Michael Schnabel Keeps Renault's Secrets
Renault is not a name we hear very often in the US, but in Europe is a mega automobile manufacturer. For their latest release of the Renault Scenic they wanted to strike a different tone from the industry standard and asked Michael Schnabel to help them do it. There’s a lot riding on the Scenic, it’s one of their best models, but the car company thought it was crucial to change the conversation. “It’s a really important car for Renault,” says Michael. “Classically it’s the Mom and the children and for their advertising it’s supposed to be the Dad and the children. So the Dad is driving the car and doing little weekend tours with the children.” Renault and Michael wanted to subvert the common expectations for men in the family and are using these ads to help them do it.
With all the focus that Renault gets in Europe they gain a lot of attention whenever they have a new car coming. For PR purposes that’s great, but it offers a challenge for when they want to keep new designs away from the public’s eyes. “They wanted to use my images to reveal the car,” explains Michael. “So having the car was secret, but they wanted to shoot the car, they did not want to do CGI. They called me in December and they wanted to shoot in January but they wanted sunny weather. No, you know, we’re in the northern hemisphere, sunny weather is tricky.” Michael had to figure out the best way to achieve the look Renault wanted while still recognizing the limits of nature. So he brought the shoot to Spain where he thought would be his best bet.
To get an urban feel while still stay private they took over an amusement park that’s normally shut down for the winter. That gave them the privacy they needed, but also meant they had to create a lot of the look from scratch. “We had to bring this whole thing to life,” says Michael. “We had to bring in plants, we had to bring in people, we had to bring in props. So it was kind of a little bit of a movie-style production. We had up to 60 or 70 people in a couple of days, which is exciting.” Not only were there a lot of people from multiple teams, but they all spoke different languages. French, German, Spanish. But they all came together speaking English and were able to turn this mini-movie into a series of images that Renault was able to use across all medias and markets to reveal their incredibly anticipated car.