TV commercial, 2000
Regia: Thed Lenssen. Armando Testa
For its 2000-2001 advertising campaign, Pirelli Tyre Sector commissioned the Armando Testa agency, which took over from Young & Rubicam, yet another turnaround for the Group. It was the end of the era of celebrity endorsements to promote its products through the renown of the personalities chosen by the Company, and the beginning of the era in which “the product itself is the star”. The formula “Power is Nothing Without Control” remained the same, of course, but the story being told was a completely different one. “The tyre is endowed with a life of its own – is the idea. All you have to do is let it roll and from an inanimate object it can become an actor playing a part.” They can be hundreds, thousands of actor tyres: a whole herd of them. All of them racing towards a cliff edge, and then the herd falls into the void because it can’t stop itself in time. Except for one, which remains gripping the last rocky outcrop just before the void: a tyre that has the well-known pattern of the Pirelli P6000. Power is always under control. The TV commercial Wild – also featured in the press release Pinnacle – was directed by Thed Lenssen, at the helm of a group including Allen Hall (Oscar winner for Forrest Gump) for the stage effects, Dane Davis Pop to strongcampaigns (Matrix) for sound, Hank Corwin (Natural Born Killers) for production, Harris Savides (videos of Madonna) for lighting. The cliff from which the herd of tyres falls – all of them but one – is the same as the one in Colorado from which Thelma and Louise drop to their deaths. Two thousand tyres launched at 80 km/h down a cliff: filming them from the front were cameramen “protected” by ramps and catapults. Five days of filming, a snow-storm, a camera destroyed by one of the “suicidal” tyres. For the 2002 TV campaign, the scene moved to the sea. In the commercial The Grip the herd becomes a school of fish which – in a Hemingway-like imaginary – might be marlins. There’s a boat equipped for deep-sea fishing, and a crew waiting for the catch. It arrives right on time and pulls on the line. The man on the stool winds in the reel but the fish doesn’t surface: indeed, it drags the boat downwards. When the bow and the keel are almost upright, the decision to cut the steel fishing line is the only way out. The marlins – winners of the challenge – emerge one by one almost as if to tease the reckless fisherman. They are Pirelli tyres, capable of gripping even water. Directed by Jan de Bont, The Grip arrived for the first time in a wonderful world that was being called the Internet.