Speck and Gordon's Intel Toshiba
The Power Inside - Case Study
“The Power Inside,” a social film series directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon and starring Harvey Keitel, offered audiences of over 75 million people the opportunity to participate as the story unfolds. Having garnered 6 Cannes Lions and an Emmy nomination, the series is a living example of the future of collaborative storytelling. “We were able to play in the blurred space between advertising and entertainment and really develop character and story as modern day myth,” writes Executive Producer and Furlined’s President, Diane McArter.
“This project operated more like a film. We were brought in early to develop and write the script with our collaborators at Pereira & O’Dell,” said Director Will Speck in an interview at his office in Santa Monica, CA. “The client supported us in the way you dream a client will, they really trusted us and the agency to bring this story to life. It was a true collaboration,” added Director Josh Gordon. “Just like Francis Ford Coppola said, ‘You can’t wait for your movie to get greenlit, you have to start making it.’ So that is exactly what we did.” Directors Speck and Gordon worked alongside Screenwriter Matt Robinson to pen a comedic, alien invasion film that follows our unwitting protagonist, Neil (Craig Roberts “Submarine”), as he rises to the call of his hero’s adventure and defeats the take-over of Earth by an alien race of deadly moustaches and uni-brows.
“When we took on this project it was amorphous, we didn’t know how big the budget was going to be. We just knew we would figure it out and make it happen.” Risk was a shared reality. Executives at Toshiba, Intel, Pereira & O’Dell and Furlined along with Josh and Will, all jump started development of the project with shared passion.
According to AdAge, agency head PJ Pereira picked Speck and Gordon for the project because they saw the movie as a "serious alien movie.” Being liberated from the constraints of the 30-second spot format allowed them to spend time developing complex characters and an epic, adventure narrative. O’Mansky, wryly acted by Keitel plays Obi-Wan to Neil’s Luke, revealing his destiny to lead The Guardians, a band of straight-razor wielding barbers on a mission to save the planet. A bromance with Zack Pearlman (“The Inbetweeners”) and a budding, young love affair with Analeigh Tipton (“Crazy, Stupid, Love) support the tension as it builds to the impressive VFX climax where the mother of all moustaches takes over Neil’s face. It is here that we enter Neil’s mind and see him fight off the Freudian and mythical illusions of father and sex to harness his own inner strength and claim his life. The combination of epic human narrative and self-deprecatory satire was created as an immersive experience that kept the audience entertained and returning each week.
Films like “The Power Inside” provide great opportunities for brands to create content that has real value for an audience. “Instead of directly selling to people, we are creating an experience that an audience wants to live in. By living in the experience it reflects luster back on the brand. That has always been advertising at its’ best,” remarked Speck. In an effort to tap into an ever-increasing participatory culture online, viewers from around the world were invited to join the aliens by creating custom photos with choice of mustache or uni-brow or join The Guardians by uploading a video of them removing their facial hair. Viewers could speak directly with Neil via his Facebook page and were also invited to audition to be in the movie itself. Audience engagement is no longer a marketing “activation” but a co-creative partnership integral to a visceral story experience.
“This project is an example of how a hybrid film can unlock potential that doesn’t exist in any one industry – TV, film or advertising,” said Speck. Unlocking this potential requires an entirely new mindset of the brand, agency, and us. We must tell a story that embodies the values and ideas of the brand while remaining authentic and true to our audience. Author Frank Rose talks about the emergence of a new form of narrative, a “deep media”, where stories are not just entertaining but immersive. We see so much potential here and really look forward to doing it again.”
“What we're witnessing is the emergence of a new form of narrative that’s native to the Internet…these new narratives encourage us not merely to watch but to par¬ticipate, often engaging us in the same way that games do. This is "deep media": stories that are not just entertaining but immersive, that take you deep¬er than an hour-long TV drama or a two-hour movie or a 30-second spot will permit.” – Frank Rose, The Art of Immersion