Behind the Spot | Commercial Breakdown with Director Bernardo Marentes Ep. 02

November 1, 2023
3 minute read

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In this episode of "Behind the Spot," director Bernardo Marentes takes us behind the scenes of the Harley Davidson commercial called Fast Johnny. Marentes shares the primary concern of Harley Davidson: authenticity. It's not just about showcasing the bike; they want to capture the people and the stories that make Harley Davidson meaningful.

Creating an Authentic Experience

Marentes's goal was to make every moment of the commercial feel like a burst of memories. He wanted to immerse the viewers into the action, as if they were experiencing it firsthand. This led to the use of smoke, shadows, and a building anticipation towards seeing the bike in action. The first glimpse of the bike had to be impactful and start with a bang.

"We wanted it to feel like it was all happening at once and we were just thrown into the mix and capturing it as these events were happening."

The Role of Smoke

Smoke played a significant role in creating the atmosphere of the commercial. It added a sense of action beyond the frame, evoking the feeling of races happening all day. The smell of burning rubber and the sight of spinning tires with white smoke created an epic and dramatic effect. Marentes made sure to lean into the use of smoke as much as possible, enhancing the sense of speed and adding to the storytelling aspect of the commercial.

Telling Stories through Commercials

Harley Davidson sees their commercials as more than just selling bikes; they are a new era of storytelling.

The focus is not only on showcasing the product but also on telling compelling stories. Marentes appreciated the creative freedom given by Harley Davidson's creative department. They encouraged him to explore different perspectives and experiment with the framing of the bike. The only rule was to preserve the colors, allowing Marentes to fully embrace his vision.

"It kind of feels like Harley Davidson is kind of like a new era of storytelling."

Capturing the Essence of Speed

The most exciting aspect of creating this commercial was the opportunity to capture the essence of the bike in action.

Marentes wanted to showcase the true purpose of a Harley Davidson: going fast. The commercial aimed to convey the thrill and excitement of riding a Harley Davidson through dynamic visuals and a sense of speed.

"What was exciting about this spot was the opportunity to capture this bike in the world doing what it's meant to do. And that's just going fast as hell."

In Conclusion

Director Bernardo Marentes offers us a glimpse into the making of the Harley Davidson commercial Fast Johnny.

By prioritizing authenticity, incorporating smoke and shadows, and embracing storytelling, Marentes successfully captures the essence of Harley Davidson. This commercial is more than just an advertisement; it's an immersive experience that showcases the thrill and excitement of riding a Harley Davidson.

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