NEW YORK, June 8, 2011 — Willem Dafoe’s first ever TV commercial – a “short film” by Jim Beam that celebrates his “Bold Choice” to turn actor – received three prestigious awards last night at the American Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) awards. As the advertising industry awaits the world-renowned Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity Awards later this month, Jim Beam’s groundbreaking commercial is grabbing attention for Willem Dafoe and the world’s number one bourbon brand as well as for StrawberryFrog, the agency behind the work and MJZ the production company. AICP recognized Jim Beam’s “Parallels” advertisement with awards for Direction, Visual Style and Cinematography. The anthem for Jim Beam’s new “Bold Choice” global campaign, created by “Cultural Movement” agency StrawberryFrog New York and filmed by celebrated Director Dante Ariola, features iconic American actor Willem Dafoe and sparks a movement for bold choices.
In the commercial, which has aired on numerous U.S. cable networks since February, a young Dafoe is shown at a crossroads, faced with a choice: to boldly leave his hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin and head for the bright lights (and long odds) of an acting career in New York City – or stay put, and let fate decide his future.
As Dafoe reflects on his decision, the commercial explores the many futures that could have been: factory foreman, chess champion, aging punk, even sumo wrestler. But, as Dafoe notes in the ad, there is really only one choice. “All choices lead you somewhere,” he states. “Bold choices take you where you’re supposed to be.”
Jim Beam’s Bold Choice commercial received seven total finalist nominations by the AICP including Best Advertising Commercial of The Year, Best Direction, Best Visual Style, Production, Production Design, Cinematography, and Best Editorial.
“As a brand that’s been rooted in making bold choices for over 200 years, our Jim Beam campaign communicates that the bold choices you make, make you. We are thrilled that this campaign has contributed to Jim Beam’s continued growth, solidifying its position as the number one Bourbon in the world,” said Kevin George, senior vice-president and global chief marketing officer, Beam Global. “We are honored to be recognized by the AICP and thank StrawberryFrog for their excellent creative work on our iconic brand.”
“Here’s to our bold Beam clients who stand behind what their advertising says. They made a bold choice with this campaign, and they have remained bold throughout the process,” said Kevin McKeon, Chief Creative Officer and partner of StrawberryFrog New York. “We are genuinely thrilled about our performance at this year’s AICP awards. We have proven many times over that if you can uncover a powerful idea on the rise in culture – such as the need to make bold choices particularly in the world today – you can tap into that to create a sustainable movement on behalf of a brand like Jim Beam.”
Jason Koxvold, StrawberryFrog Creative Director on the Jim Beam business, says: “Working with Willem Dafoe and Jim Beam was a truly remarkable experience for the team at StrawberryFrog. The production team at MJZ brought together a team at the top of their game such as Dante Ariola and Emmanuel Lubezky to really show what great production brings to a powerful idea. It was a pleasure to make - and I think it shows in the results.”
StrawberryFrog is an innovative global agency that develops strategic vision and creative solutions that create growth for client partners. The firm is known for creating “cultural movements” and was founded in 1999 in Amsterdam. It currently employs over 200 creative spirits in four offices in four countries and partners with companies such as Jim Beam, P&G, Pepsico, Sabra Hummus, Pirelli, Kraft and Emirates Airline.