Cannes Lions

Hustle & Motivate: A Williams Brothers Story

AMC, New York / JEEP / 2020

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

The client, an American automotive company specializing in sport utility vehicles, came to us to develop an integrated “adventure”-themed short film series. The goal was to create standalone short films, each highlighting an adventure-seeker’s multifaceted life – how they live, who supports and inspires them, and their passion for adventure – that transport viewers to incredible worlds beyond their own. Naturally incorporating the product’s versatility was key for the client, and we wanted to highlight someone who truly embraces adventure in every aspect of their life.

Idea

Our idea was to create a short film with a cinematic look of heightened realism – a world we recognize, subtly elevated and captured with an eye for striking images. The director, an indie filmmaker and commercial director, wanted to present Justin’s story in a way that was relatable for the audience, with an optimistic outlook that finds just as much beauty in small quiet human moments as it does sweeping landscape and cycling shots. It’s a glimpse into a real life set against a variety of authentic sporting and human moments. The sponsored vehicle is organically woven throughout the piece.

Strategy

Our strategy for this film was to spotlight a unique talent in a natural way. Justin Williams, a Black cyclist raised in inner-city Los Angeles, stands out in a sport that traditionally draws white competitors. However, we didn’t want this narrative to only be about race – we knew that would sell Justin’s accomplishments short. Rather than focus on the inequality of his journey, we wanted to magnify the courage, drive, and community that made him the athlete he is today. It was important to find a director who could tell this story authentically. The director we chose specializes in working with non-actors, and is an expert at making people feel comfortable in front of the camera. We knew he could draw out genuine emotion and could create an unfettered glimpse into the world of an athletic great.

Execution

We commissioned an indie filmmaker and commercial director to direct this second short film in our “adventure film” series. To prepare for the documentary shoot, the director shadowed cyclist Justin Williams in his day-to-day life in Los Angeles, spending time with his family, friends, and colleagues. The director believes a person’s downtime speaks beautifully to who a person is, so he would often keep the camera running in order to capture the most authentic moments in Justin’s daily routines. The result was a film that feels like a natural peek into the life of a distinct and dedicated athlete. The film launched on the SundanceTV Facebook page and SundanceTV.com, targeted to the U.S. audience. The period from casting to final delivery was ~6 months.

Outcome

The piece garnered over 1.5MM views across our platforms and the sentiment was positive. The client was thrilled to have Justin as the talent for the piece and they even hired him as a social influencer for a period of time during the campaign, providing him with a vehicle for use in his everyday life. The client was happy with the final film and we created two additional integrated short films for this series. As for the director and the star Justin and his family, they forged a trusting and solid friendship and are planning to work together on another documentary piece in the future.

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