Justin Bastien

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Toyota "Play Now" Campaign

The Enthusiast Network approached me to direct a series of short form films for the Toyota Tacoma Play Now campaign covering BMX, Motocross, and Snowboarding. Saatchi & Saatchi’s primary objective was to build awareness of the all new Toyota Tacoma, increase opinion and purchase consideration, while creating opportunities to drive engagement with the Tacoma target audience.


Our goal was to show the Tacoma as a force multiplier for fun and proving that with a Tacoma the possibilities for fun are limitless. We were entrusted by the world’s largest action/ outdoor media platform and Toyota’s agency Saatchi & Saatchi to produce authentic content with world class professional adventure sports athletes who often play even harder when they find time away from their normal grind. In our meetings with the Creative Director from Saatchi, we were told to create energetic, fun, youthful experiences. It's pretty rare that a Creative Director tells you to “go have fun and do your thing”. As you can imagine, this was one of the coolest, most exciting creative briefs I have had in a long time. They wanted people watching the films wishing they were there, sitting in the truck themselves, experiencing the adventure. The key word was “fun”, so we encouraged the mayhem and hopped in for the ride, trying to capture how much fun can really be had on the road with your friends.

We were looking for consistency throughout all three pieces in terms of the energy, play, and excitement, but we also wanted each piece to be different and unique. The diversity in terrain helped make each piece stand out. Over the years of climbing and roaming around the mountains and deserts of the Eastern Sierras I’ve collected a memory bank of places I wanted to shoot, and this series gave us an opportunity to use many of of those special places. Sand dunes, mountains, creeks, spectacular camp sites- all this dirt, dust, snow and debris flying everywhere with beautiful backgrounds- it was really a dream to be able to shoot these pieces in places I truly love.

Shooting in these locations with such cool, motivated and excited athletes performing at the top of their game was incredible. BMX rider Drew Bezanson, motocross rider Weston Peick, and snowboarder Louie Vito jumped on board and each brought along two great friends. Essentially we were asking the guys to get out and play with their best friends while we orchestrated all kinds of ridiculous activities for them to do. What we ended up with was a lot of laughter, jokes and an authentic, wild natured feeling from each shoot. There’s nothing like keeping it real and having a blast outside.

We shot all three films over the course of three weeks and it certainly wasn’t your average type of commercial shoot. To capture what we needed for the series and keep things fun, spontaneous and real, we had to make some important production decisions. We decided to use a small crew so we could stay mobile, quickly move around to fit in all the locations, and allow things to unfold on the fly. Throughout the shoot we were dealing with so many different types of environments, we would spend a whole day filming in the snow where the high was 17 degrees F and the next day be in the hot desert having dirt whipped into our faces and the cameras. The crew did an amazing job at constantly adapting to the ever changing conditions, environments, variety of sports and really captured it all so well. I think all of those decisions and the hard work really shows in the final work from this project. I feel like we captured something that was really fun, energetic and inspiring.

Toyota "Play Now" Director's Cut
Director: Justin Bastien
Director of Photography: Danny Moder

Toyota "Play Now" Behind the Scenes
Director: Justin Bastien

Justin Bastien