Saatchi & Saatchi LA and 1stAveMachine Give Viewers Sense of Control in Immersive, 360 Toyota Highlander Spot

Directors Karim Zariffa and Nico Kasakoff of storytelling production company 1stAveMachine have joined forces with Saatchi & Saatchi LA to highlight the features of the 2018 Toyota Highlander through a captivating 360 experience.

Shot in Los Angeles over the course of a single day following months of pre-production including 3D previz and art build, the new 360 spot reflects the stylish, family-friendly construct of the Highlander. Through a panoramic series of set pieces featuring a family that’s fit for the SUV, 1stAve directors Zariffa and Kasakoff and Saatchi LA crafted individual vignettes that showcase specific features such as 295 horsepower, seating for up to 8, rain-sensing wipers and 83.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

According to Zariffa, the 360 platform provides the ideal solution to engage an audience. “It allows the viewer to be more immersed in the message, asking them to discover the features for themselves, as if they were controlling the commercial. So it’s a more engaging solution than a traditional video format.”

Bringing the Highlander experience to life, however, required an intricate production process that deviated from the standard 360 approach. “We wanted the best image quality possible so we decided to shoot with an Alexa and then stitch everything together versus using 360 cameras with extreme wide-angle lens,” Zariffa explains. “Because the set pieces were so big, we decided to shoot each slice separately with everything measured out perfectly in a 3D previz. The camera never moved all day, we just re-dressed the slice in front of it, making sure nothing crossed edge of frame and lighting was consistent. So with mathematical prep, we were able to stitch everything together in post seamlessly.”

With production ingenuity behind it, Toyota’s latest entertaining, seamless 360 campaign marks a solid collaboration between 1stAveMachine and Saatchi & Saatchi LA. “We had a great relationship, and Saatchi obviously knows their client very well so the process was really fluid and collaborative,” Zariffa adds. “The agency kept an open mind with the technical challenges we had to take on, while giving us a lot of creative freedom on this project, which is exactly the kind of project we like to work on at 1stAve.”

This was the first time Karim and Nico had collaborated with each other as a team even though both have embraced our co-directing model on past jobs. What a fabulous team, each bringing their different strengths and sensibilities to the project. Seeing these two flourish as a team and the resulting cool film is very gratifying.



Campaign Name: Toyota Highlander In Market 360
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi LA
Production Company: 1stAveMachine
Director: Karim Zariffa
Director: Nico Kasakoff
Partner/Executive Producer: Sam Penfield
Executive Producer: Peter Repplier
Executive Producer: Michaela Mckee
Executive Producer: Lisanne McDonald
Director Of Photography: Ryan Carmody
Line Producer: Jeff Trenner
1st AD: Ryan Ramos
Head of Post Production: Christos Mountzouros
Post Supervisor: Barry Gilbert
VFX Supervisor: John Loughlin
Gaffer: Chris Tonkovich
Key Grip: Leo Lbanez
Art Director: Regan Jackson

About 1stAve Machine:

1stAveMachine is a mixed media production company and storytelling outfit. They create video, digital, and experimental content for TV, print, web, and mobile, all with a unified singular vision. They have won numerous awards since their formation, including Gold, Silver, and Bronze Cannes Lions, AICP, One Show, and ANDY awards, and many others. Their work has been featured across the globe and during the Super Bowl, and their division 1stAve Content has been instrumental in pairing the perfect influencers and creators with agencies and brands.