ABSA’s Cultivating the Exceptional directed by GIANT FILMS’ director Sam Coleman

Posted: July 6, 2016


No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.

– Alan Watts

When challenged to bring extra meaning and resonance to the new ABSA Investment spot, director Sam Coleman knew that the words and distinctive voice of Philosopher Alan Watts would lend the required gravitas he and agency The Jupiter Drawing Room, Johannesburg were searching for, to give solid grounding to ABSA’s unique Strive for the Exceptional positioning. So apt were the philosophers’ words that first agency, and then client, were happy to embrace the carefully nuanced attitudes that Alan Watts’ distinctive timbre injects into the narrative. The renowned Philosopher’s voice and thoughts drive the action and drama in this provocative new spot that launches this week, both with a 60 second TV version and a 3-minute web film.

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The inspiring narrative explores how synchronicity of thought, nature and commerce can propel events along the road to the exceptional through focused application of insight, understanding and determination – all key fundamentals at the heart of the ABSA investment philosophy. “We took from actual recordings of many speeches Alan Watts gave in the 50’s and 60’s and put together a single cohesive message,” said Sam Coleman.


The raw force of Nature is depicted both as an ally and as a potential foe that must be understood and harnessed: A shock wave generator hail cannon is utilized to disrupt the formation of hailstones as a storm threatens the combined work of man and nature in producing a prize-winning vine.  Attention to detail casting, styling, cinematography and performance direction all combine to deliver a rich and nuanced narrative portrait in which life long lessons and spur of the moment thought and inspiration combine to support each other in Sam’s lyrical and evocative work as the protagonist maps out the elusive road to Cultivating the Exceptional.

Click here to watch Cultivating the Exceptional.

Agency & City: The Jupiter Drawing Room
Creative Partner: Tom Cullinan
Creative Director: Dana Cullinan
Agency Producer: Noeleen Burley
Agency Art Director: Kris Biddle
Copywriter: Matthew Bouch

Production Company: Giant Films
Director: Sam Coleman
Producer: Boris Vossgatter
Director of Photography: Jamie Ramsay
Art Director: Darryl Hammer

Editor & Company: Kobus Loots / Upstairs Post
Visual Effects Company: Wicked Pixels
Music / Composition / Sound: Freqncy / Simon Malherbe
Sound Design: Produce / Louis Enslin
Post Production Online: Upstairs Post  / Charmaine Greyling
Post Production Online: Upstairs Post