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Why the Dutch State Lottery Wants Happiness to Come First


TBWA\NEBOKO creative director Erik Falke on adorable huskies, wishing on the weather for snowfall and shooting in sub-zero temperatures, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani

Why the Dutch State Lottery Wants Happiness to Come First

When the festive season rolls around at the end of each year, it’s presents, food, friends and family that are always at the forefront of our minds. This year, to celebrate the bonds we share with our loved ones, and solidify the idea that happiness is the most valued feeling, the Dutch State Lottery worked with TBWA\NEBOKO to create a touching tribute to father and son relationships.

Starting the story in a retirement home, a son visits his father to tell him that it’s time for adventure – and share the small matter that he won the state lottery! As the two prepare to travel across Lapland, they pick up new clothes, go husky sledging, find themselves in a sauna and even have an adorable snow fight, without a care in the world. The sense of happiness and freedom in the campaign is solidified by a soundtrack composed by Jorrit Kleijnen and sung by Jacqueline Govaert, lead singer of the Dutch band Krezip. 

As the audience watches in wonder, the northern lights appear overhead, and father and son share moments sat across from each other at a lake as they go ice fishing, take in warmth from a campfire and even get hugged by some adorable huskies. But wait – there’s a twist in this tale which you’ll have to watch to find out.

Speaking to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about creating this campaign is TBWA\NEBOKO’s creative director Erik Falke, who explains: “Brave ideas need trust and vision.”

LBB> What was the initial idea behind this year's Dutch State Lottery Film?

Erik> The idea behind the campaign is that ‘some things in life are more valuable than winning the Jackpotprize’. This year we took that thought even further by inspiring people to do things with loved ones now instead of waiting till the day they win the lottery.

LBB> You’ve worked on these lottery spots since 2018. What was the feeling you wanted to create with this campaign and were you keen to do anything different from the previous years?

Erik> For four years in a row, we had a cuddly animal in the lead role. Even though the fourth edition was still very successful, we didn’t want to repeat ourselves and so we chose a more human angle.

LBB> Why was it important to tell the story of a father and son relationship? Can you tell us the process of writing the script?

Erik> Dutch people are Calvinistic. We think twice before we spend money. That can be a good thing, but it can also be in the way of doing fun things now. Especially for older people who haven’t always lived in the wealth we are used to. So that’s why the son had to come up with a little lie…

LBB> With scenes such as the characters having a snow fight after using the sauna, it really shows the audience their personalities. Can you tell us how you created a feel for the protagonists without using many words?

Erik> We worked out these scenes in close collaboration with director Ismael of Pink Rabbit. We didn’t want the storytelling to become sentimental. We loved Ismael’s idea of the old man getting energised again after leaving the elderly home and making new memories with his son. The shot in the sauna was a vital one in the storytelling: the nakedness illustrates the intimacy between the father and his son.

LBB> Each location is beautiful and makes for beautifully shot scenes. How did you find the locations you shot in and how long did it take to get all of the footage?

Erik> That was a big challenge. Our head of production Peter Burger made the call to push the shooting dates as far as possible behind, in order to increase the chance of having snow. That was risky because we wouldn’t have any time left to create snow in post production. Thankfully, the weather gods helped out and a few days before the shooting it snowed, followed by frost and four shooting days in a row of sunny weather, which is extremely rare for this area.

LBB> Did you come across any challenges while shooting on location and using so many different types of shots? How did you overcome these challenges?

Erik> Sorry, no exciting stories here. Line production company Woodpecker Films did a great job finding all the locations and the actors delivered so well. The only challenge was the frost. We shot the campfire scene at minus 25 degrees.

LBB> We have to ask about the huskies, what were they like to work with? I’m sure there would have been behind the scenes stories featuring them, can you share some with us?

Erik> We didn’t know what to expect. How will they behave: like dogs? Like wolves? Turned out they were extremely sweet, and well raised by the people of Rami Huskies. They were barking when we arrived and every single person on the crew was asked to cuddle them, to make them feel comfortable. That worked instantly and was a great thing to see: everyone hugging these dogs.

LBB> The music plays a large part in creating the ambience of the spot. How did you land on Jacqueline Govaert as the writer and singer and Jorrit Kleijnen as the composer for the spot? 

Erik> Jorrit always brings in the musical magic in each spot. Where the first three worked as film scores, we chose an original track since last year’s spot Fritsie. For that one, Jorrit worked together with Frances Eg White and Birdy. So in that same vibe, Jorrit looked for a new collaboration since we all felt this film needed lyrics as well. So Jorrit reached out to Jacqueline Govaert (lead singer of the Dutch band Krezip) and thankfully, she liked the narrative and wrote something beautiful.

LBB> When going through the editing process, what were some of the elements that you knew you had to incorporate into the final piece?

Erik> We were extremely keen on the beginning and the ending. The audience needed to believe – just like the dad – that the son had won the lottery, but in retrospect, had to understand that the son had to come up with his little lie. And the ending was crucial to have the viewer discover the true story and make room for the message ‘Don’t wait for luck to happen’. The Lapland part was in that respect easier: father and son having fun. And because the two played so well, we had a lot of material to choose from, which was especially challenging for our editor Martin Heijgelaar.

LBB> The twist at the end makes the story so much more sentimental to watch. How have people been reacting to the campaign and its ending?

Erik> It’s unbelievable! People are not only touched by the message, but also feel inspired. To do things now, share beautiful moments now. It’s the luck we all have in our hands and what a great message for a lottery to make us aware of this richness.

LBB> Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Erik> Yes. Brave ideas need trust and vision. So you’ll understand, we are extremely thankful for our brave, great clients at Dutch State Lottery. They give us all the room to come up with the best possible idea, year after year. So yes, they definitely deserve all the credits and success that they are experiencing right now.


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TBWA\NEBOKO, Fri, 16 Dec 2022 16:00:00 GMT