A mysterious polar vortex descends on the snowy mountains of Colorado, baffling meteorologists and anchormen. In thirty icy seconds, we get to the bottom of this mystery – the culprit is the brawny Jeep Wrangler X Edition, carving swaths through Telluride powder. With director and Zoic co-founder Loni Peristere at the helm, Zoic put together this adrenaline rush of a commercial. While forging a new path, the team was able to call upon their past experience working with Jeep and Doner Detroit. Charged with channeling the blood-pumping passion of the X Games, Zoic created a playful and exciting spot that resonates with its adventurous target audience.
To successfully pull off the extreme final spot, Zoic needed to choose practical components with care. Zoic VFX supervisor Ryan McDougal broke it down into two categories: “an epic location with sprawling vistas and snow-covered landscapes to serve as the backdrop,” and “the Jeep in action, hurling snow into the air from its tires and ripping through the terrain with ease”. These would allow the practical elements to marry with the epic VFX seamlessly.
The team found an ideal location at Telluride in Colorado. Remote and beautiful, the average elevation is 8500 feet, and the crew’s chosen vista was even higher – 11,000 feet. “The air was thin, the snow was pretty, and the city looked like a perfect Hollywood set,” said McDougal. Awesome location: check. Adrenaline-fueled shots of the Jeep: check. As McDougal put it, “we found everything we needed in Telluride, and then some.”
Matching the majestic vistas of Telluride was a challenge to which Zoic eagerly rose. Aside from the Jeep itself, the central figure in the spot was the massive vortex itself, which the team created using a combination of full CG VFX and matte paintings. For shots with the Jeep, Zoic had to create a fully functioning funnel cloud with layers of wispy mist, icy debris, and flurries of snow. “Our FX artists, compositors and lighters worked hard to achieve the sense of a chaotic storm that was being created by this singular vehicle,” said McDougal.
The Jeep Wrangler X Edition “Polar Vortex” spot combines carefully-selected practical elements, the grandeur of the mountains at Telluride, and painstakingly crafted CG visuals. The result is as exhilarating as the Jeep itself.