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Making Commercials: Osiris Attitude

Osiris aims to embody the creative, counter-culture worldview of its audience in a recently released campaign.

By Michael Fickes 

  Professional BMX rider Darryl Tocco spins his way through a rugged concrete environment in Carlsbad, Calif.
  Professional BMX rider Darryl Tocco spins his way through a rugged concrete environment in Carlsbad, Calif.

Osiris began making athletic shoes for skateboarders in 1996. Focusing on designs endorsed by pros, the company expanded into other action sports. Today, Osiris wants to go large by expanding into lifestyle apparel. A recently released commercial campaign began the process.

Showing its counter-culture roots, Osiris eliminated the ad agency from the process and went straight to a director and production company – Nicholaus Goossen of Futuristic Films of Venice, Calif., and Denver – whose work had impressed the Osiris creatives.

A commercial and music video director, Goossen also has directed a couple of features: Grandma’s Boy and The Shortcut. Several of his recent music videos had a dark, unconventional style that Osiris hoped to tap for its brand.

“The campaign creative is largely Nick’s,” says Futuristic Executive Producer Brendan Kiernan. The idea called for gritty, realistic black-and-white spots with skateboarders, competitive cyclists, and urban artists.

The Osiris creatives and Goossen fleshed out the idea and cast athletes and artists who currently serve as Osiris brand spokespeople. The personalities include skateboarding pros Pierre-Luc Gagnon and Corey Duffel; Darryl Tocco, a competitive BMX rider; a rapper named Del, who is well-known in the action sports world and happens to be a cousin of Ice Cube; and Risk a well-known Los Angeles street artist.

For the shoot, Goossen wanted to highlight a sensibility he describes as “renegade-ish” and counter-cultural. “The commercials are about athletes and artists who have the determination to themselves as individuals and creative forces,” Kiernan explains.

In the footage, Goossen captures the skaters and BMX rider performing stomach-churning and sometimes dangerous acrobatics. Del records a driving rap and Risk creates a spectacular street-art rendering of the Osiris logo.

Using a new Red Epic camera, Goossen shot enough footage to put together a 30-second spot featuring each spokesperson at work. “Nick insisted on shooting each in his own environment,” Kiernan says. “Del and Corey Duffel were shot in San Francisco. Darryl Tocco lives in Carlsbad. Pierre Luc-Gagnon lives in San Diego, and Risk is from east of Los Angeles.”

Goossen also mounted a Canon 5D Mark II twice to get point of view shots. For instance, we see close-ups of Corey Duffel as he rides a motorcycle up one of San Francisco’s steepest hills in preparation for a wild and dangerous descent by skateboard.

Professional skateboarder Corey Duffel speeds down a San Francisco hill.  
Professional skateboarder Corey Duffel speeds down a San Francisco hill.  

The multi-talented Goossen edited the spots, too, using Apple’s Final Cut Pro. He made a :30 and a :60 using clips of each spokesperson, followed by :30s focused on the individuals.

The footage was in color, and Goossen drained the color out in post to get to black and white. All of the color went except for one orange accent per spot tied to Risk’s elegant treatment of the Osiris logo. The skateboards have orange hardware underneath. The bicycle has orange handle grips. Del’s rap features an orange microphone. “Those items were actually orange in the original shoot,” Kiernan says. “Sometimes pulling the rest of the color out was tricky, especially when there wasn’t enough separation between the orange and the surrounding colors. Often, we went frame by frame where the orange bled into other parts of the image and repainted what we wanted in black and white.

The spots also show portraits of each spokesperson against an orange background. In the portraits, the spokespeople offer determined looks to the camera. Corey Duffel goes a step further and grimaces. Risk appears holding up a can of orange spray paint in one hand and a large knife in the other. He slams the can onto the knife blade, filling the screen with orange paint that evaporates to reveal the Osiris logo.

Didn’t Nike find a way to break out by stepping up and just doing something like that?

View the commercial at www.osirisshoes.com.