IAG's Avios Rewards Program Floats an e-Foil Surfin' Safari

Fun stunt from the folks at Uncommon

Everything's better on e-foil surfboards: slurping coffee, online shopping, summoning an Uber. Everything.

IAG hypes its Avios frequent-flyer program by showing 35 diverse folks riding the electric gizmos through the waves while doing everyday activities.

This riveting ride from Uncommon lures eyeballs and makes for a compelling watch. Some viewers may root for the riders to tumble into the bay. Such wags deserve no rewards.

The point, we're told, is that mundane transactions—not just booking flights—help Avios members earn air miles. So, in the :90, those foilers are "metaphorically spending their way to the holiday of their dreams," Uncommon says.

A stretch? Well, yes. Still ... that dude drank java and didn't go splash. Damn!

Boris Martinez, who staged stunts for the 007 flick No Time to Die, and e-foil ace Adrian Valios choreographed the action. Uncommon's Sam Walker directed, shooting mostly in-camera.

It's an unexpected approach, well served by the slick synth stylings of "Seasons" by Future Islands.

"The strategic thinking that underpins this new work not only reflects Avios today but also its future—communicating that there’s more to Avios than you think," says IAG Loyalty brand and marketing head Elizabeth Cunningham.

"We wanted to create a powerful visual idea, the feeling of everybody going about their everyday lives," adds Walker.

Themed "Everyday," the U.K. campaign will roll out through the year across TV, VOD, cinema, OOH and digital.

Below, Walker discusses how the project came together.

MUSE: Why e-Foils? What was the inspiration?

Walker: We felt it would create a strong image to have what felt like an entire nation, dressed in their regular clothes, riding these futuristic looking hoverboards towards a stunning holiday destination. We were so lucky with the weather and sea conditions. The water was freakishly calm both days we shot.

Where did filming take place?

It was shot in the largest, most sheltered bay in the north of Majorca. It wasn't a typical location scout, as not only did it have to look visually beautiful, it also had to be practically suitable for our stunt. We needed a full mile and a half stretch of super calm water. Sheltered and controllable enough for the e-foils, but also deep enough for their underwater fins, too.

This whole thing had to be a huge challenge.

The scale and complexity of what we were trying to do was very ambitious. The deeper we got into it, the more challenging we realized it was going to be. What we were doing had never actually been done before, so there were no best practices to look and learn from. We had to figure out everything for ourselves from scratch. We also needed to shoot primarily from a drone, as we couldn't get our camera boat close enough to the riders without knocking them off with our wake.

How'd you even find the foilers?

Casting was particularly challenging. First and foremost all of our cast needed to be expert level e-foilers. Which, given the newness of the sport, is a tiny pool of people globally. Once we'd assessed everybody's ability out on the water, we then needed to select them to represent as broad a cross section of society as we could. They needed to look like you, me and everyone we know.

Some look middle-aged or maybe older?

Jeff, our guy in the opening shot with the shopping bags, is a 67-year-old e-foil instructor from Hawaii. Bruce, our hero with the coffee cup in the suit, is 66. Legends, both of them. There are no prosthetics or body suits in the film, I really wanted our cast to be authentic and genuinely able to e-foil at an exceptional level no matter their age or physique.

I'd imagine this was a fairly dangerous exercise.

With such a large number of riders, the chances of an accident were high. So, we had to design formations allowing them to avoid each other's slipstreams. If any of the riders crossed a wake they would fall off, and then the danger was then being struck by the underwater fins traveling at 50kph [about 30 miles per hour]. But the safety team we had was amazing, and the riders did such an incredible job that no one was injured.

How'd you direct the e-foil choreography once the cameras rolled?

We mapped out the different formations on dry land so everyone knew what we were doing exactly when we got out on the water. We designed a color-coded key for the performers and formations so that everyone could easily understand where they were in relation to each other out on the ocean. The crew used the same map when designing shots and figuring out where to put our boats and drones.

Once you're at sea, not only can you not communicate with the riders individually, it's also impossible for them to know where they are in the water, because there are no markers to navigate around. The more we could plan exactly what we were doing before we did it, and the more everybody understood the plan, the better it would go.


Client: IAG Loyalty
Creative Studio: Uncommon Creative Studio
Project Name: Everyday
Production Company: Pulse Films
Director: Sam Walker
EP: Chris Harrison
Producer: John Bannister
DOP: Daniel Voldheim
Service Company: Palma Pictures
Service Company Producer: Cat Isakson
Edit: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Edit Assist: Matt Gabzdyl
Sound: King Lear
Sound Designer: Jack Sedgwick
Music Supervision: Native
Music Supervisor: Dan Neale
Post Production: Rascal
VFX Supervisor: Gareth Brannan; Andrew ‘Barnsley’ Wood
Creative Director: Gareth Brannan
ECD / 2D Lead: Andrew ‘Barnsley’ Wood
2D Lead: John Thornton
2D: Holly McLean; Ben Stonehouse; Andy Brown
3D Pre-Vis: StereoColour
3D: Adam Ahlgren
Executive Producer: Colin Oaten
HOP: James Beck
Colourist: James Bamford
Colour Producer: Jai Durban

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