'Make your own Truth' - CHE Proximity designs AdNews May Cover

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 2 May 2018
AdNews Agency of the Year 2017, CHE Proximity, pulled out all the stops for the May edition.

The creative contingent of adland sits at the beating heart of the industry. To fully embrace that, and with a mission to create awesome and inspiring covers, each month AdNews hand-picks an agency to work their magic. The cover of the year is then voted for by readers - with a bespoke AdNews 'A' up for grabs.

To reflect the current magazine's investigative feature here we have the end product, by AdNews Agency of the Year 2017, CHE Proximity.

AdNews editor Pippa Chambers speaks with CEO of CHE Chris Howatson.

PC: Thoughts on the social media brief?

CH: The brief was interesting but there wasn’t an immediately evident theme. It was about a fortnight before the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica news broke. We briefed our media leadership team, Dan and Calvin in particular, and asked them what they care about when it comes to social. Within 30 minutes they’d suggested two territories. The first was what counts as viewable. The second was who measures effectiveness. In the absence of third party auditors, many social platforms ‘mark their own homework’ when it comes to deliverability, so this felt like an interesting space as well.

PC: From then what happened?

CH: Usually we’d write a brief, then get together with a diverse group of thinkers to conceive an idea, but there was a lot of work on and we were short on time. We came up with the idea that the social platforms were ‘making their own truth’. Ant is brilliant at talking seemingly familiar language and shaping it to be fresh, so he got us to the line and territory. The take on the famous moon landing production was something we found our way to. After UFOs and the shooting of JKF, there’s perhaps no greater conspiracy in recent western culture than the moon landings.

PC: How would you describe the cover?

CH: We thought we’d create a modern take on the moon landing conspiracy, with the heads of the social media families running the show. In the shadows of the set you’ll see Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, Snapchat leader Evan Spiegel and founder of LinkedIn Jeff Weiner. Each with phones in hand, documenting their own version of the truth.

PC: People and execution, what was involved?

CH: Sir John Hegarty famously said, advertising is 80% idea and 80% execution. This was so true for us. We had a lovely idea that poorly executed would’ve been a disaster. So we put our crafters to work. We called production company Louis&Co and asked them to be involved and have always admired photographer Ian Butterworth’s work. Then Sam, Cam, Nat and Tom worked with their teams to make it happen. We shot on a Sunday at Carlotta Studios in Artarmon and spent a week in retouching to convert cardboard cut outs into real people.

PC: Any big challenges or easy wins?

CH: Finding the location was key, as having the existing staircase look as close to the original as it did meant we had a core base in which to build the composition and gave the visualisers at Cream Electric Art a solid foundation to work upon. The space suit was tricky. We have all seen the cheap fancy dress outfits on the Halloween rack and this just wouldn’t have cut it. The suit itself we hired (the only one in Sydney), but a lot of attention went into padding out the suit with the model so that it felt like it was filled with air.

The vintage film camera, gyprock imitation lunar surface, carefully selected body doubles, extensive image searches for our five key social gurus as well as the subtlety of the lighting and shadows all added to rich detail that makes up the final art. 

Check out the gallery of behind the scenes picture below.

AdNews May 2018:

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