The ad campaign was intended to be epic. Finnish dairy conglomerate Valio had signed legendary Motorhead musician Lemmy Kilmister to a new spokesperson deal last year. Sadly Kilmister unexpectedly passed away after a brief illness last month.
An ad with Kilmister had already been shot but clearly the client needed to take a new approach. The solution: Valio and its agency hasan & partners Helsinki transformed the ad into a rock legend tribute while managing to showcase the product as well.
“We were in the middle of post-production when the news about Lemmy broke," says Jussi Lindholm, chief operating officer of hasan & partners. "We are profoundly grateful to have worked with him and that Lemmy’s management felt good about the result. We discussed not airing the ad but had footage that was not part of the original script, which crystallized Lemmy’s spirit, so we agreed to change it and make a tribute.”
The original creative featuring Kilmister was as a remake of Valio's famous 20-year old commercial that featured a character who exits a seedy bar and states, “I have never drunk milk, and never will.”
Kilmister’s updated version was filmed on location in Maunula, Finland with an external shot of a moody downtown bar at night, from which Lemmy exits and walks with his trademark cane. He stops, the camera zooms in, and Lemmy turns to the viewer and says: “I don’t drink milk, and never will” before adding “you asshole” and flashing a wry smile.
The 40-second ad ends with the words, ‘Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister 1945-2015,’ followed by ‘We raise our glasses to you.’ Valio's milk is seen poured into a glass as music plays and a final branding message, ‘Valio Milk from Finland’ closes the spot.
The ad can be seen here.
Hanna Savolainen, marketing manager, Valio, said, "We were devastated to learn of Lemmy’s passing, but honored to have collaborated with him. Lemmy was great to work with and we feel we’ve captured the essence of his genuine, lively spirit.”