While it can’t compare to an Oscar, scoring the #1 slot in SHOOT’s quarterly Top Ten Tracks Chart to kick off the new year is still yet another feather in the cap of composer Atticus Ross. A Best Original Score Oscar winner in 2011, along with compatriot Trent Reznor, for The Social Network, Ross last month picked up his second and third career Academy Award nominations--for the Original Scores for Soul (with colleagues Reznor and Jon Batiste) and Mank (in tandem with Reznor).
Like The Social Network and Mank, the SHOOT Chart-topping “Let’s Grab A Beer” for Anheuser-Busch InBev entailed collaborating with David Fincher. (Fincher directed The Social Network and Mank, and served as EP on “Let’s Grab A Beer”) The Fincher-Ross collaborative relationship has indeed proven noteworthy across short and long-form content.
But “Let’s Grab A Beer” carries another artist connection between the Academy Awards and our Top Ten Tracks Chart. The sound designer/mixer on the Anheuser Busch InBev Super Bowl commercial was Ren Klyce, a long-time collaborator with Fincher. Last month Klyce earned his eighth and ninth career Best Sound Oscar nominations--for Soul and Mank. The latter marks the sixth Oscar nod that Klyce has garnered for a Fincher-directed film--the other five being for Fight Club in 2000, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2009, The Social Network in 2011, and two for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sound Mixing, Sound Editing) in 2012.
Ross worked on “Let’s Grab A Beer” via music and sound house Barking Owl in West Los Angeles, teaming with that shop’s creative director Kelly Bayett. Klyce independently served as sound designer/mixer. Adam Hashemi directed the spot through bicoastal production company RESET for Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
The 90-second commercial is a series of touching and humorous vignettes that show people coming together over a beer. We see a woman being included in a business meeting, her talent being sought out unexpectedly as she’s handed a bottle of beer as a welcome to join the decision-making process. A guy carrying out of the office his belongings stuffed in a box is cheered when a co-worker flags him down at the elevator to go grab a beer. A friend consoles another at a funeral with a nonverbal invite to have a beer. In addition to corporate employees, working professionals in a restaurant, musicians and varied others bond over a brew.
As the ad comes to a close, we’re reminded, “It’s never just about the beer. It’s about being together.” That’s a message that resonates arguably more than ever during a pandemic marked by lockdowns which have isolated so many of us. And to have that message reach and unite a vast audience on Super Bowl Sunday adds all the more to its relevance and bringing people together to share and enjoy
Reflecting on the Big Game commercial, Ross told SHOOT, “Although the challenge of making music for advertising is, at times, serving several masters at one time, I think we were able to thread the needle on ‘Let’s Grab a Beer’ to create a piece that felt organically tied to the picture, the emotion and the storytelling that satisfied all parties. It didn’t hurt to be surrounded by the uppermost talent in the field--if I drank, whilst listening to Ren’s mix, I may have even celebrated by ‘grabbing a beer.’”
Klyce too has a track record with Fincher that spans short and long-form fare. Klyce did the music and sound on the very first commercial that Fincher directed, the American Cancer Society’s “Smoking Fetus.” Years later the two teamed on Coca-Cola’s “Blade Roller” spot (an homage to Blade Runner). And then there was Nike’s “Magazine Wars” in which people pictured on magazine covers at a newssstand come to life and engage in a raucous game of tennis. The spot won a Clio, helped bring Klyce into prominence as a sound designer and began his track record of notable work with Wieden+Kennedy for not only Fincher but other filmmakers such as Spike Jonze (including Nike’s Emmy-winning “The Morning After” spot; Klyce’s collaborations with Jonze also include the big screen with Where The Wild Things Are and Her).
Beyond assorted films and spots, Klyce has worked with Fincher on such TV series as House of Cards and Mindhunters.
To see the quarterly Top Ten Tracks Chart, click here.
Client Anheuser-Busch InBev Agency Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, Ore. Production RESET Adam Hashemi, director; David Fincher, exec producer. Editorial Exile Kirk Baxter, editor. Music Barking Owl, West Los Angeles, Calif. Atticus Ross, composer; Kelly Bayett, creative director. Sound Design & Mix Ren Klyce, sound designer/mixer.