Everything you wanted to know about our Grand Prix winner

December 20th, 2017

A film made to highlight driving regulations for foreign truck drivers entering Norway doesn’t especially sound like the raw material of a content marketing award winner. Yet at this year’s CMA awards the judges were unanimous that the Grand Prix winner would be the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (NLIA) for its film, The Truck Driver’s Mother.

What blew the judges away was how a mundane subject was brought vividly to life by creating an narrative that emotionally hooked not just truck drivers but anyone who watched the film.

Created by Geelmuyden Kiese the film follows the journey of Polish driver Lukasz as he takes his cargo into Norway. Only this  time he has with him a very special guest, his mother Anna. The film then cleverly, and playfully tracks their trip ensuring that the key messages about the regulations are incorporated into the movie, mainly spoken by Anna. It is a genius idea, after all, who doesn’t listen to their mother?

Beautify scripted with stunning Norwegian landscapes as a backdrop and a gorgeous score, The Truck Driver’s Mother is four minutes of compelling video which has apparently already caused quite a stir among its target audience of East European truck drivers.

To find out more we quizzed Trygve A. Tønnessen, Senior Creative at Geelmuyden Kiese about the idea for the film, how it was shot and what its audience makes of it.

We have never had a Norwegian winner, was it a surprise when you took the Grand Prix prize?

That was of course a huge surprise! Especially considering all the large brands and amazing agencies that we were up against. But with twelve shortlists – four alone for ‘The Truck Driver’s Mother’ – we had our fingers crossed. We got two golds last year, with six nominations, so we would have been disappointed going home empty handed.

But two silvers, two golds and the Grand Prix award, it exceeded all expectations!

How did you go about creating the video? Where did the idea for the mother come from? What was the rationale behind using the mother?

The idea is quite simple really, and is rooted in what was the original problem. The clients had been trying to reach these foreign drivers for a long time, but without much success. So, we asked ourselves: If they don’t listen to the Norwegian Government and the rest of the client group, who do they listen to?

And of course, that’s their mothers. Like everyone else, there is something special about mothers. They have the ability to tell us off, and make us straighten up and listen – but in a way that shows us that it’s because they care. And that’s what the message is all about: We have something important to tell all drivers coming to Norway, and it’s important because we want you to have a safe journey here.

Was is a conscious attempt to move away from a boring talking head video?

It was always our mission to do something bold and different. Especially since traditional, straight-forward information had failed. Also, because the target group was so specific, and often both misunderstood and stigmatised, we really wanted to show them that we were not taking easy on this. That we care and understand them.

Were the people in the video actors? If not how did you go about sourcing the Polish driver and his mother?

Definitely not, they are as real and genuine as they come – which I feel is vital for the whole idea and concept of this job. We were adamant from the very beginning that this was going to be a real Polish truck driver, with his actual mother, on an actual driving assignment in Norway. So, it sort of was the casting process from hell, but in the end, when we found them – we knew that they were perfect.

Anna is a single mother of five – Lukasz being her only son. When coming to Norway, it was actually the first time she had been on a plane. So already then it was an experience for life for her. And she told us time and time again how grateful she was for getting this opportunity to follow her son on this trip. Which of course was a great thing for us to hear, knowing that we follow her and Lukasz through long days with cameras constantly following their every move.

Part of the appeal of the video is its stunning landscapes and beautiful music, how did you go about choosing them?

This is what Norway is like, so that was the easiest part of the whole process! Of course, we needed a route that showcased some of the challenges that comes with driving in Norway – so we scouted a lot to find the best mountain roads, the most majestic fjord and longest tunnels. But when it comes to finding stunning scenery in Norway, it’s more or less cherry picking.

The music, which is the director’s merit, is said to be Poland’s most cherished lullaby. When we listened to it for the first time, it felt like the perfect match for both the storyline and the pictures. I actually sing it for my kids when I put them to bed now. Although I’m humming of course – I neither speak nor sing a word Polish.

From a perspective of ROI how successful has the video been. Do you have stats to show that it has influenced truck drivers?

What we are after here is first and foremost a long-term effect, so I think it still is a bit early to conclude. However, the indications are very promising. The clients together do thousands of roadside controls and inspections at all border crossings into Norway. And a lot of the drivers they talk to here tell them that they have seen the film, and confirm that the message has come across. And when governments from other countries than what was originally a part of the campaign reach out, asking for the film and website to be translated into their languages as well – I feel certain that we are on the right track!

Watch the video below to see what Geelmuyden Kiese did with their award.

Ashley Norris, Consultant Editor, The CMA


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