HOW DO YOU PORTRAY A TAG LINE LIKE “DON’T CRACK UNDER PRESSURE” EFFECTIVELY? FOR SWISS WATCH HOUSE TAG HEUER, IT MEANS GETTING ITS POSTER GIRL AND MODEL CARA DELEVINGNE TO GO FACE-TO-FACE WITH A LION IN THE AFRICAN BUSHLAND. TOGETHER WITH THE BRAND, FEMALE BREAKS DOWN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN.
IT’S SET IN AN AFRICAN SAFARI
Production for the campaign took place last December at the 18,500ha Dinokeng Game Reserve in South Africa, where wild animals like lions, white rhinos, leopards and giraffes are allowed to roam freely.
CARA’S CO-STAR IS A LION
The majestic big cat that appeared behind Delevingne in the images is a 10-year-old lion named Vayetse.
THERE’S A STRONG LEO CONNECTION
Besides sharing the spotlight with a real-life lion for the TAG Heuer project, Delevingne has a more personal link to the animal. Her horoscope is Leo and she has an image of a male lion tattooed on her index ﬁnger. Even her pet pup is named after the star sign.
IT’S SHOT BY THE STEVE IRWIN OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Illustrious Scottish ﬁne art and wildlife photographer, David Yarrow lensed the images. His highly emotive and intimate works are known to make the viewer feel up- close to the animals he captures. In April this year, his photo “The Wolf Of Main Street” sold for US$100,000 (S$134,000) at a Sotheby’s auction, setting a record for the highest bid for a piece by a living photographer.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KILLER STARE
Visual contact is a trademark of Yarrow’s work – which explains why he was obsessed with capturing Cara’s piercing stare and the lion’s eyes in the photos. He says: “When I photograph an animal, the ﬁrst thing I do is look into its eyes. If they are not piercing, then it’s very difﬁcult to capture the animal’s soul. And Cara has a truly piercing gaze.”
NO SPECIAL EFFECTS WERE USED
What’s impressive about the campaign was that neither CGI nor visual manipulation were employed for the images because it’s essentially a documentary photo. Delevingne was physically positioned in front of the lion for the shot and guarded in a metal cage in between takes.
THE “LION WHISPERER” WAS ON SET
That’s the nickname given to South African animal behaviourist and lion conservationist Kevin Richardson, who raised Vayetse since he was a little cub. The creature, nicknamed “Vee”, frequently appears on Richardson’s Instagram (@lionwhisperersa).
TWO CARRERAS APPEAR IN THE CAMPAIGN
The quartz-powered TAG Heuer Carrera PVD steel and the automatic TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 9 are understated takes on the brand’s sporty ﬂagship line, which debuted in 1963 as a tribute to the famous Carrera Panamericana auto race. The former’s rapid date correction feature and the latter’s near-perfect precision (a time variation of only a few seconds per month) make them seriously reliable and solid timepieces.
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 9 steel watch with diamonds on matching bracelet, $6,700
TAG Heuer Carrera PVD steel watch on alligator strap, $7,450