed the viewer with a pensive sense of beauty.

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