Inspired by the classics. Crafted for a new breed of gentleman. The title of the well crafted advertising campaign from Beckett Simonon.
The campaign was created with the collaboration between Andres Calderon, the designer mastermind and photographer, and the founders of Beckett Simonon, Andres Nino and Nicholas Hurtado. Beckett Simonon is a shoe company for the stylish, young entrepreneurs.
The reason for which I am presenting this campaign, is because of the way it was created. No digital manipulation, no special effects, just handmade well crafted sets. Classic environments for classic shoes. It’s refreshing to see this type of an approach in the creation of a project (it always reminds me of the Blueprint 3, Jay Z album cover) in a world where the majority of advertising projects are done digitally.
To have a closer look and understanding of this project, I asked Andres a couple of questions.
What is the campaign all about? Who is Beckett Simonon?
The campaign is best described by the tag line “Inspired by the classics. Crafted for a new breed of gentleman”. It targets a new generation of stylish, young entrepreneurs, in the early stages of their promising careers, who are ready to suit up in a clever way. That’s the starting point – Beckett Simonon as a means to achieve a great look in the smartest way possible. For these customers, it is important to look sharp and well turned out at all times without braking the bank. The company founders noticed that the traditional retail market was overpriced, mainly due to trade middle men, and didn’t provide the value that the target market expected. Their unique idea was to cut out the middle man and offer high quality shoes at a competitive price, with good customer service and a convenient overall product experience. This innovative business model, built on the internet and social networking platforms, is the inspiration for the campaign.
Tell me about the idea behind the sets and the hall campaign.
Classic bottoms and classic objects, even retro ones, in a design context with modern palettes. It is a translation of classic stylish facts, brought to these new breed of gents using the design language. At the beginning in the pre-production meeting between myself, Nicholas and Andrés (Beckett Simonon CEOs and founders), we started throwing ideas of a clear way to deliver the message. The concept came to life very quickly – preserving the product as focal point of the campaign while evaluating how a “classic environment” could work as the main vehicle to present the product. First we made a small typing machine in paper, to try to figure out how the whole construction phase, which was supposed to take less than a week. The timing was crucial as I was about to leave on a trip. In the end, there was too much to be done and the work got postponed.
I came back from the trip and then we gathered again to start the crazy process. The principal sets were an office, a tailor shop and a bar. We identified seven key objects for each frame and started. It was all about me and other collaborators drawing with scales and measuring objects, Nicholas rendering them and Andrés laser cutting to start the construction! It was madness, two weeks of barely sleeping, smelling a lot of burned cardboard, tons of pieces and looking a lot the original designs to fit them all.
While we were making the pieces, we started hesitating about the colour plan. We didn’t know for sure if the finished texture of the spray painted items was as good as the natural cardboard appearance… Finally we made the decision after a few tests – the whole idea of managing and separating the sets by colour was the original way to go. At the beginning we did regret the decision, especially because of the sharp finish of the plain cardboard objects as compared with the already painted ones. But in the photography art field – some things just look good on camera and jackpot…..this was one such case. With our last effort we made the photos, even though Nicholas got really sick at that last stage, but luckily everything went as planned. That carefully preserved way of working the whole production process, kept the retouching to a minimum. We were so proud of the final product!
The sets got my attention from the beginning. Why the manual build and not go digital?
At the beginning Nicholas proposed that idea, but I told him I wasn’t happy with it… I don’t like these over post – produced material, and even less becoming part of a green weird background executer than a photographer/art director on any kind of job. He totally agreed.
Few years ago, with another brand of accessories they founded, I and a colleague made this crafty city for a fashion/product campaign for them. This work clearly opened the door with Nicholas and Andrés to believe in my work as an art producer and photographer.
At that moment I realized the opportunity to show how detailed and well-crafted my work could be. Knowing I got these good friends, really talented by the way, ready to make the dream happen. Nicholas and Andrés were completely ready to suit up as any kind of collaborator, assistant, designer, hard-worker and the most admirable thing, being also the clients! This whole trip was about a lot of effort, great quality and excellence.
What roles do the colors play on these sets? Do they have a deeper meaning ?
The colour design was very important in the whole process. First we needed to think about three different colours that would work by themselves, communicate this new design feeling, go really well with the proposed atmospheres and most important, support the shoes as the main objects in the scene.
After making the decision, Camilo, our painting collaborator and street artist, came with a whole palette of options from his spray dealer… He helped us and even taught us how to do it the proper way. When you make art for photography you stay in touch with all kinds of techniques and materials, and you are always keen to learn about different ways to get even better results. The end result came perfect with the photo shoot we were dreaming of since the beginning.
What is the idea behind each set?
Tailor Shop, office and bar. Three spaces we thought of as “classic environments” for gents, with our selection of objects to give the design a young atmosphere while showing the product in the best possible way.