Hapless Hardhats Need Autodesk to Stay on the Same Page

Garbled instructions yield architectural mayhem

Confusion builds at a high-rise construction site after a simple instruction—"Redo this wall"—gets repeatedly miscommunicated in Goodby Silverstein & Partners' farcical short for software maker Autodesk.

The :50 from MJZ director Gary Freedman shows workers garbling the message in various ways amid the noise and confusion. A large-scale game of telephone ensues, punctuated by the roar of drills and pounding of jackhammers as the information constantly changes.

We know a comic punchline is coming, but what will it be? Will this crew "demo it all," "redesign the hall," quit for the day because "the electricians won't play ball" or "fire Paul?"

Paul looks plenty worried, but the payoff's none of the above.

Ultimately, the hardhats throw architectural prudence to the wind, deciding, "We need to install a waterfall."

They do so, on the top roof...

Autodesk | Leave No Room For Interpretation

...resulting in a thorough drenching of the neighborhood below. (And dismissals beyond just Paul, presumably).

"Be on the same page at every stage with Autodesk Construction Cloud," the ad concludes.

Good advice. Though it's too late for this bunch, who probably would've misheard the brand proposition anyway, and started making cages with the girders or writing their life stories.

In the end, "Leave No Room for Interpretation" offers a cute gag, well-staged and visually engaging, aided by a witty script, tight direction and a swirling saxophone score that drives the comic vibe.  

The spot broke online this week, supported by radio, social, OOH and direct mail.

GS&P creatives unroll their campaign blueprints in our chat below:

Muse: How'd you hit on the notion of misheard instructions?

Thomas Gledhill, art director: The brief was to show how Autodesk Construction Cloud software connects entire teams from design to done. We thought, what are teams doing if they're not connected? They're relying on word-of-mouth instructions and scrawled notes. That must lead to some pretty massive, potentially messy mistakes.

Such miscues probably happen all the time.

Caroline Cappelli, creative director: Every construction worker has experienced a big screw-up on the job. So, we feel this will resonate—perhaps even a bit too much.

The spot has a smooth flow that lets the joke slide naturally into the big reveal.

Ryan Tovani, creative director: Gary Freedman had the idea for the camera to move with the dialogue, so the viewer goes on a journey with the message through all the noises and obstacles. We were big fans of Gary's reel and knew he would nail both the comedy and craft we needed.

The soundtrack propels the story, too. It just fits.

Ryan Tovani: It's an original saxophone composition by Andy Huckvale. It's wonderfully light and comedic without overplaying the gag. It builds with the spot and has a sophisticated chaos to it.

Any big challenges on set?

Lennie Galloway, copywriter: We shot at a real construction site in Toronto. Dealing with the Porta Pottys left on set was probably the biggest hurdle. Fortunately, lots of the actors we cast had construction work experience, which added to the authenticity of the spot. You can't fake burly.

That final waterfall shot is impressive. It's fakey-real, in a rad way.

Thomas Gledhill: We started with an unfinished building, then the magicians at Pariah VFX gave the structure glass and created our epic waterfall, plus some palm trees. We had a power-washer on set to make sure our characters got hit with mist.


Agency - GS&P
CCO/Partner - Margaret Johnson
Creative Director - Ryan Tovani
Creative Director - Caroline Cappelli
Writer - Lennie Galloway
Art Director - Thomas Gledhill
Exec Producer - Topher Cochrane
Senior Producer - Molly Troy
Producer - Jen De Leon
Director of Art Production - Jim King
Group Account Director - Chris Ferko
Account Manager - Jackie Russell
Assistant Account Manager - Aimee Fung
Client - Autodesk
Tammy Pineda - Sr. Manager, Global Brand Operations & Campaigns
Tamara Thompson – Sr. Director, Global Brand Marketing & Advertising
Stuart Frederich-Smith – Head of Global Marketing, Autodesk Construction Solutions

Production - MJZ & OPC
Director - Gary Freedman
DP - Nicolas Karakatsanis
EP - Kate Leahy
Line Producer - Max Brook
Still Photographer - Saam Gabbay
Editor - Biff Butler
VFX - Pat Murphy/Pariah
Colorist - Gregory Reese/Primary
Sound - Joel Waters & Michael Anastasi/Lime
Donuts - Tim Hortons

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