Intel "The Chase" by Venables Bell & Partners (2011)
It's one of the inevitable quirks of the industry that the appointment of a new marketing director often (or even usually) leads to a shake-up of the marketing agency roster, and not always for the best. The arrival of Deborah Conrad and Johan Jervoe in Intel's marketing department in the late 2000s resulted in the appointment of Venables Bell as the chipmaker's agency in 2009, and a string of superb campaigns followed. Five years later, though, the appointment of a new marketing chief (hired from office products retailer Staples, not exactly famed for its creativity) prompted an account review. Many observers were astonished by the selection of efficient but safe McGarryBowen over creatively exciting Venables Bell. Can you remember a single ad McGarryBowen produced over the next couple of years? Whereas Venables Bell's tenure was marked by a series of triumphs. One of the most celebrated was 'Rock Star', featured here previously, but even more ambitious was the epic 'The Chase', two years later.
The idea was to demonstrate the ability of Intel's chips to multi-task multiple desktop applications all running in parallel, by telling a single story spread across numerous different programs. "We wanted a cliché movie action feel," said copywriter Josh Parschauer. "Using Prague wasn't originally in the script, but 'The Bourne Identity' and 'Mission: Impossible' shot there, and the cobblestone streets, the different buildings and people of Old Europe helped achieve that feel." Czech stunt actress Tereza Oslacova was joined by a large supporting cast of software applications including Facebook, iTunes, YouTube, Microsoft Office, Google Maps and Flickr, all utilised in brilliantly imaginative ways. Animation directors Smith & Foulkes, already riding high on the success of their 'Grrr!' sport for Honda, were hired to oversee the project. "Car chase... Prague... girls... fast cars... bad guys... old women in lifts... how could it not be cool?" said co-director Adam Foulkes. Though action movies weren't exactly their area of expertise, they were ably assisted by director of photography Oliver Wood, already a veteran of Prague's mean streets as a result of his work on the Bourne movie series. The end result is a near-perfect blend of high-octane action movie and desktop animation, and one of the most unusual ads of that decade.