Amazon’s most recent commercial has received far more than the typical amount of attention for an ad due to its visually captivating style. Escapism has been necessary for most of us during this difficult era and “The Good Choice” provides an ample portion of this. Of course, it’s notable that the message itself is one that aims for a better world by making better decisions that effect the planet. To manifest the magical world presented in this commercial took some of the most skilled professionals in the industry like Jeff Pangman. A well-known and respected producer in the world of commercial ads, Jeff collaborated on “The Good Choice” with others such as Director Zach Math (known for his work with Coke, the NFL, and Volkswagen) and cinematographer Christopher Mably (of Primetime Emmy Award–winning series Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard). Working with the artists at Santa Monica based Shape+Light, this team manifested a stunning and surreal vision that allowed us all to experience one young girl’s fantasy of what could be. Created by Caviar Studios, well-known for their multiple Oscar Award–winning 2021 film Sound of Metal, “The Good Choice” is imbued with the extraordinary storytelling qualities one might expect considering the talent behind it.
Delivered subtly, the message here is that the smallest change can make a massive difference. Amazon is making moves to become a fully sustainable company and thus make it easier for everyone to do their part in achieving this. The visually stunning approach of “The Good Choice” is intended to grab the attention of viewers who might often choose to ignore a commercial. Anyone who has seen this production can attest to the achievement of this goal, but one which was not achieved with ease. The coordination of varied production departments, the use of both practical effects and digital VFX, stunt training, and other elements combined to create the fantasy world of a little girl who imagines a better and more sustainable future. As this girl’s family exits their home and her mother tells Alexa to turn off the lights, the walls separate and we are pulled into an alternate reality of flying trucks and free-falls onto magical castles atop giant sea turtles. Jeff Pangman was part of the planning, budgeting, and scheduling of this magic; a vital component in achieving the extraordinary look of “The Good Choice.” Working closely with director Zach Math to understand how the actual creative vision of the story could be properly manifested for the world to see, Jeff saw the process from its earliest stages through execution to completion. The most challenging part of being a producer on a shoot with lots of visual effects is managing the complexity of the process. The role of a producer can take many forms; for Jeff on this production, it was largely based on communication and problem solving. The practical walls that separate and reveal a magic forest where the living room once was, the central character flying through the air, the bluescreen design and placement that integrates reality with VFX; these are all components facilitated and realized by different members of this team connected by Jeff. The final product of these efforts is something he’s quite proud of as he remarks, “We knew we were swinging big on this one, which makes it all the more gratifying to see what we achieved. There are so many reasons I’m proud of this production. Because of the pandemic, filming was incredibly challenging. The situation has forced myself, like so many others, to construct a new way of working while still attaining the same high level of work we’ve always done. I nurtured the ability to create all the right conditions for success when working remotely and created a workflow that promoted efficiency and effectiveness regardless of who the virtual participant is; director, agency, client or even myself. Seeing this work so effectively while being part of producing a TV commercial with a pro-environment and sustainable message, this was an immensely fulfilling project for me.”