Messi streetball



Pet Gorilla is a production company specializing in the new frontiers of interactive and traditional advertising and entertainment. They are a group of creatives interested in taking apart the model of entertainment and communications and building something completely unique. Luc Schurgers works for Pet Gorilla and was the director of the new Adidas-Lionell Messi commercial. OSA had a little chat with the LA-based Dutchman. 

Dear Luc, what makes this film stand out in all the commercial football clutter?“It was more like a guerrilla type of projection event that got documented and made into a commercial. We didn’t really follow the traditional commercial structure and I think that that shows. We shot for two nights in Barcelona and tried to cover as much ground as possible so that as many people as possible would see Messi’s homecoming. It was pretty run and gun and one night we actually got pulled over by the cops and had to stop projecting from the car for a bit. Fortunately I had three projection rigs build that would project at the same time on different places in the city so the shoulder mount and the trike were still able to project images. Next to that it’s probably the fact that our hero is actually a projection an not the actual player himself.”

What was it like to work with the greatest football player of all times?“It was a pretty cool experience especially since I got to make my dad very proud. I got upgraded to the nr1 sibling after this gig… My dad is a big soccer fan and he was pleased to receive some of my pictures of me and his hero on whatsapp. What I found really interesting was interacting with the team that travels with Messi. He’s got al lot of people with him and they’re all very professional and on point. On the greenscreen shoot day I had Messi for 5 hours and there was a lot of stuff we had to cover since we shot him 2 months before the actual event. Therefore I had no idea yet about all the locations and angles we were going to project on. Since you don’t really need to tell Messi how to play football it’s quite easy directing him as he nails it each 1st or 2nd take. I spend most of the time getting him excited and getting energy out of him.”

What’s your [spiritrual] connection to football, and sports in general?“I lost my spiritual connection to soccer when MVV got booted out of the premiership. I’m not so much of a sport fan to be honest and don’t really follow the soccer so I did have a bit of catching up to do for this gig. Living in America has gotten me more interested in Nascar, drag racing and other high-octane sports then ball sports and besides that I haven’t quite worked out how American football works yet. I have been following the odd game, but it seems so complicated with all those lines.”

You’re a Dutch guy working in LA. How did you end up doing this for adidas? What was the brief?“Yes I do live in LA and I have my production company PetGorillia there, but work all over the world and I got this job through Iris and via my London rep at Radical Media. I had done a big integrated Adidas campaign with the same clients a year prior that got a lot of acclaim in Cannes and at the Webbys so it was nice to work with them again. Radical did all the production, I did the concept and PetGorilla helped with the technology. The brief was open as the agency asked 8 directors to pitch a variety of ideas. I originally concepted this as a social media stunt fro the world cup where I wanted Messi to run from Rosario to Rio. The agency gave me a bunch of facts about Messi and they were looking for out of the box creative ideas for the world cup. I figured that since he’s Argentinian and from Rosario it would be great to do a stunt where we would have Messi run from his hometown to the Worldcup in Rio and document that journey. Great concept and phonetically it sounds very good. Loads of Rs and all that. I wanted to use social media to decide on the route and some of the key moments, but unfortunately when we were in the startup phase the project got pulled and almost died. Fortunately it came back later as a stunt/commercial.”

How would you describe your style as a director? What’s your specialty?“I like comedy, tech and nice visuals and I guess a mix of all those is kind of what defines me as a director. I have been fortunately enough to work on some amazing digital campaigns and due to my experience in post and production I have been able to mix digital with high-end 3D and live action. I really enjoy coming up with new ideas for digital campaigns and fuse technology and creative. It’s about connecting on a human level with experiments and experiences. The convergence is beautiful.”

How do you prevent yourself from copying yourself?“I have no idea, but I certainly fear for that. It’s so difficult to come up with new things as everything has been done before in one way or another. I believe it’s best not to look around too much as it can be quite demotivating. I must say that having a good inspiring team around you helps a lot with that. At PetGorilla we have a great team of people that constantly challenge each other and that makes for better ideas and treatments.”

What is your own favorite sports campaign?“I like a lot of these big sports campaigns with big name athletes and high production value. The 2010 Nike Write the Future campaign has got to be one of the coolest campaigns out there and what’s so cool about them is that they have such a great following of fans so you really get to make an impact on people their lives. I’d love to work on a campaign like this, but instead of making a passive film I’d like to truly engage the audience and have them interact with their sports heroes. I feel that that hasn’t been quite achieved yet.”

What would be your dream campaign on sports, and for what brand?“That would be a a fully integrated campaign that e a TVC, in-store installation, web-experiece and a game for a big sports brand and actually get their players involved on a social level. We’re currently working on something super sexy that has all this and even got some cool VR, but I can’t say anything about that yet unfortunately. It should be out next year and will definitely make some noise.”