Category: Campaign/Endorsement

Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan Sets New Directorial Project With Bacardi

Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan Sets New Directorial Project With Bacardi

Michael B. Jordan is stepping behind the lens as part of a new short film collaboration with Bacardi. The “Creed 2” actor teamed up with the premium rum brand for “The Angels’ Share,” a sweeping, cinematic short film that serves as the official campaign forBacardi new Premium Collection.

Jordan shot the film last month, just before he hit the road on his promotional tour for “Creed 2.” The actor is the first-ever celebrity tapped by Bacardi to direct one of their campaigns, and Roberto Ramirez Laverde, VP of Bacardi North America, says Jordan’s impeccable taste and appreciation for family values, made him a natural fit for the collaboration. “Bacardi is a family owned rum brand,” says Ramirez Laverde, “and it was a natural fit to work with Michael — a man who values family above all else and has a true affinity for rum. Since he’s worked both behind and in front of the camera, he brought an added level of professionalism and expertise.”

Conceptualized by Jordan and co-director Paul Hunter, the film follows several characters who each tell their own version of the “angel’s share” myth — referring to the liquid that is lost to evaporation while the rum ages in barrels. SinceBacardi ages its premium rums under the Caribbean sun, the brand says more “angel’s share” is lost than other spirits. That became the inspiration behind the new film and campaign.

Here, Jordan discusses about how he got involved with the project, why it’s sparked his interest in directing, and how the self-professed “rum guy” likes to take his drink.

How did you first get connected with Bacardi?
Honestly, the first time me and Bacardi linked up was during their “No Commission” event (a three-day art and music showcase) in Miami last year. I got to know the brand, the people involved and I saw what they were doing in terms of encouraging young artists and creatives in the art space, and that really appealed to me. From there, we started building a bond and relationship.

What were your initial thoughts about taking on this project, especially for a brand that’s not your own?
Anything I do has to be cinematic and creative, so I had to make sure we were all on the same page. But I was also really excited to be working alongside one of my mentors, (co-director) Paul Hunter, and his production company, Prettybird.

In terms of working with Bacardi, I actually have a long history with rum. My grandmother used to cook with Bacardi Gold and used to make rum cake all the time, especially around this time of year. It was a big thing for the holidays, and she had a homemade recipe that was epic. One of the things about rum too, is that it withstands the test of time; it’s timeless, and those are the things I care about.

What was the shoot process like?
We shot the film in the Caribbean and we had a great time shooting it. We were able to use a lot of local hires on the project, which was great, because it made it a very collaborative environment. My schedule’s been super crazy this year, but we starting building the creative months ago, squeezed the shoot in, and I’m really proud of it — I think we got something really nice.

Tell us about the concept behind the campaign.
Well for starters, we didn’t want to go the comedy route. This commercial shows the journey of rum and how it travels from the barrel to the community, getting back to the heart and foundation of where the Bacardi brand started. They’re patient, they take time in developing the aging process. They’re willing to wait and sacrifice rum for a quality product. Just the fact that a brand is willing to sacrifice their own product to make it better says a lot about what they stand behind, and I really connected with that.

What was it like stepping behind the camera? Was directing something you’ve always been interested in?
I’m starting to find myself more comfortable behind the camera. I’m so lucky that I’m being afforded opportunities and able to put my fingerprints on something not just in front of the camera. I value things like family, history and heritage, so these are the types of projects I want to be working on. But it was also great to work with Paul Hunter. He’s a strong, smart, black business owner and from the first time I met him, we’ve just connected. He’s somebody I wanted to reach out to and express my fandom to, and I really look up to him. When we were on set, I become a sponge and just started learning.

You’ve said that you are a rum fan. What’s your drink of choice?
Well that depends on where I’m at and what I’m doing. I guess I’d say a rum and coke, because you can’t really go wrong with it. Or rum and ginger ale. Sometimes I like to sip it neat, or on the rocks with one really big ice cube. And then I occasionally like a nice little rum punch if I’m on an island or sitting on a beach somewhere. It’s a very versatile spirit, and I guess I’m kind of like that too.

Source: Variety

Press/Video: Exclusive: Why Michael B. Jordan directed the new Bacardi commercial

The actor is using commercial projects to hone his directorial skills.

For 18 seconds, the new Bacardi spot looks like a pretty standard booze ad.

Then “The Myth of the Sun Angels” sets itself apart when the director credits flash onscreen, revealing, “A film by Michael B. Jordan & Paul Hunter.”

Paul Hunter is a renowned music video director and cofounder of the commercial production company Prettybird. The other guy you might know from small flicks like Black Panther and Creed.

The campaign launches Bacardi’s new premium rum collection, and Jordan, in an exclusive conversation with Fast Company, says the project came about through a relationship with Bacardi that started last year when he attended No Commission, the brand’s art platform created with Swizz Beatz and The Dean Collection in Miami.

“Many people don’t know this, but [Jordan is] actually a self-professed ‘Rum Guy,’” says Roberto Ramirez Laverde, VP of Bacardi North America. “In fact, he helped open the new Lower East Side rum bar, Las’ Lap. When it came time to produce the first ad campaign for our premium collection, we knew he was the perfect person to get behind the camera to tell our story.”

As a recent Vanity Fair cover story pointed out, Jordan has multimillion-dollar endorsement deals, his own production company, and a new marketing and consulting startup in the works. So he considers this Bacardi ad another form of on-the-job training. Shorter projects like this, with tighter production time, allow directors to try things without the weight of all the bureaucratic machinery surrounding a feature film.

“It allows you to try new shots, take some creative and technical risks, that can teach you things that you can then apply to longer-form content,” says Jordan, whose feature debut, The Stars Beneath Our Feet, is in development. “For me, we used a lot of crane shots, which was something I learned a lot about in this process, just controlling a crane and a jib. It’s a lot more going on than just being the actor in front of the camera. Positioning, movement, blocking, timing, and continuity that was crucial to some shots. So I had a chance to get some at-bats with all of this, to take a few swings at, so it was fun.”

Another big lesson was honing his ability to make adjustments in real time. “Being able to get in there, move stuff around, give notes, in the moment was something I found really useful and paid a lot of attention to this time around,” says Jordan.

While he doesn’t appear in front of the camera in your standard, hold-the-bottle-and-smile spokesperson role, make no mistake, this is a celebrity ad. It’s just that Bacardi is getting creative in how it enlists its creative spokespeople. For Jordan, the quid pro quo is the opportunity to flex some creative muscle behind the camera to create something he hopes transcends being just another ad.

“Brands are getting more creative because they are working with a more diverse set of directors, artists, and creative collaborators,” says Jordan. “I think that’s really smart. You don’t want people to feel like they’re being sold to. If you can be creative, and make it feel natural, that’s an advantage. You don’t want to insult the people you’re trying to market to. You need to be smart with it.”

In October, Jonah Hill was on the Bill Simmons podcast (a pod Jordan has appeared on multiple times), and they were talking about the idea of directors and actors doing commercials becoming more common. Hill said he’d rather see an artist use commercials to fuel their art, than not do commercials, and then take on mediocre projects for the money. Hill said, “I’d rather see Damien Chazelle make a Samsung commercial and then be able to make his art than see him direct Fast & Furious 11.” Jordan agrees. “It’s getting harder and harder to make films, and it seems like there are opportunities to take more creative risks in other places, rather than trying to put it all in a feature [film],” he says. “I do agree with that, as a director, to be able to do some commercials, rather than take on mediocre projects that don’t hit as hard.”

Source: Fast Company