Wieden + Kennedy has created this charming film for watch brand Citizen, which uses a mix of elegant filmmaking and typography to tell the tale of the company’s history. The spot is our Ad of the Week.
When thinking of watch advertising, what usually springs to mind are campaigns focused purely on wealth – a celebrity with a weighty timepiece dangling from their wrist perhaps, or Patek Phillippe’s particularly nauseating father-to-son ads, which bear the line ‘You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.’ In this context, W+K’s film feels especially refreshing, focusing not on money and power but instead on the innovation and hard work that are contained in Citizen’s watches.
Shot by Johan Kramer, the film takes us through the different eras of the watch brand, focusing on the company’s technological development over the 84 years since it was founded. Shot from above, we see the Citizen designers hard at work on the various innovations, with each significant moment marked by a slate saying ‘The End’, using type appropriate for the decade featured. A selection of the typography is shown below:
To further emphasise the different generations depicted in the film, Kramer used a range of cameras – including a hand-cranked 35mm camera and a VHS camera – to give a sense of vintage authenticity. This attention to detail can also be seen in the objects featured on the desks, which change from tables lined with tools to a sparse modern space where the computer dominates.
The ad ends with the brand’s new tagline, ‘Better Starts Now’. The film is playing on the Citizen website and it will also appear in stores and be used at the major sporting events sponsored by Citizen, including the forthcoming US Open.
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo and Amsterdam
Director: Johan Kramer