Skip to main content

GLOBAL – “Do you want to know why I’m dancing?” he asks.

No. He’s 19. We want to know why he’s ironing. 

“Oh, I’m a pretty independent guy. I cook, I clean. Well, OK, I don’t really cook. But I do iron.”

Darling is one the ordinary people who features in the advert by turning humdrum activities into adventures. 

“The story is set over the course of the arc of a day,” says director Jeff Thomas, who is now filming Hawaii Five-O.

We know that life is more than a long narrative; it’s a compilation of the experiences we have, the places we go and the people we meet.

Since the new Nokia Lumia is about making those everyday experiences amazing – the team behind the advert chose to film real people who already do that in their ordinary lives.

“Real life can be drab,” admits Philip Hickey who worked on the advert for Nokia, but people “upgrade the mundane”. 

Jeff Thomas and Al Young, the Executive Creative Director from the London based agency Inferno, trawled through thousands of YouTube clips, becoming increasingly astonished by how people make the most of their individuality: The guy who makes bacon and eggs in a skull and cross bone, the baseball player who does that amazing trick with his bat that almost looks like a sleight of hand – but is actually the real thing. The group who follow the football linesman. The girl who does that…well how to describe it…that thing with her bike…

“I knew we were on to something,” says Hickey “It’s very real.”

Marciano Darling was listening to a TJ reggae mix-tape when he decided to film himself dancing:

“I was feeling kind of happy, I was dancing away,” he explains, “I put the clip on Facebook for a couple of days and then I took it down. I thought – no one is going to watch that. But by then it was already on YouTube, and it went viral in a day.”

Soon everyone was watching Marciano busting some moves and sorting out the creases in his pants. 

“There’s nothing – nothing – more mundane than ironing,” says Jeff Thomas, “but I loved that clip. What’s more, women all over America loved that clip.”

Even Marciano Darling’s mother loved that clip, especially when she was flying to LA with her son to recreate the scene for the advert. “We did seven takes. They were all wonderful,” he laughs, “Look, going to LA was the best thing that ever happened to me. I want to be a dancer, that’s my dream.” 

Jeff Thomas shot the advert over four days in LA and one day in Kuala Lumpur, with 20 scenes making it into the final edit.

“We wanted  a sense of heightened reality. Of heightened authenticity,” he says. “We were celebrating what real people really do, so it wasn’t hard as a director to get that out of them. But we also needed something that was beautifully lit and beautifully framed.”

Thomas kept the shooting simple, handheld, with at most 2 angles, “and sometimes, like the girl with the bike, it was just being there at the right moment.” 

Although filming food – well, food is tricky. It took 14 food people to make help make perfect skull and crossbones bacon and eggs: “Look, there are a lot of different options,” Thomas says. “Do you have bacon, do you have veggie, do you make teeth shapes in the egg? It takes an army of people to do that.”

Once the scenes had been shot, Jeff Thomas and Al Young started to shape the edit. “It needed to have scale as well as personality. You get the detail of a girl’s hat, but the scale of the windsurfers. We needed to mix up interiors and exteriors,” Thomas says.

“We blurred the line between fiction and reality,” Al Young agrees, “but we could never lose touch with the humanity. The humanity of amazing everyday experiences is essential, because we we wanted to get across that this phone – the Nokia Lumia – can turn your life into an adventure.”

In a London cinema the Nokia Lumia advert plays out before the start of the film and there is an audible hum at the end from the audience. “People are excited about this ad,” Philip Hickey says. 

Marciano Darling is certainly excited: “Since I filmed it I’ve had a lot of recognition.” Now he’s returning to the US to pursue his career as a dancer, and he’s re-enrolled in college.  

It’s like when you see a plastic bag blowing in the wind and realize its beautiful, Jeff Thomas adds: “It’s about opening your eyes to an amazing everyday landscape – and it was there all the time, even if we didn’t notice it.”

What’s your favorite scene? I like the fox.