Category Archives: Advertising

From the Australian surfing scene to the Pinnacle of Filmmaking, Australian director Luke Farquhar Shares his Story

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Luke Farquhar has directed standout spots for Fox Sports, Channel [V] and many more. 

For Australian director Luke Farquhar, it all started with a dream to become a pro surfer. He grew up on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast, south of Brisbane, with inspiration to make his mark in the subtropical region that’s home to some of the most popular surf breaks and beaches in the world.

“I wanted to be a pro surfer,” he said. “I was super competitive and tried my hand at Air Shows, but I just could never perform when I needed to I guess. I got sponsored and was able to free-surf instead, which I enjoyed more because it allowed me to make videos with my friends and take pictures and be creative. The Gold Coast is the best place in the world to learn your surfing craft. There is so many good surfers there so it pushes you to surf good…or else you just get pushed to the side!”

Parlaying his wave riding experiences, Farquhar gained momentum and the sense of his foremost passion – filmmaking. At the age of 19, he began making surf films. “They began getting some traction and I was asked to make them properly,” Farquhar said. “I decided to focus on my love of film and have never done anything else since.”

The career decision resoundingly turned out to be the correct one.

Farquhar, known for his stylized, unparalleled and imaginative execution, has directed his way to a coveted position at the pinnacle of filmmaking. He’s directed commercials, spots, promos and outstanding branded videos for Fox Sports, Land Rover, Channel [V]’s hit music video show “The Riff,” Billabong, Schweppes, Insight51, and the Brit Music Awards, to name a few. Talent Farquhar has directed includes surfing icons Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning, Australian football star Callan Ward and MMA legend Ronda Rousey. (Check out Farquhar’s work here: http://www.vimeo.com/lukefarquhar)

Farquhar’s metamorphosis into a directorial auteur was a journey that saw him attend the Gold Coasts’ Bond University, a period during which he directed short films and TV commercials for a year and a half.

Leaving academia behind prior to graduation, Farquhar went on to direct for Oyster Magazine, a leading quarterly Australian publication that covers pop culture, music, fashion and beauty. His freelance appointment with Oyster was fruitful as Farquhar was nominated for the Harpers Bizarre/Peroni Creative of the Year Award for his 8mm short fashion film.

Riding the success, Farquhar assimilated into directing for FashionTV, a fashion and lifestyle broadcasting channel that airs to global audiences spanning North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Farquhar engaged his talents for the network for two years and directed a bevy of content including televised and esteemed fashion week events.

His services were then sought after and acquired by Channel [V], an Australian MTV equivalent for music enthusiasts with a nationwide cable audience. Farquhar directed the rebrand for Channel [V], which spearheaded the repositioning and marketing strategy for the channel. His animated spot – “For the Love of Music” –artistically shows a story that begins in the depths of hell and scrolls up vertically to the heavens, intermixed with live action placement of music figures such as Marilyn Manson, Daft Punk, 2pac, Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, and others, finally ending with the Channel [V] logo.

“This was one of the most stressful jobs I have ever been a part of,” Farquhar said. “Overseeing an army of talented designers can be incredibly tough, but in the end, we did a lot of great things in capturing the spirit of Channel [V].”

It was during Farquhar’s four and a half-year tenure with Channel [V] that he met his girlfriend, Carissa Walford, who hosted for Channel [V]’s “The Riff.” The pair would collaborate on promo spots for the show with Farquhar directing and Walford lead acting. Farquhar exercised his profound creativity and demonstrated an uninhibited, sublime directing approach within his spots for “The Riff.” The director dispatched in the spots an array of sensory components including narration, bold imagery, grainy cinematography, dark undertones and striking messages that resonate with viewers.

“Luke’s directing is characterized with a grandiose, epic sensibility,” Walford said. “It’s a bold style that pushes the boundary, while also being representative and effective. His messages are original and memorable, and drove viewers to our tune into our show.”

Farquhar thereafter directed for a period for Television New Zealand, a 36-year government-owned national broadcaster, and later advanced to directing for Fox Sports Australia, including the network’s expansive “I AM” rebranding. Fox Sports is the foremost sports broadcaster in Australia featuring six sports channels and a dedicated news network.

Keeping true to his surfing roots, Farquhar directed the Fox Sports “I AM Surfing” promo, along with other inspiring personal narrative tales from Fanning, Ward, Rousey and boxer Jeff Hornet, as well as “I AM UFC” and “I AM a Fanatic” spots. The “I AM” campaign was recently selected into the Promax Awards in June in New York City.

“The ‘I AM’ spots were a tremendous opportunity to champion the Fox Sports rebrand,” Farquhar said. “My goal for directing and working with our featured talent subjects was to present their personal stories of triumph, in their own words. The campaign collected multiple awards and we achieved our goal for the extreme sports banner.”

Most recently, Farquhar has directed spots for Necro Surf and is currently working with DD8, a creative international company that designs, produces, directs and shoots incredible branded content. Farquhar and DD8 co-founder Jean-Christophe Danoy are planning forthcoming expansion of the firm with a Los Angeles based branch.

‘Muted Woman’ ad campaign gives Women a Voice against Domestic Violence

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Polisan Home Cosmetics and Kollektif’s “Muted Woman” campaign raised awareness on domestic violence against women.

Her voice wasn’t heard.

But the message couldn’t have been louder.

It was an impactful ad campaign called “Muted Woman” and was a project carried out by Kollektif, a prominent advertising agency headquartered in Istanbul, and Polisan Home Cosmetics, a 31-year old home décor retailer in Turkey.

The campaign is moving, gripping and emotion-stirring. It takes head on this frightening and disheartening reality: “Every second woman in Turkey is subject to either physical or verbal abuse.”

Leading the campaign was Kollektif VP and Creative Director Ozan Yurtsever, Kollektif senior copywriter Gorkem Ciftci and M. Cagri Kara, who consulted the art direction on the project.

“The subject matter, ending violence against women, was truly uneasy and dark content,” said Ciftci.

With an emotionally raw and unprecedented strategy, the campaign’s message was expressed in a simple, but brilliant way.

Using a video posted to Polisan Home Cosmetics’ Facebook page July 31, 2015, the campaign unveiled a woman sobbing and crying out for help with her eyes closed for 33 unforgettable seconds. Her plea is muted, entirely unheard and representative of that of many suffering women in Turkey.

At the end, the narrative on violence against women says it best with the Turkish subtitle: “It’s time to raise your voice.”

Said Kara, “We wanted to shine a light on a problem that’s paralyzing many embattled women in Turkey. More than that though, we hoped to reach women anywhere in the world who are unfortunate victims of domestic violence. It’s a shameful social problem and our objective as creatives was to pool together an influential directive and use social media as an effective launch pad to get this out to the world.”

The mission was undoubtedly accomplished.

“Muted Woman” was viewed more than two million times in just three weeks and a massive conversation was sparked on social media addressing domestic violence toward women.

It has nearly 12,000 likes and more than 2,500 shares. It won many prestigious awards in the advertising industry including three 2015 Crystal Apple awards and the 2015 Mixx Awards Gold.

As to the art direction, the woman in the video wears a black t-shirt and sobs in front of a gray backdrop. Her hair is disheveled and she raises her left hand toward her face revealing a wedding ring on her finger. She cries out words, but they are not discernible or audible.

“The colors were designed and selected to convey the needed tone,” Kara said. “It’s a kind of minimalist theme that’s intended to stay secondary to the performance, but it supplements the message. Dark color palettes are of course associated with grieving and distress. We hoped the design would only enhance the message.”

Yurtsever has collaborated with Kara on many ad campaigns including for brands such as Audi, Finansbank, Frito-Lay and CNN.

Of “Muted Woman,” Yurtsever said, “From the conception of the design, Cagri demonstrated his prowess as an intuitive art director with expert command of his craft. He led an entire team to produce the images that we needed for our campaign, determining the overall style and tone that corresponded best to our theme and the production’s statement as a whole.”

Kara, an Istanbul native and award-winning art director for brands such as Coca-Cola, Lamborghini and Fox Television, also wrote and composed music for the “Muted Woman” case video that demonstrates the campaign’s mission and execution.

“Mr. Kara’s presence on the production of “Muted Woman,” added enormous depth and meaning to the project,” said Ciftci. “Cagri completely understood the concept and what we needed to keep the material dignified.”

Visit www.cagrikara.com for more information and watch the “Muted Woman” case video here: cagrikara.com/#/muted/

The Golden Girl of Advertising: Producer Susie Liu

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Advertising Producer Susie Liu shot by Robin Gaultier

Advertising ace Susie Liu knows everything there is to know about marketing. That’s because she has immense experience working hand-in-hand with clients – including titans of industry and Fortune 500 companies – to formulate strategies and campaigns specifically tailored to their needs. However, Liu has the added edge of having spent years as an artist, personally creating, drafting and implementing creative concepts to meet the needs of those clients.

“At a young age, I always gravitated towards anything visual or creative,” she said. “As I grew up, I enjoyed spending time in my own company, drawing on paper and eventually on the computer. I looked at ways to improve magazine articles and advertisements, and changed the style to my own liking by recreating visuals on the computer.”

Starting out with ZONE, a cutting-edge advertising production firm based in London, as a digital artist, her incredible talent helped her quickly move up through team leadership positions, and ultimately to the role of content advertising producer.

Prior to her work with ZONE, Liu worked with Wordsearch, a design and advertising company specializing in real estate advertising. In her time at Wordsearch, Liu applied her managerial and artistic skills to massive undertakings such as The Shard in London, One World Trade Center in Manhattan and the ambitious Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The iconic One World Trade Center, completed in 2013, was built as a testament to American resilience after the destruction of the previous towers on September 11, 2001. However, beyond its symbolism and status as the tallest building in the western hemisphere, it is a financial and economic hub in the busiest city in the U.S., and as such it was critical that such a costly and labor-intensive project attract the maximum possible amount of renters, businesses and investors. That’s where Wordsearch and Liu came in.

“I was involved with the creative art-working as well as the management of the print production. It was imperative to be organized and have a structure from the start,” Liu said. “It was my role to organise and ascertain from the briefs how long each element would take to execute and deliver in a timely manner.”

The Shard skyscraper in London, the tallest building in the European Union at a fifth of a mile high, is another of Liu’s most monumental projects. Completed in 2012, The Shard relied on the creative mind of Liu and her team at Wordsearch to attract tenants such as Al Jazeera, Gallup, and the five star Shangri-La Hotel, who have all made the magnificent work of art-in-architecture their home.

 “The objective was to entice companies, investors and the sale of residential apartments into this new living, working and social space by demonstrating what was on offer and how it would look once complete,” Liu said. “This campaign was worked on by a team of designers, art directors, Project Managers and myself as a Production Manager, which involved the creative art-working and design of the technical brochures, as well as managing the production on all the other work.”

Liu also helped draw tenants and investors with her campaign for Masdar City, the eco-friendly metropolis currently in development and construction in Abu Dhabi. Built in the desert of the Arabian peninsula, the arcology – or “architecture/ecology” – city is founded on the principles of responsible environmental practices. Featuring a fleet of clean energy and electric vehicles in lieu of personal commuter vehicles, operating on solar and wind energy, and carefully designed with walls, streets and building meant to maximize the cooling power of the desert wind in the hostile region, Masdar City is what many climate scientists and environmentalists envision as the responsible future for humanity.

“Wordsearch was approached by the Masdar client to adapt its existing brand and produce a series of printed and digital marketing literature to entice people into this new, not yet built city. Over a period of 2 years, the requirements were to design and produce magazines, brochures, advertising, leaflets, internal forms, point of sale, exhibition stands/space (WFES), marketing suites, banners, computer generated images and a website,” she said of the intensive process. “The idea was to entice people and investors into this eco-city by demonstrating what was on offer and how it would look when the city would be finished.”

While working for Hogarth Worldwide, a multinational company that specializes in marketing implementation and centralized advertising production for clients worldwide, Liu helped ensure the success of the HTC One ad campaign.

“This was a global campaign that was rolled out to a very tight deadline and within strict security restrictions,” Liu said. “Our job included the translation and localization of all literature in up to 40 languages, and the creation of a variety of advertisements, both point of sale and signage.”

With such an impressive array of clients and projects under her belt, it’s no small surprise that Liu has become one of the most sought after players in the global advertising and marketing fields. With her immense creative and artistic talents surpassed only by her managerial skills and her ability to oversee teams working on large-scale campaigns, she is truly a master of the trade.