Audi on ‘Roids
by Maria Luci
Berlin-based Markus Altmann is known for his stylish automotive photos and crisp portraits. He loves working with “real people” and presenting them in “authentic, lively ways.” Recently, he got to combine both his passions for photographing people and cars into one fun advertising assignment for Audi Genuine Parts.
The Berlin advertising agency Thjnk had already determined the campaign’s concept before they approached Markus about the job. They wanted the photographs to be Polaroid snapshots, showing moments in the eventful life of an Audi that’s seen it all. Markus had worked with Audi in the past, on editorial assignments for their magazine, but had yet to shoot an advertising job for the brand. So when Thjnk presented the concept—Polaroid photos of amusing scenarios showcasing Audi car parts—Markus jumped at the chance.
What appealed to Markus most about the campaign was the “diversity of the scenes and subjects, and the idea to shoot the pictures in a Polaroid-style.” He and the Thjnk team immediately dove into pre-production, which included planning out four very different set ups. Their first task was deciding whether to shoot actual Polaroids or to create the effect in post. They ultimately decided on the latter, knowing this was the more reliable choice of the two. Markus says he would have “loved the challenge” of shooting the entire campaign on Polaroid film, but knew that he would have ended up with “unpredictable effects and flaws which would not have been acceptable for this assignment.”
Once the film decision was settled, they moved on to casting, location scouting, and securing a major element of the project: animals. Markus explains,
We had to shoot more animals (for future use) than you see in the current ad. This involved a zebra as well as an elephant balancing on a ball. So we had to decide which animals were best to shoot live or stuffed, or whether to use stock images or CGI. We ended up doing the donkey, the zebra and the elephant in CGI. The animals for the “Town Musicians of Bremen” (four animals out of a German folktale by the Brothers Grimm) were done like this: Donkey as CGI, dog, live, and the cat and rooster as stock.
The shoot spanned several days—and went smoothly, animals and all. The client loved the final shots and are currently using them in print campaigns and online animated presentations on the Audi website.
View more of Markus’ work at markus-altmann.de.