A Real Astronaut Ponders Earth's Fate in Swedish Electric-Car Ad

Polestar channels the 'Overview Effect'

"Nothing prepared me for what I saw up there," says former U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg, who's shown peering down at Planet Earth as she narrates an evocative spot for Polestar, an electric car manufacturer in Sweden.

"I was overwhelmed by its beauty," she says. "I felt the thrill of being part of the human race. It was crazy to me that the same species that started out with sticks and stones was now the same one looking at it from space."

This "Overview Effect," a common experience for astronauts working on the International Space Station (where Nyberg served as flight engineer), drives a visually dynamic :60 developed with Forsman & Bodenfors and director Henry-Alex Rubin.

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Nyberg says her 180 days in space "also made me think that this tiny blue dot was extremely fragile ... The question is: Can we can continue our species and preserve our only home while still enjoying the thrill of being human?"

Terrestrial footage and orbital imagery illustrate a holistic sustainability message. We see forests, factories, birds in flight, ballerinas, surfers and winding highways. There's even a chimp and trippy eyeball close-up, channeling vibes from the 2001: A Space Odyssey. (On point here, to be sure.)

This creates a pleasing kaleidoscopic effect "that links humanity to the innovations that bring us forward," F&B art director Karl Risenfors tells Muse. "We did some of the filming on different locations in Sweden, and for other scenes we cooperated with researchers from National Geographic."

Each frame pops with texture and emotion, while Nyberg's matter-of-fact delivery conveys the scope of what's at stake with zero hyperbole. (Read back a bit—she spent six months off the home-world. She's got cosmic perspective, people!)

Seeking themes that jibed with the spacey brand name, "we were drawn to the 'Overview Effect' and how this phenomenon changed Karen's outlook on life," explains F&B copywriter Hampus Elfström. "We wanted to capture the empathy she developed for our planet, but also how technology can help us embrace life, both today and in the future. Her story became the lead act in the film and gave us the unique angle we needed."

Nyberg's willingness to step off the planet for six months to help expand the limits of our understanding—leaving a 3-year-old son at home—spoke to her personal courage and cemented the astronaut's standing as the "perfect" campaign lead, Risenfors says. "We simply asked her, and she said yes."

The impressive results remind us of this U.S. Space Force recruitment appeal from the summer. Yes, the missions are different. But each evokes the wonder of our dawning space age to underscore the challenge of an uncertain future.

"With this campaign, we wanted to create something beautiful and thought provoking, something that would raise awareness of the Polestar brand, but also our role in society," says Polestar marketing lead Åsa Borg. "We wanted to highlight that feeling of that Earth is vulnerable and we must look after it. Innovation should not come at the expense of the planet. It should be used to drive positive change."


Advertiser: Polestar
Åsa Borg, Sofie Petrovski, Nils Rylén, Dan Persson, Samuel Åkesson,
Pär Heyden, Viktor Vahl, Susanne Blomster

Year: 2021
Airdate: October 22, 2021

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Art Directors: Sophia Lindholm, Karl Risenfors, Leo Dal
Copywriters: Hampus Elfström
Client Director: Magnus Wretblad
Account Director: Katarina Klofsten
Account Executive: Sofie Bengtsson
Agency Producer:
Music Supervisor:
PR: Bjarne Darwall
Planner: Daniel Sjöstrand
ArtDesigner: Martin Joelsson

Media Agency: Dentsu

Polestar Content Production Team:
Martin Victorin, Chris Cornwall, Adam Eklund,
My Magnusson, Annika Trana Lagerholm

Title: Minimal
Director: Henry-Alex Rubin
Producer: Ray Leakey
Production Company: Smuggler
D.O.P: Crille Forsberg
Executive Producer: Tom Knight
Production Designer:
Editor: Warren Chapman
Grade: ETC London
Sound Design: The Factory
Online: ETC London
Online Post-Producer:

Photographer: Stefan Isaksson
Photographer assistant: Per Kårehed
Art Director: Susanne Blomster
Producer: Charlie Cronborg
Technical support: Pontus Frykenstrand
Post production: Sugarhouse 

Composition: Electric Symphony
Performed by: Hanan Townshend
Publishing rights controlled by: Hanan Townshend

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