STORY’S Ford spot shows city’s location versatility

Who can tell this is Chicago and not Moscow?

While many unlikely cities throughout the world have been used as substitutes for Chicago locations for movies and commercials (and not always convincingly) STORY’S recent reverse location for a major advertiser tops them all. 

“We shot a Ford Explorer driving down Chicago streets that look like modern, urban downtown Moscow, for the Russian market,” says STORY executive producer Mark Androw. 

Androw says his company gets calls to shoot projects in Russia, “but this was a first.  I’ll send my director to Russia, but I’ve never had a Russian shoot in the US before,” he says.

“We did a location search throughout the city for all kinds of streets and bridges.  Our co-production company, Mad Cow Films of London, picked the Wells Street and the Lake Street bridges over the Chicago River and we shot there,” Androw notes.

Ogilvy/Moscow originated the concept of the evolution of the Ford SUV through different eras, to amplify the theme of “Legends aren’t made overnight,” starting with stock footage of a 1908 Ford assembly line, and successive models, which necessitated STORY having to locate older Fords “that obviously could not be found in Europe,” Androw says. “We also needed to find a bicycle of an earlier era and ended up buying one here that was close enough to the period we needed.

A scene in an office with views of city grandeur were filmed in a Loop office building and war and wedding scenes were shot on South Side locations.  Green screen scenes shot at Essanay incorporated the older Fords into new footage captured of Explorer assembly at the Ford factory on Torrance Avenue in Chicago.

For military training scenes of “determination (that it takes to build a legendary vehicle)” STORY flew in Russian military uniforms.

The Chicago assignment came through coproduction company Mad Cow Films in London.  Chris Hartwell of Mad Cow directed; the New York-based camera man was Simon Couell; Marsie Wallach produced for STORY and the cast and crew for the three-day shoot was local.

The voiceover track was recorded in both English and Russian in London.

See the spot here.

Agency credits:  Ogilvy & Mather, Moscow; Carl Le Blond, regional CD; Dmitry Nikonorow, head of production.

Production credits: Mad Cow Films, producer, Jonas Blanchard.  Editorial, Cut + Run, London, Dayn Williams, editor.  Casting, Paskal Rudnicke Chicago.