treatment by
Anders Hallberg
To me there’s never been a better time to talk about well being than now. The fact that we live in a digital world has helped us through the last 18th months where we’ve had to spend so much time at home. But as this digital world is infinite we struggle to switch off and our homes may no longer be the sanctuaries we need to recharge and take care of ourselves. There’s always noise. My watch is beeping, my phone is ringing, my speaker is shouting out reminders to me and my computer is working so hard that the fan is constantly going as if it’s an airplane about to take off. All of this noise is a constant reminder that there’s always more to do, more to crank through – more zoom calls, Teams meetings, online bootcamps.
And it’s the noise of everyday life that creates a “busy feeling” that creeps up on us. I might go for a “relaxing” walk and take a meeting on my phone, I answer emails at the supermarket... oh and I’m forever texting at the gym. But even us multitasking superstars have limits. To do it all at all times isn’t just hard – it’s a never ending, impossible task (at least so I’ve been told) that you easily get a little lost in. That’s why this concept is so relatable and timely. A washing machine that senses just what you need. One that doesn’t just make a task a breeze, but one that takes care of the chore in silence. For it’s when we let go of the busyness and noise of the world that we can focus on ourselves and things that matter.
Our film has two halves that are bound together by a very aspirational tone and warm mood, and it also has to be entertaining to watch. This is reality although through a slightly beautified lens, exquisitely shot and edited and with a sound design that is top notch. Our heroine is obviously super busy, but she’s in control – she’s striving for the “next step” and although you’re not supposed to feel envy per se you can’t help wanting to be a bit more like her. She’s got her act together and she’s a testament to our high quality product. You know she wouldn’t settle for anything but the best, she’s chosen wisely and now the washing machine is her silent supporter.
We start off the first half of our film at a high tempo, where the noise is building and building like a pressure cooker. We’re smack bang in the middle of life – no rest for the wicked. The turning point is when she presses the button on the washing machine. As soon as we see the 6th sense button and all sounds disappear the film changes.
The pace is calmer, introspective and peaceful. It’s the same sense of unexpected relief that comes with switching off the air con or hair dryer that you didn’t know was bothering you and stressing you out. Suddenly you can think clearly again, reflect and refocus.
Overall I want to create a really cinematic film – shallow depth of field with soft out of focus backgrounds, a slightly heightened use of ambient light. We’ll build a premium story but also one that’s designed to make you feel – intrigue, tension, support and relief. It’s a relatable story with a nerve that comes from the noise and the voice over, but also by showing two contrasting parts of the film.
In the first part of our film, the camera is in our woman’s personal sphere, involved and in motion, reflecting the pace we have come to think of as normal. It’s less explained and with more movements. More handheld with a less calm framing. With this I don’t mean frantic – it will still be very premium and on brand – just a little more motion than the second part. We’ll observe our heroine and build a strong connection with her so that we reflect on what’s going on in the scene and relate to how the noise impacts us in our own lives. That’s when the silence of the washing machine doesn’t just trigger a real aha moment within our protagonist, but within us too. It’s a collective sigh of relief as the energy falls away. The camera is steady, slow and tracking. More introspective where we can feel our heroine’s sense of being at ease with herself. Each shot will linger just that little bit longer and each frame is still and balanced. Everything moves a little bit slower as if there’s an abundance of time and nowhere that anyone needs to be. A sense of peace and warmth where we can allow the action to just take place in the frame.
I will rely on a single action to tell a longer story than what we’ll see on screen. Maybe our woman will be so disturbed by the neighbor’s noise that she immediately stops stirring her tea in disappointment. We won’t depend on two or three shots to explain what’s happening – we sense that she’s been here before – OMG how come the neighbor seems to just know when she’s trying to have a cup of tea in peace??? I will shoot more than the actual frames that we need by keeping the camera rolling so that the action is natural and longer than we need. Even if it’s just a small glimpse that we’ll be using, like 2-3 seconds, there’s a sense of progression and movement to the image and no start and stop vibe of a scene that has been repeated numerous times.
Framing will also be really important so that our material can be used in different aspect ratios. If any additional digital content is needed I’d like to shoot that too and integrate that into the overall shoot schedule so that we have a strong creative stamp across the campaign. Most projects that I have directed the last couple of years have had both a stills and social media component and I like to give equal attention to all of them.
Normally I would suggest that we weave the product into the story as much as possible so that we allow the viewers to stay connected with the story. But as the product this time is the catalyst to the change in the tone and mood we can be a little bit bolder. We won’t introduce it in the first part of the film, but when we do introduce it, it can feel a little bit unexpected. We want the audience to sit up in their seats, to listen to the silence, to see the unsung hero that comes in peace.

When our heroine and her husband interact with the product it’s elegant. A simple light touch with the index finger is all that’s needed. Sort of the opposite to fat-finger thumb pressing that you might resort to when you’re stressed. They know that Whirlpool has got her back. To me this is very important and worth considering a hand-model for that shot alone if it is needed. We can also shoot variations of the activation scene – one where she presses the button and one where he does it.
Of course the structure at the end of the film needs careful planning and as we discussed on the call it would be really good to be able to show the washing machine in the forefront with our heroine and the plant in the background taking a moment to herself.

This way we’ll cement Whirlpool as a well being enabler.
I really like the simplicity of the script so I haven’t changed a lot of the narrative. Instead my focus will lie on finding the exact right balance of human presence and elegance and craft the two different parts of the film. Instead of the yoga scene I have included an optional end scene instead, but let’s discuss what would be most impactful. I also think it would be great to make sure we have a couple of scenes set outside her home to add to the diversity of situations and the fact that it’s hard to escape all of the noise. I would like to suggest a different scene to the lawnmower though as it implies a more suburban life and I really like to amplify the intensity of the scenes. Instead, why don’t we have our heroine talking on her phone on her way to work? She’ll pass a construction site or traffic jam where the penetrating sounds drowns out whoever is on the other end of the line. Or better yet, if our couple has children she could be on her way to drop one of them off at nursery when her phone rings and she passes the construction – imagine the stress levels! I do think it would be great to include children as it would definitely add another layer of intensity.
It’s morning as we push in on a mobile phone on a bedside table. For a millisecond we’re lured into tranquility before a piercing phone alarm goes off. It’s painfully early – you snooze, you lose.
In a closeup we see our woman swiftly turning the alarm off, but instead of silence we hear white noise. Almost on autopilot she sits up and stretches getting ready to attack the day but she’s ever so slightly off center.Next to her we see her husband grabbing his glasses on the bedside table. We cut to see her standing by a kitchen island eating breakfast while looking at the calendar on her computer to see what the day has got in store for her. Back to back calls. Again. We hear grinding of coffee beans. Her husband hands her a coffee and clings on to his – they’ll need it. In the background we see a TV with the news on. We cut to a closeup of the news presenter announcing breaking news.
We’re in a busy meeting room and from our heroine’s POV we see someone giving a presentation. They are listening and multitasking. Eyes are moving from screens to the presenter. Someone is typing on their computer, another one is scrolling on their phone and someone else might be checking the time.
We cut to a man cutting the grass – the sound of the lawnmower is almost overbearing.
We see a closeup of our heroine on a balcony stirring a cup of tea. She squints in the sun, enjoying the moment of peace. The spoon comes to a complete stop as the sound from the lawnmower kicks in and we sense the disappointment.

We cut to see her in her home office as a shrill ringtone blasts out and she picks up her phone and looks at the screen. In the background we hear several different ringtones.
We cut to peer over her shoulder as she waves goodbye to her colleagues on her computer on a video call.
She mutes her phone with a beep and puts her laundry into the Whirlpool Supreme Silence Washing Machine.
Suddenly the voice over is interrupted. Her husband presses the button to activate the cycle. The machine starts to work but in total silence and all other sounds melt away as we push in on the 6th sense badge.
We cut to a closeup of our woman and gentle music begins to play. She slowly opens her eyes as if it’s the dawn of a new day.
We push over her shoulder to admire the washing machine.
She grabs a plant and smiles as if she remembers what really matters.
We hear a deep exhale as she caresses one of the leaves and gently waters the plant so that it can thrive. In the background we see her husband look up from reading a book and smile – happy that she has carved out some time to herself.

We cut back to see the silent washing machine spinning as we track back from the scene.
Cut to the end card.
Whirlpool. Sensing what matters.
Our woman should add to and strengthen the premium feel without being too far removed from reality. As a general rule I keep an open mind when it comes to looks and spend a lot of time finding the right people who can get our message across really subtly – a really great actress. Maybe her eyes glaze over ever so briefly during the zoom meeting, maybe her inhale of the tea is suddenly interrupted by the lawnmower, maybe she briefly fumbles with the phone when the alert goes off. Little ways of making our film very authentic.
Here’s how I imagine our heroine. She has always had a desire to progress in life, to find out what’s next. She has spent the last 7 years building a really great career at a well-renowned architect firm. Although she’s highly professional there’s something in her eyes that tells us that she has a really great sense of humor. As a younger woman she might have planned her personal life in the greatest detail, but with age and experience he has learned that not everything can be controlled. She will still try though at times. She’s not easily impressed, but extremely likeable – thoughtful and empathetic. She often feels under a lot of pressure and sometimes she doesn’t understand why – she’s not dealing with life and death at work and surely everyone can work, organize a wedding and oversee a house renovation all at the same time? She’s never ungrateful, or bored, but sometimes she just wants to take a step outside the pressure cooker and breathe. Perhaps she’s begun to feel like there must be more to life. Her husband has noticed that she’s suddenly talking a lot about dreams she had as a child for her future. He jokingly says that if those dreams involve designer sunglasses she can relax as she’s fulfilled her childhood fantasies.
The other characters in this spot should add a warm and realistic feeling, without feeling too documentary. Of course diversity is key so we make sure that we have a spread when it comes to gender, age and background without it feeling forced.
It’s also important that she has great chemistry with the man playing her husband. They should be able to connect with just one small look – they are in this circus that’s life together. They are perfectly matched and he’s equally ambitious and in charge of his destiny. Although the film is about her, we should sense that we could easily switch the camera on him so he has to feel like a three dimensional character.
I’ll encourage our actress to bring as much of herself on set for a natural performance and I can easily adapt the scenes to fit her – does she normally turn to the right, does she use her left hand? Ways that allow her to express herself without restrictions for a genuine feel. My job is to find a snappy way of working so we have a flow on set instead of getting stuck somewhere. So you can say that I’m all about shooting more which is crucial if we want to consider capturing the same scene for different markets.

I’m also very communicative on set and I will work closely with our heroine. We’ll be able to try out things on the go so that we move away from acting towards reacting. It’s a small shift but I think it makes all the difference to a film where authenticity is key. I will also set up longer scenes, as opposed to single shots, so we naturally progress through the action and so that we have a wealth of material to choose from.
sounds of this film will really help set the pace and show us, the viewers, all the noise we absorb throughout the day that we consider normal. In the first part of the film we’ll build on the noise and stress that comes with them in a very layered, sophisticated way. Just like in real life sounds don’t tend to appear in isolation. Besides alerts, we might hear white noise from traffic, an AC or a kitchen fan. When he then presses the button on the washing machine, that completely interrupts the VO as it goes quiet for a split second and we can finally breathe. This is our aha moment where we realize how much we crave silence in order to reconnect with ourselves. Then the gentle music begins that underlines our theme of wellbeing.
If we really want to highlight the difference between the first and second part of the film there are a few alternative options that we can explore with the sound design. If we take a stacked approach all of the sounds we are introduced to will linger. For example, we might hear the alerts, ticking of a clock, traffic outside or drilling from construction work and we’ll build on the soundscape more and more until it’s almost overbearing. This way will have a really strong contrast between the first and second part of the film.
We can also have sound design that doesn’t match what we see in order to build an extremely intrusive soundscape. For example, we’ll see the TV presenter open her mouth to present the breaking news but instead of her voice we hear a loud drilling sound. It’s a very emotive way to underline the noise pollution of everyday life.
Things that look charming on the surface, but the sounds can be an annoyance – like your posh coffee grinder that is supposed to help you get through your next zoom meeting. This way we’ll drill home that everything we do is audible and we, the viewers, become hyper alert to the sounds. So that when we transition to the second part of the film it comes as a great relief.
I also think it is worth considering working with sounds that build up to music like in this example
Or we can explore a very clean, but extreme sound design. It could be normal subtle sounds that are amplified like in this film
I really like the purity of seeing the action as the VO tells us what we’re looking at and how the silence of the washing machine changes the narrative of the VO as if it made her think. It gives us a really warm, entertaining tone that in a very simple way highlights the absurdity of not questioning the noise that surrounds us in everyday life. Lucky for us, Whirlpool is one step ahead sensing what matters for our wellbeing.
This script has two halfs – two different tones, two slightly different visual languages, two sides to our heroine and two different emotional landscapes and the edit will emphasize that. In simple terms, we’ll show life before and after the Whirlpool Supreme Silence Washing Machine. Through the edit we’ll shape a distinct approach for each half so the audience sees the difference but more importantly feels the difference. We can explore a different way of storytelling in the first section of the film. Rather than being linear in our approach we can create a sequence that is a little bit more abstract, with overpowering slices of her life that are so noisy and messy that they make our heroine disconnected from her own life and what matters to her. Then we can take a more linear approach in the second part of the film via the washing scene. We don’t have to decide this now but it would also be a way to really distinguish between the different parts of our film.
I’ll be looking for places that reflect Whirlpool’s quality. For our heroine’s home I think it is important that it feels lived in and personal although it’s a given that all items are high-end. This is the home of someone who really cares about details. It’s also important that it feels like the antithesis of hectic life. I’m imagining a modern home that feels very tranquil and with large windows that let in a lot of natural light. It’s as if she has carefully tried to design a very peaceful world that is now rudely invaded by all of the noise. Ideally we also want to show the washing machine with the woman re-potting the plant so either an adjacent room or open plan. I also think we should add carefully curated, personal artifacts so we step away from a clinical advertising world and strengthen the idea that Whirlpool senses what matters to you.
While this is a story about one woman and her life, there are universal themes at work. The very potent and calming influence of silence in our homes on our wellbeing. A desire and acknowledgement that we need to take care of ourselves to lead fulfilling lives. These are just my initial thoughts and it will be great to talk it over and develop them further with you. With this film we have a great opportunity to not only create a premium film, and also a highly relatable story with a warm tone that will bring the brand close to the consumer. It’s a really exciting concept where we’ll enter the realm of wellbeing that will really set Whirlpool apart from competitors.
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