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making communication easier


“Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.� Albert Einstein


thebeginning Versatel came to us with a communication problem. They wanted to tell people who they are and what they do. The discussion went something like this.

“Hello. We’re 180.” “Hi. We are Versatel.” “So, what do you do?” “We’re a one-stop-shop for all communication needs, providing both companies and private customers with internet, data and telephony solutions, integrating...” “Communication?” “In one word, yes.” ”And what do people want communication to be?” ”Fast? Cheap? Reliable?” “Easy.” “But technology isn’t always easy!” “But communication should be.” “Maybe that’s our mission, then.” “Exactly. You make communication easier.”


In 1754, abbot Charles Michel de l’Epee developed the ďŹ rst formalized sign language by observing the rudimentary gestures used among the deaf of Paris. The abbot was inspired by a meeting with two mute girls, whom he presumed rude because of their silence.

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thehistoryofcommunication We went back and looked at the history of communication from smoke signals to sign language, from town criers to Morse code. And we found out that communication hasn’t always been easy. Even at its best, it’s been slow and unreliable. To help Versatel understand our point of view we decided to make them a funny film.

These pictures are from the funny film called ”The History of Communication” that 180 made for Versatel.

VO: In the beginning communication was easy. But as we became more successful we needed to contact each other over greater distances. We were forced to develop faster and more sophisticated ways to talk to each other. As time went by we needed to contact more than one person at the same time, and so our forms of

communication multiplied and became more complicated. Then the information we needed to send increased, so we invented the printing machine, books and newspapers. But that wasn’t enough. We wanted to reach even more people simultaneously


Standard Military Hand Signals.

I think I saw something

did you mean me?

yes sir

I can’t see

aim for the ass

I’ve been hit

gun malfunction!

stop

shut up a second

unwashed

enemy fire!

I need more ammo

you first

teenager

bearded thug

with more information at higher speed. So we came up with the telephone, the typewriter, the fax, the mobile phone, the computer, the internet. But somewhere along the line it got out of hand. Too many wires, platforms, boxes, bootups, downloads and DSLs.

Somebody had to come along and make communication easy again.

unconscious

Versatel. Communication just got easier. they may have a chance

we haven’t got a chance

shit, he was on our side!

I missed it

my fault

male

no way

we’re outta here

two teams


“These films should be simple and rude.” Director Matthijs van Heijningen

tv script and storyboard as presented to the client

aboriginal man stands on rock. he begins swinging his bullroarer around his head.

the rope snaps and the roarer flies off hitting his wife.


communication just got easier.

mobile | internet | telephone | data

theaborigine

The bullroarer was known as the ‘voice of God’ to the Australian Aboriginals. They use them to alert one tribe of another’s presence over long distances. They were also used to sound a warning to the uninitiated, to talk to the spirits, and even send animals into ambush.


BULLROARER

Bullroarer snaps and hits wife in the head. Sounds simple enough. But how do you do it without hurting the actress? Easy. First we shot a bullroarer hitting a green screen element representing the woman’s head.


RUBBER BALL

ACTRESS FALLS

Then we threw a rubber ball at the actress as a cue to fall into the pond.

FINAL COMPOSITION

The ďŹ nal hit combines these two shots.


tv script and storyboard as presented to the client

theindian We needed to shoot the Aborigine and the Indian on the same day. Producing two ads in a day is a challenge. Shooting on two continents even harder. However, our local scout found the desert of Australia just a hundred yards from the rocky landscape of North America. All we had to do was y in an authentic Aborigine and a Native American.

indian throws rug on fire. rug catches on fire. indian runs away.

australia

ali en Austr D is t a n c e b et we

or th a and N

A

eters : 41 8 m meric a

t e s by f o o t . N o j e t l ag . or 2 minu

america

The Indian sign language is not related to the sign language for the deaf. Also called Plains Sign Language, it was developed for communication between different tribes, each with their own language. It became the universal language of the plains, the American version of Esperanto - just without words.

brother

brother in law

buffalo


Indian smoke signals were a coded form of communication, used to transmit secret messages. The column of smoke was made to ascend in more than twenty different ways: some signals resembled the letters V and Y, others looked like spiral or zigzag lines, or twin columns.

by itself

call

canyon

cat

crazy

crow

dance

camp

camp continued

candle

blanket

boat

bacon

beaver


tv script and storyboard as presented to the client

thegorilla a biologist woman tries to talk to koko the gorilla.

the gorilla goes berserk.


“Lights! Camera! Kong!” From King Kong, 1976, Paramount Pictures


We found our gorilla in London. His name is Peter Elliot. Peter makes a living out of dressing in a gorilla suit. So we ew him down with his crew of facial expression operators, and had ourselves a gorilla that did exactly what we wanted. He still managed to scare the life out of our actress.


The Gorilla Language Project, or Project Koko, involves teaching American Sign Language to lowland gorillas. Koko now has a vocabulary of over 1,000 signs, and understands 2,000 words of spoken English. He has a tested IQ of between 70 and 95 on a human scale, where 100 is considered “normal.�

look

stupid

fake

gorilla

koko

jealous

want

visit

toilet

mother


tv script and storyboard as presented to the client

theufo scientists are trying to the aliens respond by communicate with aliens. blasting the earthlings with a giant laser.


“Don’t panic.” Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


“The barriers of distance are crumbling – one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars .” Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968

Despite our secret hopes, no alien life forms showed up during the shoot. So we went back to plan A: creating the ship ourselves. We had some trouble agreeing on what an alien piece of engineering looks like. What shapes, colours, and kinds of weapons do aliens prefer? Here you see the ship we added, frame by frame, to the final ad. We hope they don’t mind.

Wireframe

First rendering

Rotating elements


A Newsweek Poll taken before the release of “Independence Day” revealed 48% of Americans think UFOs are real and 29% think we have made contact with aliens. In sci-fi movies, a classic way to communicate with aliens is by using sequences of sounds and lights.

In the final

ufo

tv ad,

to

communicate

with

the aliens

the organ

player

plays

the same

melody

we

created

for

the

Lighting

Final unidentified flying object Versatel

sound logo.


tv script and storyboard as presented to the client

thepigeon man ties note to pigeon. lets go of pigeon.

pigeon immediately slams into window a few feet away.

LIVE PIGEON

OPEN WINDOW

STUFFED PIGEON

Sometimes it’s a complex task to make things look simple. The pigeon impact combines two shots from a locked-off camera: In the first shot our young hero tenderly releases a live pigeon and it flies through the open window. In the second, the assistant director throws a stuffed pigeon at a closed window. The final shot is created by combining the two images. Simple.


British War Department Technical Manual TM-11-410, “The Homing Pigeon”, January 1945

GENERAL MINIMUM SPECIFICATIONS REQUIRED FOR A PIGEONEER *Personal traits.* A pigeoneer who is boisterous and of a turbulent nature tends to frighten and upset pigeons and thus reduce their effectiveness. The successful pigeoneer should possess: (a) *Dependability.* To perform all his duties regularly and promptly. (b) *Kindness.* To obtain confidence of the pigeons. (c) *Patience.* To spend much time and repeated effort required for training pigeons. (d) *Neatness.* To maintain a sanitary and attractive loft for the pigeons. (e) *Firmness.* To enforce control over pigeons. (f) *Power of accurate observation.* To note and learn characteristics of individual pigeons in the loft by observing details readily and accurately.

CLOSED WINDOW

FINAL COMPOSITION

Ten Neapolitan Gestures

by Andrea de Jorio, 1832

Some, such as 1 and 5, will be known to at least all Europeans, while others, such as 9 and 10, may not be understood outside Italy.

Silence

Negative

Beauty

Hunger

Derision

Tiredness

Stupidity

Beware

Dishonest

Crafty


tv script and storyboard as presented to the client

thewhale Without an actual whale on set to create a high pitched squeal, the director Matthijs van Heijningen sounded an air horn to get a genuine reaction from the actors. By the end of the day, the actors were not only soaked in ice-cold water, but also half deaf.

marine scientists try to a whale lets out a squeal communicate with whales. into the microphone. the scientists are sprawled out on the floor holding their ears.


The International Code of Signals was ďŹ rst drafted in 1855 by the British Board of Trade and published in 1857 as a means of maritime communications. The original publication showed 17,000 signals using 18 ags, and was soon adopted by most sea-faring nations.

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thefinalfilms

“I like rudeness.


And I think I’m not the only one.”

Director Matthijs van Heijningen


180 would like to thank all the people that worked with us to make communication easier.


theresults Within one week of the launch, the clients’ bravery paid off. The campaign became a major news topic, featured in national newspapers, talk shows, TV and radio news. The ads were also debated on over 200 websites. We promised Versatel we’d get the Netherlands talking. And that’s what we did. Thanks to Gert Post and Anoeska van Leeuwen for trusting us to the end. We can only be as good as our clients.


making communication easier

herengracht 506 1017 CB amsterdam the netherlands +31 20 4222 180 www.180amsterdam.com

Versatel  

A promo' book created by us for our work for the Dutch telecoms client.