We Shot a Snow Leppard!

October 24, 2010

When you have the opportunity to shoot a commercial with a top rock group, you have a narrow time window to shoot through.  And you only get one chance.

I have had the opportunity to work shoots with quite a few celebrities, amongst them Wayne Gretzky, Bill Cosby, June Lockhart, Alex Baumann, Henry Altuve, Alannah Myles, Eddie Shack, Count Floyd, Ronnie Hawkins and when I was younger, John A. MacDonald plus many others.  Some better known, some lesser known.

Whoever they were, we felt they were bringing something positive to the brand being advertised.

Some are easy to work with.  Some a royal pain in the ass.  But sometimes the difficulties we encounter with them was not of our making, or theirs.

Calexis was contracted to create the television advertising for the first Molson Canadian cabin party back in the late 90s.  The idea of the promotion to award winners an invitation to a private party for about 200 people at a closed site.  There were four parties, one in each long weekend in the summer.

There was to be a live concert at each venue by one of four well known rock bands: Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lennie Kravitz and Alannah Myles.

But, as we said in the commercial, You had to win to get in.  It was among the first promotions of this kind to be staged.  Hard to believe now when all the beer brands are doing it.

We designed our campaign so that we could shoot insert sections of the rock stars and edit the footage into the campaign message of the private Cabin Party for the winners.

Since we were shooting in the early spring, the outdoor cabin shoot was scheduled for late April in North Carolina where it looks like Ontario does in the summer.  A little season slight of hand.

As to the rock stars, they were available off and on during the summer and only Alannah Myles could make it to our North Carolina location.

As luck would have it, we were able to meet Def Leppard in Montreal on the first of April.  They had one day between concerts in Montreal and Ottawa.

Off we go to shoot the brief outdoor scene with the band.  However, despite global warming, when we arrived in Montreal on April 1, five inches of fresh snow arrived with us,

Because we only had the band for the day, the production company had to scramble to rent a studio and stage it with a limo with an idea to shoot as close up as we could.

Most of the day, my art directing partner and I sat and talked with the band’s leaders.  They had a pressing problem – what jet to buy so they could live in Ireland and reduce their onerous English taxation, while still attending Sheffield football games.  Nice fellows who found mega fame.  They were very patient with us hanging out and relaxing for a shoot that took about eight hours to prepare for and two to shoot.

And yes, I also shook the drummer’s hand.

If you know what to look for you might tell what was shot in the studio and what was shot elsewhere.  But for most of the public, they never knew the pressure and problem that Montreal’s April snow provided.

Click here to check it out.  Molson Canadian Rocks – Def Leppard-640×480

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