‘Confidence’ with Geraint Thomas

This summer, we had the pleasure of working with one of the UK’s best known athletes, Geraint Thomas. Multiple Olympic champion, Tour de France 2018 winner and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The team travelled down to the Southern Alps in May to shoot a new campaign, a celebration of Geraint’s partnership with Continental Tyres as part of the wider ‘Feel Confident with Continental’ brand campaign, to be released over the lead up to and opening weeks of this years’ Tour de France.

Concepts

With two days to spend with ‘G’ in the south of France our aim was to create two separate but consistent campaigns around Continental Tyres’ “Feel Confident with Continental” message.

The first part of the campaign was named ‘Confidence’. This consisted of a short film specifically created for social media and features ‘G’ describing the role confidence plays in his career, both in his performance and in his equipment. We also developed a number of additional social assets to help raise brand awareness across a range of digital platforms.

“Going down some alpine descents at 100km/h down a road with a sheer drop and the only part of the bike that’s on the road is a 23mm tyre… You just know they’re going to perform.“ - Geraint Thomas

For the second part of the campaign, named ’The Descent’, we wanted to capture that thrill of the descent through the visuals and audio. The aim of the game here was all about giving the viewer a thrill-seeking ‘edge-of-your-seat’ experience.

Imagine if you could ride down an alpine descent, experience it close up from a multitude of angles, hearing only the intense raw sounds of the wind and the bike… Our 90 second film would deliver the energy, thrill and speed of a downhill ride at Grand Tour pace - what a ride that would be!

Sound Design

Cut Media made the decision to have no music or any voiceover in ‘The Descent’ film. Only the raw, natural sounds of the Tour De France champion attacking a descent. But what was the significance of this decision?

Where we might be used to seeing cycling films with loud musical scores or watching live races with distracting commentary, this film transports viewers into the saddle. We hear what Geraint hears; the thundering roll of rushing tarmac, the click of a cassette, the wind rushing past the bike, and even his breathing.

Accompanying visuals including close-up and on-board shots alongside wide aerial landscapes mirror the audio as we journey from really intense and enhanced sound to almost complete silence up in the air, with only the distant sound of the bike mixed with light wind and bird song.

Working with Geraint

Having many keen cyclists in our studio we were obviously excited to work with Geraint and add him to the roster of phenomenal athletes that we’ve had the pleasure of working with. However it also needed some careful planning, for us it was essential that we respected his needs both in preparation for filming and during the shoot itself. Firstly, as our shoot dates landed during the peak of his intense pre Tour de France training and diet regime, we had to make sure to impact on that as little as possible. The team were flexible to allow Geraint to incorporate his training as part of the filming process.

The location for filming, Route de Thorenc, was a 1.5 hour drive or a 5 hour uphill cycle from Geraint’s hometown of Monaco, so he opted to cycle there, and use that time as a training day. His focus and commitment to 6 hours of filming after a 5 hour ascent was remarkable to witness. Secondly, we really wanted to ensure he enjoyed being on the shoot with the team, and also had the opportunity to experience riding with his new Continental Tyres in optimal conditions. What better way to test the tyre grip than on a 4 km downhill stretch of closed road in the Southern Alps?

"It was a great opportunity to have the closed-roads freedom usually reserved for racing, on an incredible mountain descent whilst showing the importance of great tyre choice. Seeing the final film was amazing - the guys did an incredible job pulling it all together.” - Geraint Thomas

It was certainly a really enjoyable experience working with Geraint, following him at speed in such an idyllic location. Capturing him twist and turn down the descent, continually linking to Continental Tyres, in creative and cinematic ways ensured the end content for the campaign remained both exciting for viewers, but also on brand for Continental. We’ve got some more exciting work with them planned around the Ride London event and in the future so stay tuned!