Lacoste tapped BETC and Parisian VFX studio Mathematic to produce "Match Point," an ad for a pretty sea-green fragrance of the same name.
Creative duo We Are from LA of Iconoclast directed the spot, which involved building a CG replica of a bascule bridge where two lovers meet.
"Match Point" is the latest of several Lacoste pieces involving big leaps. The first, literally titled "The Big Leap," came out in 2017 and depicts a man jumping off a building, a metaphor for kissing a woman. In 2019, we were treated to "Crocodile Inside," closer to "Match Point" in style and spirit, but more narratively driven. In it, we encounter a couple in an apocalyptic state of conflict, illustrated by the apartment building that comes apart around them. (There is, of course, a decisive leap.)
"Match Point" functions more as allegory than narrative. After a dramatic run toward the bridge's center, the couple engage in a push-pull interpretive dance, signifying the different directions each wants to go, pulling the other along before the power dynamics shift.
Most of us know that dance. Ultimately, they find themselves over the line where the bridge splits, and it begins to open.
In 2005, actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers summarized the significance of a match point, when a ball could fall on either side of the line, in Woody Allen's film of the same name: "There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose."
Tennis—such a profound teacher of life! It remains to be seen whether our couple make it whole. In one dramatic flourish, both briefly seem to fly over the widening space between them.
"We knew the bridge was going to be a character itself in the project, so we focused on creating a high-fidelity version of it that would allow for us to seamlessly connect the story as well as visually distinguish the two sides," says VFX producer Sebastián Eyherabide of Mathematic.
"Even though more than 90 percent of the spot features CG, our goal was to keep our efforts invisible," Eyherabide goes on. "The final shot was especially tricky in that we had to convey this spectacular feeling from the girl's leap but still keep her character readable with the entire city at her back."
The technical prowess required to construct this world is lovely to behold, and can be seen in this nice breakdown of the ad's special effects:
Photogrammetry was used to construct the bridge, and a combination of 2-D and 3-D computer graphics yielded the city skyscape.
The perfume industry is expected to grow by 6 percent over the next three years. Fine fragrances have been hard hit, thanks to Covid, but there's also been a surprising renewed interest in "functional fragrances"—scents that boost the mood. (We saw this same trend manifest in an amusing way with Earl of East's summer candle collection.)
Can Match Point be counted among them? Given the name chosen for the fragrance, it's appropriate that Lacoste itself will be waiting, with bated breath, to see which way the ball lands.
Commercial: Match Point
TV Producer : Karim Naceur / Slim Trabelsi
Creative Directors : Olivier Aumard
Conception Redaction : Nathalie Dupont
Senior Art Director : Francis De Ligt
Account Manager : Constance Nacfaire
Production Company: ICONOCLAST
Director : WAFLA
Producer : Charlotte Marmion
Head of Postproduction : Guillaume Larose
Postproducer : David Lezaun / Cyril Bordesoulle
Editor : Walter Mauriot
VFX : Mathematic
Executive Producer : Guillaume Marien
VFX Producer : Sebastián Eyherabide
Postproduction coordinators : Jeremy Dumetre / Nikita SAINI
VFX Supervisor : Yann Aldabe
VFX On-set Supervisor : Yann Aldabe
Lead Flame artists : Olivier Zibret
Flame Assistant : Antoine Hache
Lead Compositor : Niranjan Siva
Compositors : Sophie Roques, Raphaël Rossant, Arnaud Laplace
Tracking : Yvan Galtié
Matte Painting : Stephanie D'Argent
3D Artists : David Labelle, Philippe Gonzalez, Pierre Masseron, Ludovic Schocron
In/Out : Vincent Goy
Colorist : Mathieu Caplanne