Every Christmas, the government rolls out its latest drink-driving campaign, each one more shocking and graphic than the last.
I was commissioned to create a drink-driving billboard campaign aimed at 17 to 24-year olds, with the short and sweet brief:
“Show me something I’ve never seen before.”
Okay, forget graphic imagery – to get the message across to this particular audience, I needed to talk to them in their language, in a visual style they’d recognise, using their cultural references.
At the time, there was no bigger phenomenon than Grand Theft Auto. In case you’ve been living under a rock, GTA is a videogame where you’re free to do drive around a virtual city, causing as much mayhem as possible, with no real consequence to your actions.
What if I turned that idea on its head? What if there were repercussions?
The visual style needed to mirror the games. Back in the PS2 days, that meant low polygon models and blurry textures.
A blessing in disguise, as the crudity would mask my own inexperience – this was my first experience of art directing in a virtual environment.
Here are a couple of early test renders.
Not too bad, but a bit flat and lacking in atmosphere. I wanted to get more of the neon glow from GTA: Vice City in there, so I added a bit of atmospheric lighting.
Once I was happy with the positioning of the models and camera, I created the final artwork.
It. Took. A. Long. Time. To. Render.
About 37 hours if I remember rightly. A day-and-a-half of being absolutely terrified of going anywhere near the Mac in case it crashed.
I added the campaign messaging in the game’s signature font, and a videogame-inspired call to action.
The campaign was really well received and was used by several other local authorities across the country.