DIY chain flips a house, quite literally, in this dazzling ad

Of course it has a happy ending. But forget DIY. After that turbulence, it may be time to look for a new home!

Joking aside, that’s some dynamic stuff from director Oscar Hudson, who used trampolines to surprising effect in his acclaimed 2019 “Bounce” commercial for Apple AirPods. And London-based Uncommon has become known for its exciting work ranging from Method’s soapsuds invasion to ITV’s tres-cheeky “Drama vs. Reality” series.

Well served by David Bowie’s longing yet upbeat new-wave classic “Sound and Vision,” B&Q’s 90-second extravaganza is certainly one of the most eye-catching commercials of the year to date. You can’t look away from this rough metaphor, which ends with the line, “Change. Made Easier.” (By B&Q, of course – in case you need to make additions or upgrades to your rectory with a baby on the way.)

Below, Uncommon executive creative director Sam Walker explains how the project came about:

Muse: Did you lead with such a big concept? Have you presented more than one?

Sam Walker: We had a few different ideas, but this was our favourite, and much to B&Q’s credit, it was their favorite too – from the start. They fell in love with the idea as soon as they saw this stickman drawing I made of how it would work.

Did you intend to use CGI, or would it always be practical effects?

The idea that this would be done in real life, in-camera, was completely integral to the idea. If it wasn’t possible in reality, we would have come up with a completely different idea. And I think this is what attracted Oscar to this script. It was in-camera, or not at all.

Talk about the set – the dimensions, where it is built.

The full-sized rotating house set had two large living areas, plus gardens. And then there were two more identical non-rotating sets – including the playpen room (where the action begins) and the baby room. A third training set was also built to help the actors figure out how to climb the garden and slide down the other side.

We couldn’t find studios big enough to take the set, so we had to build it in a sports stadium in Bulgaria. The set almost touched the scoreboard hanging from the ceiling of the arena at full height.

How long did the filming take?

Four very long days. It was incredibly slow filming with such a colossal set. It weighed 24 tons and we could never forget how dangerous it could be. Not only for our actors, but also for the camera crew and the stunt team. Safety was always paramount and that meant that there was no rush to fire.

How intense was the rotation?

The set was six stories at its highest point and could rotate 180 degrees in 60 seconds. It was so finely balanced that only six people were allowed on it at a time. Even getting it to run in full once, the first time we did it was celebrated as an amazing achievement. The actors were on set the whole time and everything that falls is also in the camera.

Was this your biggest creative challenge yet?

It was definitely one of the most challenging shoots I’ve done, and I think it was one of the most challenging for Oscar as well. At each stage, this idea continued to present challenges that we had not anticipated, and we had to try and figure out how to make it work.

The stunt team and our actor, Maeva (a seasoned rock climber), did a fantastic job of making it look as easy as it looks. In reality, the physicality of the set was extremely challenging and dangerous, but again, everyone’s safety came first.

What shots were done in the post?

Everything in or about the house was real and on camera. Our actor and objects being thrown around… we felt that couldn’t be faked. There’s an inherent chaos and physicality created by actually doing it that CGI could never replicate. However, everything outside of the house is CGI.

Why use Bowie for the soundtrack?

We went through a lot of songs, but “Sound and Vision” reached the top. This version is so poignant and beautiful. The scarcity and rawness of the piano comes through as soon as it kicks in, and then Bowie’s iconic vocals work their magic.


Unusually includes BTS footage in this blog post along with other production tidbits.

The spot was launched on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent over the weekend and will be shown on TV, VOD and cinema in the coming weeks, supported by digital outdoor and print.

CREDITS

Project name: Flip
Client: B&Q
Agency: Unusual Creative Studio
Production company: Pulse Films
Director: Oscar Hudson
MD / Exec. Producer: James Sorton
exe. Producer: Lucy Kelly
Producer: Neil Andrews
Production Manager: Kishan Patel
DOP: Jess Hall
Production Design: Dan Betterridge
Stylist: Emma Lipop
1st AD: Julian Richards
Movement director: Charlie Mayhew
Service Company: Icon Films, Bulgaria
Service Producers: Emil Rangelov & Beba Yordanova
Service Production Manager: Vladdy Karanikolov
Local production designer: Eva Vento
Local SFX: Nikolay Fartunkov, Orlin Budinov & Vassil Vassilev
Edit House: TenThree
Editor: Ellie Johnson
Editing Producer: Ed Hoadley
Post production: Electric Theater Collective
Post-production producer: Holly Treacy
CG leader: Patrick Krafft
Colorist: Luke Morrison
VFX lead: Alex Snookes
Music Supervision: Dan Neale @ Native
Audio Post-Production: London Factory
Sound design and mix: Anthony Moore
Sound Design & Foley: Frankie Beirne
Audio Producers: Lou Allen & Ciara Wakely
Media agency: Dentsu

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