Cats and dogs and octopuses

By Sarah Ell

In the final of our series, visiting film and TV locations around Auckland, we look at where octopuses fell from the sky.
The wedding scene was shot in Monte Cecilia Park in Hillsborough.
The wedding scene was shot in Monte Cecilia Park in Hillsborough.

Auckland's weather can be pretty extreme, but it doesn't usually rain cephalopods - except in a global advertisement filmed here. The one-minute spot for multinational "digital industrial" corporation General Electric (GE), which has been run on TV and on digital channels around the world, features octopuses falling from the sky at locations around Auckland.

The ad was made by the local arm of production company FINCH, which scored the prestigious job via the US company of one of FINCH's directors, Biscuit Filmworks. It was FINCH New Zealand's first job for GE's creative agency BBDO New York.

The ad starts with children playing, a couple about to get married, a fisherman readying his nets - when octopuses start falling from the sky. The news is welcomed by a company which has been producing "Octobrellas", saying "this is the weather event we have been waiting for".

Andy Goldberg, GE Chief Creative Officer, says the inspiration for the spot was the idea that "GE is always working on what the world needs and is ready for whatever industrial challenges the world throws at us.

"BBDO came up with the idea to have it raining octopuses as it is so far-fetched but captures the idea perfectly."

Auckland was chosen for the filming because of the access to varied landscapes and cityscapes, and the wide variety of cast the production company was able to access, Goldberg says.

The wedding scene was shot in Monte Cecilia Park in Hillsborough. FINCH producer Jimena Murray says the ad's director was looking for an area suitable for a wedding, "with a mix of urban and suburban vista in the distant background, which is how we came across Monte Cecilia Park."

And no octopuses were harmed in the filming of the commercial, Murray says.

"The director and New Zealand model-makers discussed the needs of the job, then aligned that with post-production. We were able to make about 200 octos for the foreground and then post-used 3D octos for the mid [shots] and background as required, to populate it further.

"We used a variety of methods to get them to fall throughout the take - people placed in strategic places, a specially made air cannon and fishing line as required, with a model rigger for movement."

You can watch the raining octopuses at:

On film

Where: Monte Cecilia Park, Hillsborough, and other locations in Auckland

As seen in: GE "Raining Octopuses" commercial

Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks LA

Director: Christopher Riggert

Executive Producer: Rick Jarjoura

Line Production Company: FINCH

Producer: Jimena Murray

Client: BBDO New York/GE

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