Ketel One's Generations ad mixes drones and letterpress

How The Juggernaut mixed traditional creative techniques with groundbreaking ones for this vodka spot.

Toronto-based studio The Juggernaut has created an imaginative and skilful spot for spirits producer Diageo and its Dutch Ketel One Vodka brand.

Generations blends numerous styles of animation, visual effects and even classical letterpress to tell the story of Ketel One's Distilleerketel No. 1 - the vodka's original copper pot still.

Parent company Diageo approached The Juggernaut directly, according to executive creative director Craig Small. "Their marketing team was looking for a standout animated spot that was content-driven, fresh and innovative and something that would draw viewership and hopefully create a buzz," said Small.

"They had one mandate: tell a story that touches on three of the eight points found on Ketel One's bottle."

"I pitched a concept that covered all eight plus a bonus Easter egg. The basic thinking behind the pitch was fitting a 325-year timelapse of the Ketel distillery in Schiedam, the Netherlands, into a mere 30 seconds."

During the planning, shooting and post phases of the production, the Juggernaut team was based in Toronto, 3,700 miles from the distillery in the Netherlands.

To get round this, the review and collaboration processes were undertaken using Cospective’s real-time online review and approval platform Frankie.

"The timelapse involved shooting aerial reference footage of this beautiful Dutch town filled with picturesque windmills using a drone," Small explained, "That was new for us."

While still in Toronto the team was able to plan out its whole flight path for a drone using Google Earth. It then used Frankie to share GPS waypoints with Amsterdam-based pilots before any of the team had even booked their flights to Europe.

"I found myself using Frankie from the pitch stage right through to final post," Small explained, "Storyboards, style frames, visual references, both moving and still, were quickly uploaded to a review session, annotated and shared with everyone involved, no matter where they were."

Frankie was also used for daily review sessions with artists on the project. Several artists in the production worked remotely with The Juggernaut from as far away as Ontario and Arkansas.

Small claimed Generations was crafted with an ambition suited to Ketel One's long history.

"During my research, I noticed that many liquor brands like to tout their heritage and often manufacture backstories about their brand," he explained, "The Nolet family, who produce Ketel One Vodka, have actually been distilling spirits since 1691.It's been in continuous operation and family-owned for centuries."

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The Nolet Distillery, where Ketel One Vodka is produced, is one of the few remaining alcohol producers in the region.

This genuine history played perfectly into the creative thinking behind the commercial: "Their history of 12 generations of master distillers, a role handed down from father to son, reads like a fable," Small said, "But it's all true."

Small decided to mirror this authenticity through the use of traditional inked animation cels, which were engraved onto woodblocks with a laser and printed with letterpress, from Nicholas Kennedy of Trip Print Press.

The resulting prints were then re-digitised, thus capturing the details and textures each process added along the way.

“Dennis Tamse, the distillery ambassador, was our live model for the taste-testing morph sequence,” said Small. “He was a great tour guide, a snappy dresser and a formidable drinker."

"Frankie was a godsend since it's 100 percent browser-based with nothing to install - reviews can be initiated in minutes rather than days," said Small. "That's a huge deal with the condensed timelines of advertising."

He added:"Any tool that frees up time and allows me to play with lasers and drones has great value to me!"

Diageo was very happy with the spot too. Sharon Howard, brand manager at the company, said: "The Juggernaut was very passionate about the project and delivered a concept that really spoke to the brands quality and craft credentials."

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