The goal of anyone who tells a story is to connect in some way with each viewer’s own personal story. That might be in the form of a song, a film, a book, or even a commercial. Dunlop’s “Forever Forward” commercial is resounding proof that a story need not be hours long to achieve this end. Only a mere minute and thirty-nine seconds long, this epic tale of what inspires an individual to overcome and achieve their dreams may come wrapped in the presentation of a racecar driver but is malleable to anyone who demands the best of themselves. James Drew served as the executive post production producer on this campaign which was nominated for a VOTD award, was featured on AdForum, and rated by One Point Four as one of the “Six Best Commercials.” James has worked on feature films and music videos but rates the poignancy and cinematic quality of “Forever Forward” alongside the best of them. In a production so dramatic and yet so brief, the work of Drew and his VFX team had a tremendous impact.
Director Chris Hewitt personally reached out to James as a result of being impressed by his work on previous projects. While the script of “Forever Forward” was written by German advertising agency DDB Berlin to appeal to viewers within that country but Hewitt had aspirations to create something which extended well beyond these parameters; James Drew’s talent was a factor he was counting on enabling this. Hewitt is known for a style which incorporates multiple cameras and filming styles, along with stock footage to create commercials that are essentially visual essays. From the opening moments in which we see a wide eyed racecar driver serpentining along a darkened motorway, it’s obvious that those who love cars and speed will be drawn to the action. In scenes lasting only seconds, we learn that the main character’s story of perseverance through all the fears life has placed before him is something relatable to every one of us regardless of the form presented here of car and driver.
“Forever Forward” is simultaneously disjunction and cohesive, in great deal thanks to James Drew and his team. The EP of postproduction communicates, “This spot was difficult to conform due to the various different cameras, filming formats, film scans, etc.. This script shows nearly a whole life in a few seconds, which is something Chris is very good at doing. He likes to use different cameras, and filming formats, giving the illusion of time passing. Chris wanted to accentuate these differences in time periods so the color grade had to resonate with this. The color grade itself was not hard and Chris is very clear at delivering accurate guidance and direction. The production was just as demanding as any, though with all the different time periods and styles necessary throughout this piece, we had to be extra vigilant when handling the color grade so as not to miss anything or neglect to color all the necessary scenes properly.” A commercial such as this reminds us that greatness is something we all demand from ourselves and never comes easily.