It’s a nice idea that your delicious HERTOG! ice cream is actually made by three extremely chipper tenors who put together only the best INGREDIENTS! whilst creating flavours that rank with those in your favourite ICE CREAM PARLOURS! Who wouldn’t start singing from handling all that delicious fruit and smashing up pure chocolate every day?
The very funny ad praising Hertog’s (a Unilever brand) ice cream parlour flavours was directed by Dutch director Michiel ten Horn, best known in the Netherlands for his award-winning feature Aanmodderfakker (2014). His work usually has a relatable comedic edge and this one is no different. With the agency asking for a musical angle, Michiel steered the project to ‘a kind of 1950s, Hail, Caesar! sort of buoyancy’.
The tenors in the commercial are, of course, not the actual singers of Hertog’s mini opera. All music was recorded before shooting started and every shot was scripted, Michiel explains. ‘Although it is quite unusual for commercials, that is how I like to film. They often like to be able to have a lot of options in the edit. This concept, however, translated strictly to these shots. There wasn’t much else you could have done in the edit. I’m always happy if I can pull that off. The length of each shot was set, every shape and camera movement. Your vision and your plan working out like that is always the best feeling.’
After the ecstatic performance of the main actors, a forklift truck driver drives into the scene and brings everybody back down to earth. His ‘doe eens normaal, joh’, very loosely translated, comes down to an exasperated ‘oh, for god’s sake’. Michiel: ‘I think it would be really funny if we could make another version with the roles reversed. A whole campaign with that super boring guy on his forklift truck, with the singers coming in at the end to bring back some flair.’