It's 6:42 a.m. The romantic city of Prague is just beginning to wake up to a brand new day. The next seven minutes,however,will bring the whole city to a standstill.
An anonymous voice starts the countdown,“Here we go… 3… 2… 1…” The engine roars,the tires screech and the new Nissan 350Z—clad in Le Mans Sunset—sets out to survey the cobblestone-laid,empty streets of the city for exactly six and one-half minutes.
The film shows Nissan's 2003 350Z—affectionately known as ‘Z'—being raced around by Hollywood stuntman Jimmy Roberts through 5.7 miles of narrow streets,escaping two buses by a whisker and almost crashing into another car on its way,before stopping on a bridge where a girl anxiously waits.
All of this action and more is captured on a DVD,rightly titled “The Run”. “The Run” is a short film directed by two-time Academy Award®-winner John Bruno (“True Lies”,“The Abyss” and “Terminator 2”).
Solely made for the purpose of advertising the return of the Nissan Z sports car after six years,“The Run”,both as a DVD and as a two-minute trailer (that ran in approximately 450 theatres),takes advertising to a whole new level.
The concept of making short films for promoting cars isn't new.
Brands like Mercedes Benz,BMW and Ford have made short films to promote their latest cars,but their films involve a complicated storyline and a cast of Hollywood actors. For example,in July last year,Mercedes-Benz made a marketing splash in the United Kingdom with its commercial-as-movie trailer promotion named “Lucky Star” that starred Benicio Del Toro.
Free download of a series of three BMW short films named “The Hire” is available on the car manufacturer's website (bmwfilms.com). The films—made to promote Z4 Roadster—feature Hollywood directors John Woo (“Mission Impossible II” and “Broken Arrow”) and Tony Scott (“Spy Game”).
“The Run” is a part of Nissan's new SHIFT advertising campaign,which is a series of advertisements for the new range of Nissan automobiles.
The film could only be shot in Prague,the capital of Czech Republic,as the filmmakers were able to get the whole city shut down for continuous filming,said David Schoonover,Model Line Marketing Specialist of Nissan North America,Inc.
“Not to mention the town's architecture and narrow streets created enticing scenery for the film,” added Schoonover.
“We wanted it (“The Run”) to be a thrill ride,” said John Bruno.
“Every guy has fantasy of being able to race a great sports car through an exotic city as fast as possible for the express purpose of meeting a beautiful girl.”
The film was shot using 14 cameras and each take was shot in a continuous sequence in real time over 5.7 miles. “The challenge of doing this was enormous. Nobody had actually closed a city down and run some cars through it at speed. We thought it would take six cameras,but ended up taking 14,” said Bruno.
The whole city was turned into one big Hollywood studio where everything was orchestrated. “Everything you see is actually planned. When you see people walking,you see bicyclists,cars,pedestrians,pigeons… any of that stuff was placed there by us,” said Bruno.
However,filmmakers claim that no special photography was used to enhance the actual speed of “The Run”.
Jimmy Roberts,who drives the Z,and stunt coordinator Steve Davison deployed a series of stunts to highlight,as they described,350Z's superb handling and safe ride. “It's an absolute dream to drive this sports car,” said Davison.
“It was very safe (350Z),” said Roberts. “We had lot of fun with it.”
They had stunts where the Z nearly misses touching the end of a bus and then escapes colliding with another car while making a sharp turn. They even had a “police gag” in which the car turns away from a bunch of policemen. “It's like,uh oh,there's the police and we turn away from them,” said Davison.
The DVD version of “The Run” includes features like ‘Choose your own view',which enables to see the Z run from eight camera angles with director's and driver's commentary; ‘making The Run',which has footages of interview with the film crew; ‘Z Tech' which gives details of Z's performance characteristics; and loads of other features to play around with.
But has this promotion really helped the sales of this car?
“While we do not have any specific information on how this film has impacted sales,if someone is interested in purchasing a Z,“The Run” will certainly allow them to get a feel for what it's like to be behind the wheel of one,” said Schoonover.
The 2003 350Z is a high-performance rear-wheel drive sports car with a 3.5 liter,aluminum-alloy V6 engine that generates 287 horsepower. Equipped with smart brakes,multi-link suspension and an award-winning engine,Z's base model costs just over $26,000.
The DVD costs $9.95,and can be obtained by calling Nissan at 1-866-225-0936.