Target is launching a unique partnership with fashion icon Liberty of London, which combines the retail giant's budget-conscious ethos with Liberty's legendary styles. The announcement called for a memorable advertising campaign, and who better to deliver than A Very Small Office (AVSO) Director Mikon van Gastel, who collaborated closely with Peterson Milla Hooks (PMH) to buck industry trends and create a unique oversized practical environment that beautifully showcases Liberty's trendy clothing, home and table ware, garden products, bicycles and more.
The edgy Liberty spot follows AVSO's recent series of high-profile Target Frugalista spots - done in the iconic style of the retail chain - that aired during the Grammys, the Golden Globes, and the Winter Olympics. The spots are vastly different in tone and presentation from the Liberty spot, serving as both a verification of Mikon's incredible versatility and AVSO's ability to attract and maintain the world's most visible clients.
"It's a testament to PMH that they recognized Mikon's flexibility and gave him liberty (no pun intended) to create at will. What they got was something unique; a fashion editorial come to life; a slightly surreal and ethereal spot that goes far beyond traditional retail expectations," noted AVSO EP Saffron Case.
Liberty of London, shot at Greystone Mansion and other inspiring locations, is a beautiful, quirky spot starring fashion model-types gallivanting through impossible practical landscapes of oversized dimensions: a sprawling tabletop stocked with human-sized china; a soaring bedroom with mattresses stacked to the ceiling beside a 12-foot-tall lamp; a garden with head-high mushrooms, giant roses, and a 14-foot watering can. By shooting in these arresting settings, Mikon captured a fabulous moment in time; a youthful interpretation of Liberty of London's iconic floral prints and British heritage, mixed with Target's unique design sense and great value. Outrageously intricate Liberty patterns are featured on the fashion and home décor or inside the garden, becoming truly iconic through the use of oversized scale and giving the viewer a look at the products in a uniquely modern way. The imagery becomes richer in detail as each scene is transformed to become imaginary and fanciful, evoking a real sense of wonder.
Mikon composited only very small portions of the spot. "While some directors have abandoned practical objects in favor of CG and other FX, I felt that, in this particular case, the interaction with actual monumental objects stoked a more genuine performance that made the story more evocative," noted Mikon. "While there are more budget challenges to meet in an approach like this, the results are more than worthwhile: the Liberty patterns create a strong visual identity across the campaign that sets Target and Liberty of London's collaboration apart from anything the competition is doing."
Managing the shots - a mix of blue screen and more traditional methods - to create a practical, believable environment presented some interesting technical challenges. The giant tabletop, for example, was not a rectangle, and Mikon had to use camera trickery to push everything together in a tabletop force perspective shot to create a realistic scale in relation to the environment. In the bedroom scene, shot at Greystone, Mikon had to mix the scales so he would not be dealing with a one-to-one ratio. "We wanted to keep the spot interesting," said Mikon, "and for that we had to mix and match the scales, so that the spot was visually unpredictable and compelling."
The spot is one component of a larger campaign featuring a print component shot by well-known fashion photographer Tim Walker.like
Spots Title: "Liberty of London"
Air Date: 2/14/10
Agency: Peterson Milla Hooks
Art Director: Matthew Parr
CD: Dave Peterson
Head of Production/Producer: Aldo Hertz
Prod Company: A Very Small Office
Director: Mikon van Gastel
EP: Saffron Case
Editorial: Channel Z
Editor: Brett Astor
Producer: Ace Allgood
Telecine: Crash & Sue's, MN
Colorist: Sue Lakso
Post/Effects: Pixel Farm
Lead VFX: Kurt Angell
Flame Artist: Tony Mills
Producer: Bill Kruse
Music: Modern Music
Composer(s): John Hermanson, Eric Fawcett
Creative Director: Daron Walker
Audio Engineer/Mixer: Bryan Hanna
Producer: Joanna Jahn
Shoot Locations: Los Angeles Locations