VISA's joyride with Mr. Bond

West meets East seemed to be theme of VISA's much appreciated television commercial starring the suave Pierce "Bond" Brosnan and Zhang Ziyi, the svelte actress who portrayed the rebellious martial arts exponent in the blockbuster Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with aplomb. The memorable TV commercial for the Asia Pacific region was created by VISA's ad agency BBDO.

The charming and enigmatic Brosnan seemed to be a perfect foil to the the "wild" Zhang in the 60-second nail-biting, action packed commercial. Of course, the typical Bond brand of humour and the famed facial expressions which have become a hallmark of Brosnan's Bond character are all there in this roller-coaster drive of an advertisement. However, two things stand out and threaten to overshadow the superstars - the 'tuk tuk' and its driver!

Advertising folklore has it that the TVC was shot with over 200 crew, 100 extras and more than 100 cars and trucks to reconstruct a Chinatown setting with markets and traffic jams. Realism at its best in order to reflect the ethos and culture of the Oriental!

The commercial opens to the setting of a typical street in the crowded city of Bangkok with Brosnan caught in Bangkok's famous traffic jam. Brosnan is racing against time to make it to his latest heartthrob Zhang. He abandons his sleek limousine and hitches a ride with a tuk tuk driver. The driver, who is an avid film watcher and a typical Bond fan, gets carried away with Bond's on-screen persona. He embarks upon the "ride of his life" and the sophisticated Mr. Bond has to tag along. Brosnan empathises with his bravado and decides to humour him by joining in.

What follows is a nerve-wrecking journey along the streets of Bangkok as the obsessed driver crashes through billboards, restaurants and crowded markets. The "duo" - should we include the tuk tuk and say "trio" - leave a trail of destruction in their wake as they traverse through the lanes, bylanes and streets - not a trace of cemented avenues or four-lane concretised roads. Mercifully, the journey comes to an end and the debonair Brosnan is delivered to the doorstep of his beloved - at least for the time being.

It is then that tragedy strikes! The tuk tuk falls apart even as the driver and the urbane, refined and polished Brosnan escape without a scratch - or should we say "shaken but not stirred". The thorough gentleman that he is, a grateful Brosnan whips out his VISA card and offers to pay for the damages!

The commercial ends on a humourous note as Brosnan discovers the tuk tuk driver waiting and wooing him for another ride on his brand new turbo-powered vehicle. The unbeatable gusto and charming smile of the tuk tuk driver will remain etched in memory for years. The punch line "All it takes" is VISA!

The TVC conveys that life is full of possibilities and the power to make things happen lies in the hands of the consumer - with VISA to assist the consumer. The advertisement highlights the versatility and power of VISA and is in line with the global "All it takes" brand advertising campaign. The advertisement exudes energy and confidence with bold and distinctive images - representing the vitality of VISA.

VISA International's South Asia country manager Santanu Mukherjee says: "We believe this advertisement will reinforce VISA's brand image as a leader in India. By combining our international association with the James Bond movie Die Another Day and bringing together international celebrities like Pierce Brosnan and Zhang Ziyi, who have a strong appeal across Asia and India, we hope to provide memorable and entertaining advertising. The advertisement aims at providing extraordinary surprises to ordinary everyday situations like a traffic jam!"

An excellent script laced with humour, the unmistakable charm of Brosnan and the rustic simplicity of an "ordinary" human being being elevated to sublime heights in the presence of an icon has delivered another winner for the global brand!

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