SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — A campaign by AlmapBBDO which used artificial intelligence to reunited Elis Regina, one of the greatest Brazilian singers of all time, with her daughter Maria Rita, a modern-day icon with eight Grammys to her name, four decades after Elis’s untimely death, has already become a watershed in the history of Volkswagen do Brasil and of Brazilian advertising.
Shortly after it went live, it became a Twitter trending topic for over 24 hours. On digital platforms, including the brand’s social media and influencers’ posts, it reached over 50 million organic views. It also ranked 1st in Google Trends searches, 1st in YouTube’s trending videos, and got 99% positive comments on the brand’s social media.
The reunion meant that Maria Rita, who lost her mother when she was just four years old, was able to sing a moving duet alongside her mother with the help of technology. In the two-minute film, Maria Rita is at the wheel of the 100% electric version of the Kombi, when a car pulls alongside her on the same highway: it’s Elis, driving the classic Volkswagen model.
Volkswagen’s 70th anniversary campaign in Brazil also connects to the brand’s announcement that the icon is on its way home: the Kombi is back! Ten years after the brand ceased production of the model that won Brazilians’ hearts, it’s coming back in an electric version, the ID. Buzz, which will be released in Brazil as a limited run of 70 units, as a nod to the brand’s 70th anniversary. The product’s triumphant return serves as a sign of the consolidation of Volkswagen’s global electrification strategy in Brazil.
To illustrate this moment, the mother-daughter reunion is intermingled with memories of classic Brazilian Volkswagen models, including the Gol, the Fusca, the Brasília, and the SP2, which are now making way for the 100% electric ID.Buzz and ID.4; the brand’s SUVs, which have top marks for safety: the T-Cross, Nivus, and Taos; its pick-ups; the Virtus, which is the newest sedan on the market; and the Polo. The decision to bring together two renowned artists, alongside a montage of Volkswagen do Brasil’s hits from across the decades, was designed to rekindle memories and pay tribute to the generations that have shaped the country’s history.
A Reunion through Artificial Intelligence
Created by AlmapBBDO and produced by Boiler Filmes, directed by Dulcidio Caldeira, the film relied on artificial intelligence trained specifically on recognition of Elis Regina’s face, unlike AI projects that use pre-trained technology using generic databases. The agency and the production company then teamed up with Flow Effects, a post-production company with expertise in special effects. For days, the AI was trained on a battery of different technologies, combining scenes of the stunt double with footage and stills of the singer to arrive at a groundbreaking and breathtaking result.
The voice behind classics such as “Águas de Março” and “O Bêbado e a Equilibrista,” Elis Regina became a musical legend, not only in Brazil, but worldwide. This tribute, 41 years after her death, was understandably moving for countless Brazilians. For her daughter, Maria Rita, the project was a chance to make a dream come true. Since she was only a little girl when her mother passed away, this was the first time that they were able to perform a song together.
“This film represents so much for everyone involved. It’s about Volkswagen’s story with Brazil, it’s the story of Elis Regina and Maria Rita, which was cut off far too soon, and, for us at AlmapBBDO, it’s about a story that spans over 60 years, which is the time we’ve been working with the brand here in Brazil. The campaign puts sophisticated technology in the service of an extremely human goal: to touch people’s hearts. We’ve taken a groundbreaking duet out of the realm of imagination and made it absolutely real, for the two minutes the film lasts,” said Marco “Pernil” Giannelli, AlmapBBDO CCO.
President and CEO: Filipe Bartholomeu
CCOs: Luiz Sanches and Pernil
ECDs: Rodrigo Almeida and Rafael Gil
DCs: Iron Brito and Felipe Cirino
Creatives: Francis Allan and Gustavo Tasselli
Client approval: Roger Corassa, Livia Kinoshita, Cristiano Mineiro, Arthur Rocha, Agnes Marques and Helena Oliveira
AV Production: Diego Villas Bôas, Vera Jacinto, and Murillo Moretti
Liaisons: Christiano Bock, Mariana Nanes, Stephanie Gasparini, Juliana Stern, Fernanda Waniarka and Bruna Nascimento
Planning: Sergio Katz, Marcelo Bazán, Bruno Ortiz Machado, Tomás Garnier Coutinho, Julia Albero, Lavieri Junior, Giulia Arruda, Ana Carolina de Losso, Giovanna Orsatti and Beatriz Freitas
Media: Rafaela Alves, Luana Gallizzi, Everton Maciel, Lucas Fanti, Stephanie Santos, and Isadora Lee
BI: Diego Rodrigues, Guilherme von Brewer, Amanda Rosa, Sara Ribeiro,Matheus Rodrigues and Victor Castilho
Content: Cristiana Uehara, Talita C. de Souza, Hannamy Layla, Samanta de Melo and Beatriz Amâncio
Head of creative tech: Lilian Cavallini
Project Lead: Sabrina Ramiles
Projects Assistant: Vinicyus Maciel
UXD: Paulo Savela
SEO: Mayk Sousa
Graphic Product: José Roberto
Image Treatment: HH Produção e Tecnologia de Imagens Publicitárias
Film Production: Boiler Filmes
Director: Dulcidio Caldeira
Executive Producer: Juliana Martellotta
Head of Client Services: Larissa Perrotta
Client Services: Jonas Monte, Jess Thomaz, and Maria Clara Gonçalves
Production Head: Juliana Sigolo
Coordination Team: Bruna Fernandes, Cintia Varella, and Marina Rohnik
1st AD: Bruno Roberti
2nd AD: Felipe Luisari
DP: Juliano Lopes
DP 2nd Unit: Rafael Martineli
Art Director: Martin Garcia
Production Director (São Paulo): Roberto Bellezia
Production Director (Florianópolis): Magali Heinze
Wardrobe (Florianópolis): Giovanna Moretto
Cast Producer (São Paulo/ Florianópolis): Cintia Cappellano
Celebrity: Maria Rita
Agents: Alexandre Rodrigues Rosa and Verônica Falcão Rodrigues Braga
Executive Producer: Mariana Da Annunciação Dos Reis
Makeup & Hair: Ricardo Dos Anjos
Stylist: Heleno Manoel
Post Coordinator: Ricardo Quintela
Editor: Ricardo Quintela
Assistant Editor: Fabio José Bento
Post-Production: Rafael Barão
Post Assistants: Renata Dalbem and Jean Neto
Color Grading: Acauan Pastore
Post-Production: Flow Effects
Production: Raw Audio
Musical Production: Fernando Forni, Ricardo Pinda, and Rogerinho Pereira
Musical Direction: Hilton Raw
Sound Design and Mix: Enrico Maccio and Philip Braunstein
Liaison: Carol Peternelli
Coordinator: Robério Barbosa
VO: Maria Rita
Studio: RJ Cia do Técnicos
Musicians: Bass – Alberto Continentino; Keyboard – Rodrigo Tavares; Drums – Wallace Santos; Guitar – Fernando Caneca
Sound Engineer: Flavio Senna