Dentsu and Flatpack Films bring to life a heart-warming story for Japanese gift and lifestyle retailer, Shaddy, about a young couple’s quest to show their love through gifts. Shot in Hungary, the visually stunning campaign is adapted from O.Henry’s short story, ‘The Gift of the Magi’.
Directed in collaboration between Dokuwa Communications and Taiyo Kikaku, the film follows a poor, young couple who sacrifice their most prized possessions for love. Early on, we see them gazing longingly at a shop window display filled with items they can’t afford. Driven by the desire to give the other a token of their love, each decides to make a sacrifice. At the film’s climax, the girl reveals that she sold her luscious locks to buy her partner a chain for his watch. He then reveals that he sold the watch to buy her a comb. The couple laugh at the irony and, recognising the mutual lengths they would go to for each other, embrace.
Hungary-based production service veterans, Flatpack Films worked closely with Japanese production company, Taiyo Kikaku, and Hamburg-based production company, Dokuwa Communications, to deliver the complex shoot.
Flatpack initially scouted and prepped the entire production in Budapest, but had to swiftly change plans when it became clear that a major head of state’s visit to the city would clash with the shoot. Working off a tight schedule, the production service experts scouted an entirely new city, new locations, secured permissions, and calculated logistics – all within one week.
The charming city of Esztergom was chosen for its beautiful historical architecture and for its picturesque island in the middle of the Danube river, which is displayed in all its glory in the emotional final scene. The shop window scenes were shot in Esztergom town square and Flatpack completely redressed an antique shop for the pawn shop scene.
Flatpack’s Producer, Zita Kisgergely, comments: “Shaddy was dedicated to achieving an authentic European period feel, so the settings and costumes had to be spot on, right down to the smallest detail. Our art department rose to the challenge, researching and sourcing the perfect period jewels and watches, and finding exactly the right type of lower-middle class costumes -provided by the amazing team at Peris, Madrid - to accurately reflect the status of the young couple.”
The team completed five rounds of casting to find the perfect actors for the couple. With the cutting of the hair playing a clinching role in the narrative, Flatpack debated over whether to cast a long-haired actor and tuck the hair under a wig until the reveal, or vice-versa. Ultimately, it settled on a short-haired actor and used a high-grade wig, which was cut in close-up – the speed and movement of the falling hair took hours to perfect.
The campaign is now live on TV and online in Japan.
Creative Director: On Gunji
Production Company: Taiyo Kikaku & Dokuwa Communications
Director: Wakana Suzuki
Production Service Company: Flatpack Films